Archive | November, 2009

Three Scouts Earn Triple Crown Award

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Three Scouts Earn Triple Crown Award

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Dan

The Star-Banner has a great article about three local Scouts who earned the Triple Crown Award:

“Hol-ry” can be a friendly greeting or a cry for help, depending on the volume and context.

The exchange is traditional at the Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base in Ely, Minn., one of three high adventure bases that scouts Bobby Stewart, 18, Kyle Blanton, 16, and Dylan Henderson, 16, experienced to earn their “Triple Crown.”

Read the whole article at The Star-Banner.

Hat Tip: @HolRy

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GNYC Pursues Conservation Easement and other Options at Pouch Scout Camp

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GNYC Pursues Conservation Easement and other Options at Pouch Scout Camp

Posted on 24 November 2009 by admin

Citing financial stress, the Greater New York Councils’ Board of Directors has approved the marketing of Camp Pouch for full or partial sale, with ongoing efforts to secure a conservation easement the preferred arrangement for Scouts and the community. The camp is one of only two key assets that can be strategically leveraged to ensure the Council’s financial stability, as necessitated by steep declines in corporate and community funding amid rising operational and outreach costs.

William H. Pouch Scout Camp is wholly owned by the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America without restrictions. The property encompasses 120.7 acres, including the 20-acre Ohrbach Lake. The entire property is located within the Staten Island Greenbelt and is primarily used by island residents.

Ongoing economic and fundraising conditions have presented the Council with an unprecedented financial challenge. The Board of Directors is exploring all assets to increase liquidity while minimizing disruption to its mission of delivering Scouting to young people. The Council serves a diverse population of children throughout the five boroughs, providing substantial financial assistance to low-income families to ensure that no child is turned away from a quality program and camping opportunities.

In discussions with the Staten Island Greenbelt Conservancy and city, state, and federal elected and appointed officials, the Boy Scouts have sought a conservation easement at Pouch Scout Camp, which would preserve the camp land as green space in perpetuity.

The Scouts seek to relinquish their rights to develop the property through the proposed conservation easement, which would permanently preserve the land as open space and prevent the potential of housing or commercial development. An easement would be a mutually beneficial agreement to ensure that the land remains an outdoor activity/camping area for both Scouts and the community.

The Council has made a series of decisions to ensure its future strength and high quality of service to youth as it celebrates its 100th Anniversary in February 2010. The Council has taken prudent cost-saving steps, including reducing office space by 60%, cutting paid staff by 40% and slashing its overall budget from $15 million to $10 million while maintaining its core programs for children.

The Boy Scouts’ respect for the environment, natural resources and the quality of life in our community are beliefs integrated in Scouting programs. A conservation easement would preserve green space for generations of Scouts and city residents. The Greater New York Councils maintains two additional camps: the widely-used 12,000 acre Ten Mile River Scout Reservation in Narrowsburg, NY, at which other cashproducing options are explored, and Alpine Scout Camp, in Alpine, NJ, which is a deed-restricted asset in that it must be perpetually used as a Scout camp or be returned to the state.

The Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America provides traditional Scouting and unique outreach programs of character education, life skills, citizenship training, and personal fitness available to all New York City youth.

Source: Greater New York Councils Press Release (pdf)

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Scout Leader Wins $25,000 On His Way To Roundtable

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Scout Leader Wins $25,000 On His Way To Roundtable

Posted on 21 November 2009 by admin

mcdonalds logoThe Daily Journal has the perfect story for promoting your District’s Roundtable training:

Kregor, a leader of Boy Scout Troop 300 in Kankakee, and fellow leader Ryan Barrie, stopped at the McDonald’s on Oct. 8 before a monthly Scout leaders’ roundtable meeting at Wilmington. His tea came with a instant winner ticket in the McDonald’s MONOPOLY Game.

Read the whole article at The Daily Journal.

Hat Tip: Scoutmaster Musings – Who asks what would you do with the money?

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10 Years After the Texas A and M Bonfire Tragedy

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10 Years After the Texas A and M Bonfire Tragedy

Posted on 20 November 2009 by Dan

texas-a-and-m-bonfireThis week marked the 10 year anniversary of the Texas A and M Bonfire tragedy. The bonfire was an Aggie tradition since 1909, and was a symbol of the burning desire of Texas A and M to beat the University of Texas longhorns. On November 18th, 1999, at 2:42am the stack of logs collapsed killing eleven students and one Alumnus, and seriously injuring 27 others. The tragedy affected the Texas A and M Community and the entire country, and as it turns out, had a large impact on the Scouting Community.

