That was a fun holiday meeting last night and glad so many came out. Christmas tree pick up is coming up and we will need all the help we can. This is as close to a mandatory event as we have as we need all the help and we all benefit. This is our one fundraiser of the year and also helps the citizens of Concord.
Remember to do your good deed daily over the holidays. There are plenty of opportunities and one of which is helping support the coat drive. There is time to participate and they will be put to good use.
Just a quick note to all, parents, scouts, leaders…too many to list. This Troop works because of all the volunteer time that so many of you put in over the entire year and for that I’m grateful. Thank you for all the support for our Troop and its mission. We continue to shape our Troop into a group of good scouts. This takes patience, time, and opportunities so they can test skills in a safe and positive environment. I like to think of scouts as a “no stress" zone” for our youth, as so many are so busy with so many activities on their mind. Here they can come to learn and be challenged in the outdoors which is a great teacher. They can challenge themselves and start thinking about others such as their patrol and what the Troop needs to run. It’s an amazing process to witness and it happens. We are fortunate to have such a good group of scouts that live by the Scout Law! You should be very proud of all of them, I know I am.
With the recent snowfall, there are many opportunities to do your good turn. Help your parents clear the driveway and car, shovel the walkway, help your neighbors clear driveways and pathways, look for hydrants in your street, and go shovel them. Don’t wait to be asked. See the need and do your good turn. This is doing your part to be a good citizen and a good scout.
Tomorrow, be prepared for fire-building and winter skills. That means wearing proper footwear, hats, gloves, and staying hydrated. I suggest all scouts should start or make their own fire starter tinder kit. If you don’t know how the scouts will teach you. Start with some lint, cotton ball, small dry shavings of wood or dry bark, and some small tinder. Some can also create their own fire starter out of an old egg crate and fill it with wax (old candles, sawdust, and pour into the egg crate). There are lots of examples online. Note, this is not a Klondike approved starter but good to have handy in your pack. Some may want to make char cloth (old cotton, linen or partially burned and snuffed out and then put into a small container). This cloth will ignite with a little effort and then move it into your tinder box or pile and gently blow. Tomorrow, bring what you have and some tinder and dry kindling so we can practice these skills. It is never as easy as it looks.
Next week we will meet on Tuesday at Emerson for our holiday gathering and for those who want to participate in a Yankee swap COVID style. Your leaders are working on this to make it safe and they are a clever group of scouts.
Reminder, our Christmas tree pick up is coming and a mandatory event. This year we will work in family units and this is our only fundraiser for the year. The citizens of Concord depend on you for this service and it’s a good deed. Let us all pitch in to help and work together with Holy Family Youth Ministry to make this a great year.
So here are the meetings in review:
Look to the Southwest skies this week for a rare event. Both Jupiter and Saturn will be almost aligned and the crescent moon will be there as well. Look through binoculars to see how close they are. Closest since 1623 and the next time they will be this close is 2080. I think you will need a new scoutmaster by then.
Another reminder, if you don’t feel well please stay home and if you have been in close contact with a Covid person please do not attend the meetings. Of course, please wear masks and we will break into small groups and practice social distancing.
The Leominster shooting sports was canceled last week has been rescheduled to tomorrow (December 12). Unfortunately, I cannot attend but I am sure you will have a great time hosted by Mr. O’Leary of Troop 11 who is also the President of the Sportsman Association. Make sure you follow “friendly and courteous” points of the Scout Law while guests of the association.
Congratulations to elected Senior Patrol Leader Christian and the newly elected Patrol Leaders. Henry and Freddy are the ASPL’s for the Troop. The scouts call these positions of responsibilities (POR) because leadership is about fulfilling your responsibilities. This entails attending every event during your term, preparing for and conducting PLC’s, and then following through on the work for the Troop to make these events well organized and meaningful. This also means being early, staying late, and making sure the Troop functions well. This is never an easy task. Many of you are doing all this now and it should be an easy transition. I will look for time in January to host some leadership training as we embark on the next term.
