Welcome back to the school year and I hope you are prepared and ready to take those challenges on. We had a good scouting summer. Summer camp went well, progress on Eagle projects, a biking high adventure trip, a couple of Eagle courts of honor, and summer games at Emerson. I hope you had a great summer and are looking forward to our new Troop 132 year.
While you are busy getting adjusted to school and sports, just a reminder, we strive to keep scouting easy and fun. I hope you think, like we do, of scouting as a “no stress” all welcome zone where you can go camping and learn scout skills and have fun with your scout friends. Some of these skills you will have for the rest of your life. The main requirement is to live by the Scout Law in all we do and how we behave with each other and outside of scouting.
This Tuesday we start back at the Scout House at 7:30 pm in our Class A’s. During the first couple of meetings, we will form or update the patrol membership, hear some stories about the bike trip, and also review those trailblazer skills learned at camp. We will refresh, review and if you are ready, sign off on skills and ranks.
Our first camping/sailing trip is planned for September 13-15 in Newport. This has been a fun trip and I look forward to seeing many attend. Scouting is an activity takes place outdoors with all the events we have put onto the calendar. Our meetings at the Scout House, organized by your fellow scouts, are centered around planning, preparation, and sometimes debriefing. At each meeting will learn or review a scout skill and you will need these skills on our trips and that is where you will put the skills into practice. Our meetings, by themselves, are supporting our outdoor activities so if they are sometimes long and chaotic, it is about the boy-led work needed to plan, prepare and organize for the trips. The scouts are actively learning and doing things for themselves. We have good weather now but during the year we will need to prepare meals and camping in a variety of conditions. Sometimes I get asked when can we schedule a scoutmaster conference? Anytime we are camping and on a trip will work best. On outings, there is usually plenty of time. Or you can schedule time with me before or after a meeting, but not during a meeting. Meeting time is the time that the whole Troop is working tegether and that is not the time for individual scout meetings. You can schedule time with me by approaching me at a meeting or by sending me an email (with your parent copied on the email).
Blue cards: These are cards that are used to start and measure progress against a merit badge. I usually have a stash of them and the scouts need my signature prior to starting a merit badge. If you are interested in a merit badge, come get a blue card (before or after meetings) from me, I’ll sign it and then ask Mr. Cancio for a merit badge counselor (someone who is registered, qualified, and available to our Troop). Counselors are just that, they counsel and mentor the scout. When the scout completes the work, the counselor will review and sign the blue card, I will review and sign, and then you see Mr. O’Neil as our Advancement Chair to officially record and give you credit for your work. Unlike advancement where you are recognized when you earn the rank, merit badges will be recognized at our next court of honor.
I’m hoping and encouraging any of our older scouts if they are around and available (those who might have aged out) to come back and help at any time. I know you are all busy but the Troop can always benefit from your experience, so please share it.
We have an exciting year ahead and I look forward to serving again as your Scoutmaster. I’m very pleased to say it has been a pleasure working with all of you. You all have really special gifts and you work together as a patrol and Troop really well which is especially rewarding.
Our last summer Troop meeting at Emerson Field is Tuesday, August 20 at 7PM.
From Ramon Cancio (Bike Trip Honcho) - This past week, Life Scouts Ben Sprague, Lucas Anthony, and JJ Moberly-Chan traveled to Washington DC for a 200-mile cycling trek along the C&O canal, culminating this year’s outdoor adventure theme of “Riding”. The seven-day adventure was a self-supported trip that required close teamwork planning each day's ride, meals, grocery shopping, cooking, campsite selection, and etc. The group included visits to Antietam Battlefield, Harper’s Ferry (site of John Brown’s attempted insurrection that lead to the Civil War), swimming every evening, spelunking in Killian’s Caves, and a tour of the Washington Mall. Along the way, a number of interesting historical sites were encountered, including the last operating “rope drive” generator power station in the US, the site where baseball was first played, and a stop at the oldest continuously operating train station in the country (Martinsburg, WV). As the miles piled on, the team grew stronger to the point that a 50-mile ride to complete the Cycling Merit Badge will seem like a stroll in the park!
From Bill Duggan (Scoutmaster)
At last night's Troop Committee (TC) meeting the TC approved funds for a Troop medical kit and a Troop/Eagle toolbox. The Troop medical kit will serve as a backup to the patrol kit and the adult scouters can use the Troop medical kit as necessary. The Troop/Eagle toolbox can be used at summer camp (to fix our platforms, latrine, and etc.) and as a base kit for any Eagle Projects. While it’s impossible to have tools for every Eagle project, we had a donation to our Eagle fund for this purpose and the toolbox will have some basics like safety glasses, gloves, hammers, saws, drill bits, and this toolbox will be available for every eagle project. Life scouts working on their Eagle projects can first see what we have as a Troop and then supplement tools for the specific project. This might save a trip to the hardware store and save time and cost. Zander's recent Eagle Project had some tools (extension cord, etc.) and the tools were donated to the toolbox. Our Quartermaster will help with the inventory and the toolbox will be a welcome addition to our Troop.
We used some of our summer meeting time to do a good turn by assembling a bench for the Great Meadow National Wildlife Refuge. The bench was sponsored by Concord resident, Mr. Gene Rork (who coincidently is an Eagle Scout). We will be installing this on Friday at 5 pm at the Great Meadows and come if you can as we will need some help moving it around.
Occasionally, Mr. Jared Green (Superintendent of the National Wildlife), gets a request from people who want to donate a bench in memory or in honor of a family member as a remembrance and contribution to the Refuge. We volunteered as a Troop to support the Refuge and work with the sponsor to order the bench and plaque. Then we build and install the bench. This has a positive impact on both the sponsor and refuge. This is one way we can simply do a good turn for our community.
Please attend the Erik's Eagle Court of Honor this Sunday.
Hope your summer is going well and hope to see many of you at the Tuesday meetings at Emerson Field. Reminder, if you have completed some advancements and need sign off, please bring your scout book to the Tuesday night meetings.
For new scouts who were in the Trailblazers program at summer camp, please bring your scout book to the Tuesday meeting and we can review what you covered at camp (I have a sheet that shows me what you covered at summer camp). Meetings are a good time to review and get things signed off and it would be great to complete this during the summer and prior to school starting.
As a reminder, we have a number of scouts biking about 190 miles on the Chesapeake and Ohio canal trip this week. I’ll be taking some family vacation time starting on August 10 and before you know it we will be on our first trip of the new school year.
We have an Eagle Celebration (Erik Mitchell) next Sunday. I know that we have families away, but if you have the time it would be great to come out and support Erik.
This blog is a weekly message from the Scoutmaster.