Good reasons for getting outdoors

Thank you very much for the "The Wonder of the Woods—What Are Our Children Missing?" article in the May-June 2006 issue. I've long believed that getting outside and in touch with nature was important. I never knew why; it just seemed so. The article substantiates that feeling with hard data.

Michael Reid
Committee Member, Troop 17
Rio Rancho, N.M.

For those who missed the May-June 2006 issue, all articles, including "The Wonder of the Woods," and other content are available online at www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0605.

National Public Lands Day offers project opportunities

Even though Hurricane Rita canceled our troop's planned camp-out at Randolph Air Force Base, Tex., the Scouts were committed to finishing a National Public Lands Day (NPLD) conservation project that was part of the trip.

Managed by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, NPLD is about educating Americans on environmental and natural resource issues, building public-sector and community partnerships to enhance and restore public lands, and improving lands for outdoor recreation.

Responding to a project request from Matt Kramm, natural resource manager at Randolph Air Force Base, our Scouts broadcast 266 pounds of a 10-variety mix of wildflower seed over approximately 14 acres in the Randolph Recreation Park.

The park is managed by the 12th Services Division at Randolph Air Force Base, and Scout troops can camp at no charge in exchange for service hours that easily fit into a weekend.

NPLD is a perfect fit for Scouting, mirroring the ideals that Scouts are taught about the outdoors. I encourage any troop to contact a nearby military instillation about camping opportunities and ask the base environmental office about doing a NPLD service project. You'll build a lot of good will while using some great campsites.

Stephen F. Kelly
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 405
San Antonio, Tex.

The 13th annual National Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006, is a volunteer effort to improve and enhance public land sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service. More information on locations and ways to participate is available at www.npld.com.

A magnetic solution

With 29 new Scouts joining our troop of 43 last year, I had to do something to cut down on the phone calls I would receive on meeting nights asking basic questions like starting time, length of meeting, and program details.

I found the inspiration for a solution when I went to order a pizza and turned to the magnet on my refrigerator door for the phone number.

To create a similar item for troop members, I went to Microsoft Word on my computer (although many other programs will work), selected the Label Wizard, and quickly designed a business card containing information that answered the most common questions, like time, location, specific program theme for each meeting, etc.

From an office-supply store I purchased perforated business-card stock (10 cards per sheet), 100 business-card magnets, and protective spray for covering the finished cards. (A sample of the finished card can been seen on our Web site, www.troop2nsri.org).

I now get few calls on meeting nights, despite the larger size of the troop. And I've also used the format to create customized tickets for different events.

Mark W. DiLuglio
Scoutmaster, Troop 2
North Scituate, R.I.

Merit badge sash rule

I am a brand-new Eagle Scout and I have a question regarding wearing the merit badge sash.

I have always worn my merit badge sash (which I understand is worn only during formal occasions) on my side, over the belt. However, I couldn't find the BSA official regulation on this and I would be obliged if you could point out the location of this rule.

Kellen K.
Troop 526
North Royalton, Ohio

On page 4 of the "Special Regulations" section of the BSA Insignia Guide (BSA No. 33066E) under "Excess Insignia," the last sentence reads, "A merit badge sash is never worn on the belt."

Impressive Cub Scout ceremony

Brantner Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently held a patriotic celebration honoring our nation's veterans. Veterans representing several military branches, including Navy veteran Joe Whitt, who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, were on hand as honored guests to talk about their experiences.

Also among the veterans was Lt. Brian Reynolds of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, who recently returned from deployment in Iraq. (He attended Brantner Elementary as a boy and is the son of current fourth-grade teacher Theresa Reynolds.) The high point of the day occurred when Lt. Reynolds presented the school with a U.S. flag that had flown in Iraq over his military police company's headquarters.

Cub Scouts of Pack 336, chartered to Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Cincinnati, were honored when principal Melissa Stewart asked them to be part of the program. They conducted a flag ceremony, lowering and folding the U.S. flag that had been flying and then assisting Lt. Reynolds to raise the flag from Iraq.

As the Cub Scout color guard retreated, the boys received the ultimate compliment: the World War II veterans snapped to attention and saluted them one more time, followed by a "Well done!" from Joe Whitt, the Pearl Harbor survivor.

Every Cub Scout was trying to hide an ear-to-ear smile. They had done something that I—a former Marine and a 24-year police veteran—have a hard time doing: My Cub Scouts impressed members of the "greatest generation."

Bill Dunkman
Cubmaster, Pack 336
Cincinnati, Ohio

Another Front Line Stuff reply

The reader suggestions in the March-April 2006 Front Line Stuff column ("Encouraging Scouts Who Don't Pass Boards of Review") were well thought out and expressed.

However, I was surprised that there was no reference to the recommended procedures for such situations as outlined in the BSA publication Advancement Committee Guide, Policies and Procedures (No. 33088).

According to the "Review for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks and Eagle Palms" segment in the "Board of Review" section, "...If the board decides that the Scout is not ready to advance, the candidate should be...told what he has not done satisfactorily. Most Scouts accept responsibility for not completing the requirements properly.

"The members of the board of review should specify what must be done to rework the candidate's weaknesses and schedule another board of review for him.

"A follow-up letter must be sent to a Scout who is turned down for rank advancement, confirming the agreements reached on the actions necessary for advancement."

The text also points out that, "Should the Scout disagree with the decision, the appeal procedures should be explained to him..." A Scout, his leader, or his parents may appeal the decision to the "next higher level."

An appeal is initiated at the unit level. This can then be pursued through the district and the local council to the national Boy Scout Committee, where the final decision is determined.

John Arno
Bethlehem, Pa.

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Copyright © 2006 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.