Water rockets are a great idea

I enjoyed the article in the November-December 2006 issue about the Cub Scout water rocket derby and immediately got excited about using water rockets as the theme for our pack picnic in August.

The activity looks like so much fun. Thanks to Scouter Wesley Wong for sharing his instruction and organizing information.

Michele Harrison
Committee Chairman
Chartered Organization Representative
Pack 3741
Hartford, Wis.

...I loved the article about the water rocket derby and can't wait to try the idea with our Webelos Scouts.

Karen Isaacs
Cubmaster, Pack 870
Loretto, Ky.

The article on the Santa Clara Council's Pioneer District Water Rocket Derby can be read at www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0611/a-redy.html. Scouter Wesley Wong's rocket instructions and other derby details are available at http://wwong.homestead.com/rockets.html or contact him by e-mail at wesley.wong@sbcglobal.net.

A true treasure

Thank you for the article in the November-December 2006 issue highlighting Msgr. John Brady. He is truly a treasure for the Catholic Church and the BSA and an example of how churches and church people support BSA programs.

As a priest involved in Scouting, I have been honored to know Msgr. Brady for a number of years. He is always ready to dive into any Scout event with great enthusiasm [and] motivates those of us younger than himself to push a little harder.

When he spent some time this past summer as a chaplain at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, there was some concern about his age (77) and health—until folks saw him walking to town and back every day, a distance of about eight miles!

Rev. Dennis J. O'Rourke
Member, National Catholic Committee on Scouting
Cave Creek, Ariz.

Readers who missed the November-December issue will find the article "Msgr. John B. Brady: Celebrating Scouting's 'Treasures'" at www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0611/a-john.html.

Remembering a visit

The September 2006 article "Connecting Cultures Through Scouting" [about Scouting in the Asian-American community in the Santa Clara County Council] brought back memories of when I was a child growing up at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California.

My father was stationed there when U.S. forces evacuated Vietnam, which resulted in many Vietnamese refugees living in tent cities on the base.

We schoolchildren were asked to visit the camp and play with the refugee children. We were also asked to wear our Scout uniforms, because they represented a worldwide movement that many Vietnamese children would recognize.

In fact, some refugee children who were in Scouting in Vietnam had chosen to wear their Scout uniforms when they fled their homeland, the only clothes they were able to take with them.

When we visited the camp, none of us spoke each other's language, but the refugee children wearing Scout uniforms were the first to come and play with us.

Years later when I was in high school in Maryland, I met a boy who had fled Vietnam and had lived in the Camp Pendleton refugee camp. He still recalled the time the children of U.S. military personnel came to play dressed in their Scout uniforms.

MaryAlice McGinn Vickers
Omaha, Neb.

All articles from the September 2006 issue are available at www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0609/index.html.

'Green Bar Bill' had good advice

In the October 2006 issue, the article "'We Go Camping'" (about Troop 709's history of consecutive monthly outings for more than 35 years) fitted neatly with "The Way It Was" feature on William (Green Bar Bill) Hillcourt's own Troop 1 in Mendham, N.J.

I joined Cub Scouts at age 9 in 1944 and have lived through the very best experiences Scouting could offer, including jamborees, Philmont Scout Ranch, many years on summer camp staff, and many more years as a member of the camp properties committee.

As I tell everyone, outdoor adventure is the real "secret" to Scouting success. In fact, the last time I spoke with the late Green Bar Bill, in 1978, he encouraged me to always "keep the outing in Scouting" (and I have a copy of his trademark autograph as a reminder of that moment and advice).

Dwight (Aby) Johnson
Advisor, Venturing Crew 4017
Newark, Ohio

Articles from the October 2006 issue can be found at www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0610/index.html. In addition, previous "The Way It Was" columns, back to September 1998 and including "America's Best-Known Scouter" about William (Green Bar Bill) Hillcourt in January-February 2001, are available at www.scoutingmagazine.org/archives/wiw.html.

Being aware of online dangers

I enjoyed the article "The Wonder of the Woods—What Are Our Children Missing?" in the May-June 2006 issue. The connection between ADHD and lack of outdoor activity is very interesting.

The article discussed the influence of the fear of "stranger danger" in keeping children indoors but didn't note that children of all ages are more likely to run across a predator by participating in online Web activities such as chat rooms, e-mailing people they have never met, instant messaging, and through online journaling programs.

Parents need to be much better informed about these dangers of "playing indoors."

Judy Wehrmeister
Committee Member, Venturing Crew 7
Geneva, Ill.

The Family Talk columns "Safeguarding Children Online" (October 2005) and "Helping Children Stay Smart and Safe on Social Networks" (January-February 2007) both deal with the subject of online safety. Read these and other Family Talk columns (back to September 1998) at www.scoutingmagazine.org/archives/family.html.

Also, among the BSA's many Youth Protection resources, the Cub Scout Power Pack Pals comic book (BSA No. 33981) focuses on Internet safety. For availability, contact council service centers or go to www.scoutstuff.org.

An international Scouting tradition continues

Who would have thought in 1984 when Kenneth Jackson, an assistant Scoutmaster from Lancashire, England, came to the United States to learn more about BSA Scouting, that an exchange tradition would begin that exists to this day.

Troop 777 Scoutmaster Hal Belknap Jr., M.D., was looking for an international experience for his Scouts and, with Mr. Jackson's assistance, arranged for home visits with the families of St. Cuthbert's Scout Group in Burnley, England.

Troop 777's first visit was exciting and very successful. As the Scouts were departing at the train station, Dr. Belknap noticed all the tearful mothers of the St. Cuthbert's Scouts and realized how a deep bond had formed between the two groups.

The tradition has continued over the years, with St. Cuthbert's Scouts joining us for activities like camping in Texas, backpacking in Colorado, and whitewater rafting in New Mexico. On exchange trips, our troop has visited England, camping in Wales, hiking Mount Snowdon, and spelunking [caving] in Yorkshire.

On our latest trip to England in June [2006], we visited London and then Burnley, staying with our host families and camping in the Lake District, from where we continued to explore England together. The road [of world Scouting friendship] truly goes on forever!

Linda Overfield
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 777
Norman, Okla.

For troops and crews interested in a similar experience, as well as BSA policies for Scouts or groups of Scouts planning tours to other countries or exchanges with Scouts from other countries through the World Brotherhood Exchange, the International Division can help establish a foreign contact and can provide resource material for planning an exchange program. Get more information online at www.scouting.org/international, or via e-mail at intnldiv@netbsa.org.

They also serve

Like the letter writer in the October 2006 issue who praised her "Scouting family," I would like to express a tribute to my Scouting family, whose members have served Scouting for a combined 232 years.

I have been involved with Boy Scouts for more than 45 years, obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout and continuing as an assistant Scoutmaster. My dad had more than 40 years of service, as Scoutmaster and committee member; Mom was our troop's first committee chairwoman and had more than 35 years of service to her credit. My younger sister was involved in Girl Scouting for more than 42 years. And my mother's sister has more than 55 years of service as a Girl Scout leader.

My late wife was also a Girl Scout and worked with me on our Boy Scout troop committee. She had more than 15 years.

We all received various recognitions, but the greatest reward is not the dedicated years of service we have given to the Scouting program. It is the ability to continue to serve Scouting and the young boys and girls who will carry on its grand tradition.

Ronald Karpinski
Troop 128
Buffalo, N.Y.

Top of Page

March - April 2007 Table of Contents

Copyright © 2007 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.