A Northern Tier Alumnus, and friend, had pointed me in the direction Christopher Breen, one of the twelve killed in the collapse, thinking it would be a good story to share on Scouting News. However, as I did some research I discovered at least five killed in the tragedy were Eagle Scouts. Here are their stories:

The Texas A and M Alumnus that was killed, Christopher David Breen had a strong connection to Northern Tier. Chris was an Eagle Scout and was a Charlie Guide at Sommers Canoe Base during the summers of 1994 through 1997. Working at Northern Tier was a big part of who Chris was, and according to the notice that was sent out to the Northern Tier Alumni community, he was buried with his “Charlie Guide” canoe paddle. Chris’ legacy will forever live on through the Scout’s lives he touched while working as a Charlie Guide, and through a Northern Tier Seasonal Staff Scholarship in his honor.

Nathan Scott West from Bellaire, Texas was another Eagle Scout lost in the tragedy. West had graduated High School in 1998 with a promising future already in hand. He was a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist, had scored more than 1400 on the SAT, and competed on the Swim Team. John Harris, West’s Scoutmaster, recalled that for his Eagle Scout project, West refurbished the old St. Vincent’s Cemetery off Navigation, where Confederate Civil War hero Dick Dowling is buried. Once he became an Eagle Scout, West stayed in the Troop to help the younger Boy Scouts.

Lucas John Kimmel was an Eagle Scout, and was 19, a freshman at Texas A and M when the Bonfire collapsed in 1999. Lucas’ love for the outdoors personified him. It gave him the chance to be outdoors, and it gave him the chance to be with the animal life that he appreciated so much. This appreciation led him to A and M in hopes of someday becoming a veterinarian. “He loved animals. We lived out in the country. He found a baby bird in the field and we rescued it and got it growing up. Dogs, cats, rabbits. That’s why he wanted to be a veterinarian.”

Chad A. Powell, an Eagle Scout, a track athlete, a computer whiz, a musician, Chad always made time to serve other people. He also kept up his grades through all of that, graduating as valedictorian of his class at Keller High School in Keller, Texas. Described by friends as “A model of honor, true character, and loyalty. He honored his life with integrity, his family with love and devotion, his community with leadership, friendship, and service, his God with commitment and passion”.

The twelth man to die, Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr. was an Eagle Scout from Germantown, Tennessee. When the stack collapsed his pelvis was crushed, his arm broken, and his internal organs badly damaged. Despite his own injuries he told rescuers to “Help my buddies first,” and proceeded to direct rescue workers to five others before allowing them to free him. He died later in the hospital when his life support was disconnected. Eagle Scout Tim Kerlee was posthumously granted Boy Scouts of America’s Medal of Merit, for his heroic actions.

Please take a moment to remember their lives and say a few words of support for their families and friends on this anniversary. You can read more about the Bonfire tragedy, the memorial, and its victims on the Online Texas A and M Bonfire Memorial.

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Pennsylvania Union Leader Criticized Over Eagle Scout Project Threats

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Pennsylvania Union Leader Criticized Over Eagle Scout Project Threats

Posted on 19 November 2009 by admin

An update to the story about the City of Allentown, and the union eyeing up an Eagle Project that took place in a city park.

Fox News has an update about the situation:

Nick Balzano, president of the Service Employees International Union’s Allentown chapter, said last week that the union might file a grievance against the city for allowing 17-year-old Kevin Anderson to clear the hiking trail, instead of paying some of the 39 recently laid-off SEIU members to do the work.

Balzano’s office did not return messages left by FoxNews.com, but the Morning Call quoted him as telling the city council that the union would be “looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails … There’s to be no volunteers.”

SEIU spokesman Matt Nerzig called Balzano’s comments “completely unauthorized and insensitive” and said the union was “not at all” considering a grievance in this case.

Read the whole story at Fox News.

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Scouts Honor Service Members at Ceremony

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Scouts Honor Service Members at Ceremony

Posted on 19 November 2009 by admin

U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri told about 500 people from Boy Scouts’ National Capital Area Council that the values of Boy Scouts and the military are constant and that both organizations seek to serve something greater than themselves.

