Bear canisters best for protecting food

I read with great interest the article "Claws, Teeth, Horns, and Hooves: Dodging Dangerous Wildlife" in the January-February issue. However, I was surprised that the sidebar on "Bear Bag Basics" did not mention bear canisters as a method for securing food while on the trail.

Many parks (especially in the West) now require bear canisters for food storage in the backcountry.

Doug Karlson
Palo Alto, Calif.

Canisters are increasingly being used in areas where bears are prevalent. They offer total protection for food because bears cannot get a grip and pry them open. For more on canisters, see the new edition of the BSA Fieldbook (BSA No. 33104, $19.95 at Scout shops). Various manufacturers of bear canisters have Web sites on the Internet.

Mountain lions in Texas

In the January-February article on dangerous wildlife, the description of the mountain lion left out large portions of this animal's range, including the entire state of Texas. The mountain lion is making a remarkable comeback within our borders and is hunted legally here. It has been reported in virtually every county, and carcasses have been collected in two-thirds of the state.

Not mentioning the potential for encounters with mountain lions in Texas (and in many other states east of the Rockies) could lead readers to mistakenly believe the cats are not found here.

Mark Klym
Information Specialist, Wildlife Diversity Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Austin, Tex.

Camp tables are a big hit

I have been involved with our troop for 10 years, and one of my first assignments was to help build a "Knockdown Camp Table" from the plans published in the October 1993 issue of Scouting.

We now have six of these compact tables in our equipment trailer, and our Scouts consider them one of the best things to come from Scouting.

At summer camp or camporees, Scout leaders from Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma have asked me for the plans. And, recently, my son requested that I send him a copy to use with his Marine Corps company.

Scouting magazine is an awesome resource; keep up the good work.

Kevin Kelly
Scoutmaster, Troop 19
Pueblo, Colo.

The plans for the Knockdown Camp Table, made from a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood, are now available on the Scouting magazine Web site (www.scoutingmagazine.org). Click on "Featured Resource" and then on "Items to Send For or Download."

Who serves on a board of review?

In a November-December 2003 Worth Retelling item ("A small start, indeed"), an assistant Scoutmaster described an incident that occurred when he and another assistant Scoutmaster were serving on their troop's Tenderfoot board of review. As a council advancement chairman, I would like to remind readers that it is against BSA policy for Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, and relatives of the Scout under review to serve on a board of review.

Ed Foster
Pendergrass, Ga.

As stated in Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures (No. 33088D), a board of review for Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life ranks, or an Eagle Palm, "is made up of at least three and not more than six members of the troop committee," and "Unit leaders, assistant unit leaders, relatives, or guardians may not serve as members of a Scout's board of review."

One pack's dedication to service

Pack 883, chartered to St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Eldersburg, Md., has completed a year of service by taking part in a variety of monthly projects.

These included participating in the Scouting for Food drive, collecting items to send to an overseas soldier, helping clean the grounds of the Carroll County Agricultural Center and the Baltimore Area Council's Camp Oest, and planting flowers, bushes, and trees in two median strips of the church parking lot.

For our final activity, our nine dens made nine beautiful blankets for Project Linus, which provides blankets to children who are experiencing serious illness or trauma.

Each boy who participated in at least four service activities qualified for a special patch.

Barbara Kreinar
Publicity Chairman, Pack 883
Sykesville, Md.

As part of the BSA's Good Turn for America, a "national call to service" in collaboration with national service organizations, packs, troops, teams, and crews can enter information about their service projects and service hours on a national Web site, www.goodturnforamerica.org. In February of each year, the BSA will report the total number of service hours and projects to the nation. In addition, councils can generate reports of service totals for their areas.

Share Scouting magazine

I enjoyed the article on Scouting museums, "Scouting History on Display," in the November-December issue, which I picked off the "freebie" rack at a local library. I am going to give the magazine to our neighbor, who has a son in Cub Scouts.

Shirley Barnes
Wayland, Mass.

For households that receive more than one copy of Scouting magazine and don't need the additional copy, a neighbor or the local library are both good possibilities for passing along the magazine. Some other sources for that extra copy—which will enable others to see what Scouting today is all about—include a friend or co-worker; a school, church, or Scout unit library; a barbershop, hospital, or doctor's or dentist's office; or your workplace reception area.

More benefits of summer camp

The January-February article "Where You Really Get to Do Scouting" showed what a valuable experience summer camp, as represented by the Narragansett Council's Yawgoog Scout Reservation, is for Scouts and adult volunteer leaders.

However, in addition to benefiting campers and unit leaders, summer camp has a positive effect on staff members. Both of my sons have served on camp staff and gained valuable life experience about character and standing up for the rights of others. And I know that the skills I learned as a staff member in 1971-73 have been the foundation of my last 25 years as a Scout leader.

Also, I would like readers to know that Camp Yawgoog has an excellent Counselor-in-Training (CIT) Corps program for future Scout leaders. Both of my sons went through the program, which I highly recommend as an experience that can change a Scout's whole life.

H. Philip Stahl, Ph.D.
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 7304
Brownsboro, Ala.

A Scouter's 'pay'

The following letter I recently received represents the best "pay" that a Scouter could ask for (and I've been registered and active in Scouting for 75 years and still work on camp staff):

Dear Mr. Hollis:

If your ears were burning on Tuesday a week ago [it was because] we were talking about you at my church's men's group. As host for the meeting, I chose the topic, "Our most unforgettable mentor" [and] you were my choice [for the subject]. After hearing how you related to one in a non-hierarchical and unselfish way and reinforced in me my best instincts, the group agreed that you defined the term "mentor."

...As I told the group, you were one of the main reasons I became an Eagle Scout.

Harold F. Hollis
Bradenton, Fla.

15 years of world travel

Troop 180 and Venturing Crew 180, both chartered to Congregation Shaarey Zedek in East Lansing, Mich., reached a milestone during the crew's monthlong trip to Europe last summer.

The Venturers visited Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy, making those countries the 18th, 19th, and 20th nations the troop or crew has visited in the last 15 years.

In Rijeka, the second-largest city in Croatia, there was a special reception from Scouts for whom Crew 180 was the first U.S. Scout group ever to visit. Other highlights included more than a week of camping, staying as guests in the homes of members of Crew 180's international friendship group, the 113th Blue Mountain Scout Group of Bratislava, Slovakia.

There also was the opportunity to interact with Scouts in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Switzerland.

Bruce McCrea
Scoutmaster, Troop 180
Lansing, Mich.

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May - June 2004 Table of Contents

Copyright © 2004 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.