The meetings at Emerson have been going well. Scouts are outside, socially distanced, and all wearing masks. As we move forward into January and February we will be mixing up our schedule so that we can have Saturday meetings. Next week is a good example. There is no Tuesday meeting but on Saturday, December 19, 2020, we will meet at 0900-11:30 at Camp Acton so that we can work on scouts skills. As always, bring your book and be prepared for the weather. These outdoor Saturday meetings will be very helpful at working on advancements. We have not discussed this, but we may change times for these so that we can also cover some cooking requirements. We will need to first plan those events.
We appreciate everyone's flexibility on the scheduling and being open to new opportunities as our normal meetings at the Scout House are not possible. I would expect that to continue through the first half of 2021. We can use this opportunity to try new formats for meetings.
I’ve heard from some scouts during scoutmaster conferences that the Saturday meetings mixed with Tuesdays and PLC’s via zoom are working well. So no meeting Tuesday and we will meet on next Saturday, Dec 19. Please let your patrol leader or ASPL/SPL know if you cannot attend.
Sorry that our Leominster trip had to be canceled. This would have been one cold and wet day. Normal years we would welcome some snow as an opportunity to learn about shelters and to build and maintain fire, but COVID considerations mean that parents need to drive both ways and our activities need to be outdoors with social distancing. So to reduce driving risks and keep our Troop safe, this was the right thing to do. We will look for another date and time for this always fun event.
The scheduled activities as set by the PLC are as follows:
* Tuesday, Dec 8, 2020 (6 to 7:15) – Elections – Outdoor meeting at Emerson - SPL, ASPL’s PL, appointed positions – term starts in January- March
* Tuesday, Dec 15, 2020 – NO MEETING
* Saturday, Dec 19, 2020 – Camp Acton 9:00 am to 11:30 am meeting to practice winter skills fire building, klondike preparation
* Tuesday, Dec 22, 2020 (6 to 7:15) – Annual Holiday Party at Emerson – Outdoors and gift swap – scouts to bring wrapped gifts (newspaper is good) and we will swap (we have a way to do this with sticky notes – noncontact)
* Tuesday, Dec 29, 2020 – NO MEETING
* Tuesday, January 5, 2020 (6 to 7:15) – Meeting at Emerson
For all meetings, just a reminder: If you are not feeling well, stay home, and suggest using hand sanitizer before and after meetings and we will also remind scouts and have sanitizer available.
We will have a coat drive coming up and more details will follow. Nice article in the Concord Journal about the Turkey Truck and well-done scouts. I know there are so many contributions by scouts to the town and community that does not get the attention, but you know what you have done. It’s easy to just look around and see. For example, when we bike riding we could easily make a Troop 132 Eagle trail. Starting at Sanborn and go down the bike path to Nolan’s Bike Stand, on to Mattison Field to see Simon’s Kestrel Boxes, stop at the council on Aging and see Nick Walter’s plantings and Mile’s Planters. On to Cousin’s field to see benches and Thoreau’s riverwalk built by Eagles from the past. Let’s see, head over to Alcott and see a Kiosk built by John, over to Bedford for butterfly gardens and head to Great Brook Farm to see all the trail markings from Mike Flannery’s project. Come back to Concord and go inside Holy Family parish and there should be a book on the stained glass window history compiled by Tim. Head to Lincoln and see 10 picnic tables that Justin made for Codman Farm. On the way back swing by Minuteman park and check out the tree protection put together by Jacob. Heading down Elm street you can admire the bluestone walkway at Trinity Church which was done by Logan. Don’t forget to drop books into the Little Libraries made by Kevin near Thoreau Farm and sit on the picnic table and tool storage built by Santi. Stop at Monument Hall for the classroom wall built by Zander. Oh, don’t forget benches at Emerson and Rideout, as well as go to the Great Meadows and there are 6 benches that were either built or repaired by the Troop (not Eagle projects). Go further west to Oxbow Refuge to admire the Kiosk made by Luke and further south to Zagray Farm Museum to see a portable barrel storage trailer from Will’s project. I’m sure I left out several others and this was just from memory.
The point of all this is that scouts make a difference. Keep up the good scouting and remember, do your good turn daily.
This blog is a weekly message from the Scoutmaster.