This was the first Scout dinner saluting the military. Retired Navy Capt. Scott Gray, who now works with event sponsor General Dynamics, said he hopes to make the event an annual affair. The Crystal Gateway Marriott – a stone’s throw from the Pentagon – hosted the event.

The council honored a service member from each service. Each honoree demonstrated the commitment to service that Scouting exemplifies and promotes, said former Veterans Affairs Secretary Togo West, an Eagle Scout and the event host. The Eagle Scout award is the highest in the organization.

The honorees are role models for youth and exemplify the values of both Scouting and the military, West said. “The Boy Scouts of America and the armed forces of the United States share … a common bond of service and honor,” he said.

Skelton, also an Eagle Scout, spoke of his experiences in Scouting since December 1943, when he first became a Tenderfoot Scout. It was World War II, and Skelton, now the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, talked about how his Scout troop would send off older Scouts as they went to war.

He praised the council for hosting an event that ties Scouting with the military. “One builds character, and the military defends our freedoms,” he said. “Scouting is not just an organization, it is a way of life.”

The honorees are:

— Army Staff Sgt. David R. Gibbons, based at Fort Bragg. N.C.;

— Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Valerie Herrod, a bostswain’s mate with the Navy Ceremonial Unit in Anacostia Naval Station, D.C.;

— Air Force Tech. Sgt. John A. Marshall, an aerospace medical expert at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.;

— Marine Corps Sgt. Henry J. Reinewald, a recruiter in Detroit; and

— Coast Guard Petty Officer Lavelas D. Luckey, based at the Coast Guard Station in Baltimore.

Gibbons enlisted in 2003 as one of the first Soldiers to go directly into Special Forces. He is an Eagle Scout and served in Afghanistan. He now is an instructor at the Special Warfare Center and School, and is the Bear Den leader for his son Ethan’s Cub Scout pack.

Herrod has served as the Ceremonial Guard’s community service coordinator since she arrived in December 2007. She has organized her sailors to help with local Special Olympics and National Lands Day, and for working with wounded warriors and at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

While an Air Force medic, Marshall deployed with NATO troops in Afghanistan, where he saved the life of a Canadian Soldier. Here, he works closely to aid the homeless. He volunteers at a local soup kitchen and has initiated a blanket drive to aid the homeless.

Reinewald is another Eagle Scout. He joined the Marine Corps in 2001 and has deployed overseas as an artilleryman. Reinewald is a recruiter in Detroit and he hopes to work closely with recruits wishing to join the service.

Luckey received the Coast Guard Medal – the highest award in the service – for rescuing a 5-year old girl who was trapped in a burning car following an accident. He joined the Coast Guard in 1999 and has served aboard two ships.

“Those of you in uniform tonight, you are examples to our Scouts,” Skelton said. “That’s what the young Scouts of today must learn. They need to follow your example, because they are going to be in your shoes and they need to be challenged to give the best that is in them.”

This story was written by Jim Garamone, Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs.

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Boy Scouts to Bring World-Class Center of Scouting Excellence to West Virginia

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Boy Scouts to Bring World-Class Center of Scouting Excellence to West Virginia

Posted on 18 November 2009 by admin

New River GorgeIn a room filled with hundreds of supporters and local leaders, the Boy Scouts of America today unveiled its plans for a world-class, national center of scouting excellence in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia. The site will serve as a premier Scouting destination, offering a new high-adventure base and national leadership programs and will become the permanent home of the National Scout Jamboree.

The BSA’s selection of the 10,600-acre site near Beckley was chosen after an extensive, nationwide process that lasted more than 18 months aimed at finding the perfect location for realizing the vision of a national center of Scouting excellence. The development of the site is made possible by a $50 million gift, the largest in BSA history, from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

The new site, to be named “The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve,” will help the BSA fulfill its mission of serving America’s youth for another 100 years, providing character-building opportunities, a respect and appreciation for the outdoors, physical fitness, and leadership development. With its extensive and diverse program offerings, the site will become a pinnacle of the Scouting experience.

“Today is a great day for Scouting. Thanks to the generosity of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the development of The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will be a source of fun, adventure, and discovery for hundreds of thousands of Scouts and leaders for generations to come,” said Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca. “As we prepare to enter another century of service, this announcement demonstrates that Scouting is as relevant and vital today as it was when our journey began.”

Area residents, Scouts, community leaders, and elected officials attended the unveiling celebration at the Glen Jean Armed Forces Reserve Center. Guests included Gov. Joe Manchin, D-WV; U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-WV; Superintendent of the New River Gorge National River Don Striker; Fayette County Commissioner Matt Wender; and Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr.

