Right Scouter, wrong council

The picture on page 36 of the September 2004 issue of Scouting magazine shows two Scouters and some Scouts from the BSA National Annual Meeting in Chicago in May.

In the photo, Scouter John Ertel is identified as from the National Capital Area Council but his council shoulder patch appears to be from the Baltimore Area Council.

Terry Kearns
Conway, Ark.

Thank you for the correction. John P. Ertel, a member of the national Boy Scout Advancement Committee and a professor of physics at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., is a member of the Baltimore Area Council.

Lights! Action! Arrows!

I was watching the battle scene in the second "Lord of the Rings" movie, and there on the screen, heavily made up for his part as an elfin archer and outlined by flashes of lightning in a heavy downpour, stood Eagle Scout Brian, formerly of Troop 187, Fairfax, Va.

I was ready for this scene because Brian had called to tell me how his work with Pixar Animation Studios had taken him to New Zealand, where, after finishing his work on a cave troll character for the first movie, he had been selected for the epic battle scene in the second film.

Brian also said he wanted to tell how he appreciated my helping him finish the Archery merit badge so many years before.

His words took me back to the day we set up a target in my back yard after Brian had asked if I would help him finish the badge, which he had started during his first Scout camp that summer.

After several sessions, Brian completed his scores at the required distances. And at the next court of honor, he was excited to be the only one in the troop to have earned the badge, and the Scoutmaster praised him for his perseverance.

Other Scouts soon became interested in finishing their badges begun at summer camp, and the excitement generated by Brian's accomplishment seemed to carry through for the rest of the program year.

There seems to be a great message here for leaders who work to bring exciting new activities to our Scouts. Advancement is important!

And an interesting program and the commitment of adult leaders to go the extra mile will both keep boys in Scouting and leave them with experiences that will benefit them throughout their adult lives.

Dick Fanjoy
Membership Chairman, Sagamore Council
Kokomo, Ind.

A way to honor a Scouter

The James E. West Fellowship Award was established by the BSA to recognize individuals who contribute $1,000 or more to the council endowment fund. An individual, living or deceased, can also be honored when the contribution is made in his or her name.

Two recent examples of the latter in our council include

  • Art Lee, who served as Scoutmaster of Troop 27, Rockford, Ill., from 1962 to 1975. One of his former Scouts, Dave Charlton, chose to honor his late Scoutmaster by establishing a James E. West Fellowship in his name.
  • Chester A. Eaton, a Scouting professional who nearly 70 years ago actually worked for James E. West, the first Chief Scout Executive of the BSA. Local Scouter Bob Gingras and his family chose to honor the memory of Mr. Eaton, who was Bob's father-in-law, with a West fellowship.

The annual earnings from the trust created by these fellowships are used to support council operations or specially designated projects such as camperships, scholarships, or camp development. The 97 James E. West Fellowships in our council to date generate more than $5,000 a year for those purposes.

Wayne Brooks
Finance Director
Blackhawk Area Council
Rockford, Ill.

Turkey time for Troop 25

The accompanying photo shows Troop 25's Flaming Arrows patrol at Rodney Scout Reservation on Chesapeake Bay near North East, Md. Troop 25 of the York-Adams Area Council is chartered to Yorkshire United Methodist Church, York, Pa.

At our annual turkey cook-off, patrols prepare a complete family feast, including roasting turkeys over a charcoal or wood fire, using cardboard or wooden box ovens. Over the years, the meals have become increasingly elaborate, featuring decorations, costumes, recorded classical music, sparkling grape juice, and candlelight.

Last year our menu included a delicious homemade applesauce made with cooked apples, as well as mashed potatoes, stuffing, buttered corn, celery, carrots, biscuits and butter, and smoked eel (one Scout had learned in history class that the pilgrims ate eel at the first Thanksgiving).

Jeffrey D. Lobach
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 25
York, Pa.

Left to right, assistant Scoutmaster Jeffrey Lobach; Scouts David Lobach, Tom Lobach, Cole Herbst, Alex Drescher (kneeling), and Ryan List; assistant Scoutmaster Steve List.
Photograph By Jeffrey Lobach

A Scout Sunday visit

On Scout Sunday during a trip to the Tampa area, I decided to attend Faith United Methodist Church in Hudson, Fla., hoping the church had a Scout unit and would be conducting a Scout service.

Two uniformed Scouts were at the door handing out bulletins, which had "Boy Scout Sunday" printed across the front. I soon realized that Troop 545, which has been chartered to the church for nine years, was a special needs unit, most of its members having some sort of disability.

And they were awesome! A Scout welcomed everyone and called the color guard to attention. The troop flag was expertly handled by a Scout in a wheelchair, which was pushed by another Scout. The Scoutmaster preached an inspiring sermon, boys selected the hymns, and all other Scouts participated in some way.

My visit reminded me that Scouting is not always what we expect. A unit may look "different" to us but is still very much Scouting. And more than special needs, these boys and leaders in Hudson, Fla., have special gifts, with which they can teach us many things.

The troop's motto is "we might be slow but watch us go." After seeing them in action, I think they could easily change it to "we may be slow but we're way ahead of the game."

The Rev. Don Whitman
Assistant Commissioner
Last Frontier Council
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Great times at Patriot Days

Last June, Troop 49 of Kimberton, Pa., along with 55 other Boy Scout troops and 25 Girl Scout troops—more than 800 youth—participated in the 37th annual Patriot Days Encampment at the Daniel Boone Homestead, a state historic site in Birdsboro, Pa.

The theme was the northeastern Native American tribe known as Lenni Lenape. Scouts viewed displays; participated in competitive events like volleyball, races, and orienteering; experienced Native American cooking, crafts, and contests; and toured the Daniel Boone Homestead. Our Scouts surprised themselves by tying for third in volleyball; they also finished second for best campsite.

The weekend was a great success for learning new things and having fun in Scouting. (For information on the Daniel Boone Homestead, see www.danielboonehomestead.org; for the 2005 Patriot Days Encampment, see www.patriotdays.org.)

Carol Mercer
Committee member, Troop 49
Kimberton, Pa.

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November - December 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.