“I commend the Boy Scouts of America, Stephen Bechtel, and all of the supporters for working so diligently with our state and local officials to bring this project to fruition. This partnership will reap tremendous benefits for young people across the country and the Mountain State for many years to come. West Virginia is proud to be a part of this new chapter in Scouting history,” said Gov. Joe Manchin.

The vision to establish a permanent home for the National Scout Jamboree and a new high-adventure base evolved from an intensive, highly competitive site selection process that drew 80 proposals from 28 states. The New River Gorge Region in West Virginia was selected because of its outstanding natural beauty, its world-class high-adventure opportunities, and the availability of superior local infrastructure, including roads and public services. A nonprofit organization formed by the BSA, Arrow WV, recently signed the agreement to purchase the property, some of which is reclaimed mine land and is adjacent to more than 70,000 acres of National Park Service land.

“The story behind this project is one of true partnership,” said BSA National Executive Board member and project leader Jack Furst. “This new site would not be possible without the Bechtel family, the State of West Virginia, Fayette County, 4C Economic Development Authority, the National Park Service, and dozens of others who have played such an instrumental role in making today a reality.”

The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will complement the BSA’s existing three high-adventure bases in New Mexico, Minnesota, and Florida and help meet demand for new high-adventure activities not offered elsewhere. Annually, the BSA’s three existing high-adventure bases serve more than 50,000 youth – with 20,000 or more regularly wait-listed to attend.

The site, located in the Glen Jean – Mount Hope area, will offer unique opportunities for high-adventure whitewater rafting, technical rock climbing, mountain biking, and other extreme outdoor sports. The beautiful backdrop of the New River Gorge serves as a living outdoor classroom, offering activities that build leadership skills and the strong principles rooted in the Boy Scouts’ mission.

The New River Gorge property will require a large investment. The effort has already received a large boost with the announcement of the $50 million gift from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

“Scouting made a tremendous impact on my life,” said Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. “It’s the source of some of my fondest memories. I’m proud to be a founder on this project, and I’m thrilled to know that it will be a part of the Scouting legacy future generations will enjoy.”

Construction of the project will be based on the BSA’s long-standing commitment to “leave no trace.” Strict stewardship of the New River Gorge environment will be enforced throughout site development and reinforced daily when the property opens for use.

“In order to maintain the natural beauty of the New River Gorge, we rely heavily on the creation of strategic partnerships, such as the one we are developing with the Boy Scouts,” said Don Striker, superintendent of the New River Gorge National River. “Collaborative efforts like this are essential to carrying out the Park Service’s mission to protect our nation’s natural and cultural heritage.”

“Thanks to the vision of the Boy Scouts, the significant contributions by the Bechtel family, and the coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal partners along with dozens of other individuals and organizations, the development of the New River Gorge site represents a remarkable opportunity for our country’s youth and the State of West Virginia,” said Congressman Nick J. Rahall.

Detailed plans for the site will be finalized soon, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2010. It is expected to take approximately three years to have the site ready for a full array of Scouting activities.

Serving nearly 4.1 million youth between the ages of 17 7 and 20 (updated 12:20 p.m. Nov. 18 EST), with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the BSA is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting movement is composed of 1.2 million volunteers, whose dedication of time and resources has enabled the BSA to remain the nation’s leading youth-serving organization. For more information on the BSA, please visit www.scouting.org.

More information about 100 Years of Scouting can be found at www.scouting.org/100years.

Source: BSA Press Release

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Review: Online Eagle Scout Shadow Box and myNESA.org

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Review: Online Eagle Scout Shadow Box and myNESA.org

Posted on 17 November 2009 by Dan

myNESAThis post is not a news release or story, it is my personal opinion…

I have for the past few months, after seeing a promotion for it on the National Eagle Scout Association website, been excited for the release of myNESA.org. I was a little turned off by the online shadow box format it appeared to be taking, but was excited that it appeared NESA and the BSA had established a social media type website to allow Eagle Scouts to connect. Just think of the possibilities! Unfortunately after seeing the myNESA.org I have once again been disappointed by NESA and the BSA’s attempt at social media.

Being advertised as an online Eagle Scout shadow box, the premiere online showcase for Eagle Scouts and their families, here is the description I received:

As part of the 100th anniversary of Scouting celebration, The National Eagle Scout Association is introducing an interactive website that will allow you to celebrate your Scouting stories and awards and preserve them for family and friends to enjoy. In essence, myNESA.org produces an “interactive shadowbox” for the display and preservation of your Scouting experience. Your participation will help spread the spirit of Scouting to new Scouts while also helping us carry out our mission of service.

Your showcase can be personalized to reflect your personality and interests. Various themes are available and you can choose from over 300 interactive Scouting awards, badges, and insignia to add to your showcase. Not only can background stories be associated with each award, but you can:

Preserve memories
Celebrate Scouting highlights
Customize showcase skin & Design
Upload photos
Print Awards
Invite friends to view awards, badges, stories and more!

Sounds great doesn’t it? Why wouldn’t you want to sign up and share your story and “spread the spirit of Scouting?” For most the answer will be $14.95 (NESA members) or $19.95 (non-members). The signup page forgets to mention it, but according to the FAQ that is only for a year’s subscription to the service.

Why isn’t this service being offered for free? Why isn’t NESA spreading the stories of Scouting for free? Why isn’t NESA allowing Eagle Scouts to reconnect and network for free? Does anyone at the National organization understand that if we share the story of Scouting, it’s easier to recruit new members and its easier for Scouts to fundraise? If we keep Scouting Alumni engaged they are more likely to donate and stay involved in the program?

Just look at the comment left on the Subaru Forester Pinewood Derby Commercial post by ScoutAbout:

Around the campfire at our recent pack family campout we asked new families why they had joined cub scouts. SEVERAL of them said they saw the car commercial with the wooden car race and it sparked good memories and better values. They knew the actors were not real Scouts, they knew the scouts did not drive Subarus, and they were reminded that there was a program out there that emphasized good old fashioned values and fun. Kudos to Subaru for helping my recruiting effort.

I’ve heard similar stories after Councils have held community Pinewood Derbies, or an Eagle Scout project received major media attention. We need to encourage people to tell the story of Scouting as much as possible, and a $14.95/year fee for people who have already paid for a NESA membership just won’t cut it.

That is my two cents, take it or leave it. If you wish to view the stories of fellow Eagle Scouts and to create your own interactive showcase, go to www.myNESA.org. Check it out, you may disagree with me.

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SAT/ACT Software Available to Scouts

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SAT/ACT Software Available to Scouts

Posted on 17 November 2009 by Dan

eknowledgeIn alliance with the Boy Scouts of America, eKnowledge is offering SAT and ACT test prep programs valued at $200, free to Boy Scout families. The eKnowledge Sponsorship Alliance is made up of educationally focused foundations, as well as a group of professional athletes from the National Football League and Major League Baseball that includes Warrick Dunn and Chipper Jones. The eKnowledge Sponsorship Alliance has provided more than 120,000 SAT/ACT prep programs to families all over the United States.

“I believe in using my gifts and public image to help the community,” said Chipper Jones, six-time All-Star and future Hall of Fame baseball player.

Now in its fourth year, the eKnowledge Sponsorship Alliance has donated more than $26 million of SAT/ACT test preparation programs. In response to the donation, eKnowledge has received more than 40,000 thank-you letters from those who have benefited from the test preparation programs. The PowerPrep™ program helps prepare students to take the exams and increases student confidence, which can result in higher test scores and thousands of dollars in scholarships.

EKnowledge recently announced the arrival of the new v6x SAT/ACT PowerPrep™ software; v6x was in development for more than two years at a cost of $1.5 million. It includes more than 20 hours of video instruction, 3,000 files of supplemental test prep material, thousands of interactive diagnostic tools, sample questions, practice tests, and graphic teaching illustrations. The new PowerPrep™ v6x software is Mac- and PC-compatible.

Families interested in obtaining the FREE $200 v6x SAT/ACT PowerPrep™ Programs may order online at www.eknowledge.com/bsa or by calling 951-256-4076.

There is a fee of $13.84 (per standard program) which enables eKnowledge to provide technical and customer support, registration, licensure, processing, handling, and worldwide shipping. This nominal fee allows the sponsorship alliance to continue helping thousands of students each year.

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Union Eyes Eagle Project

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Union Eyes Eagle Project

Posted on 16 November 2009 by Dan

The Morning Call has an article about an Eagle Scout project that has caused some problems with a local union:

In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.

Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city’s largest municipal union.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

“We’ll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails,” Balzano told the council.

Read the whole story at The Morning Call.

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