Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Do I Have in My Pockets?

ON a few of the websites I peruse the authors all tend to in one manner or the other present what it is that they carry every day, the gunbloggers all tend to include their personal firearm in their every day carry details. Since I am not a gun carrying member of society, based solely upon the laws of the state in which I reside, I got to thinking about what it is that I have in my pockets every day, and more importantly, why.

There are several items that I never leave the house without, one is my Gerber Para Frame folding knife, and the other is one of my challenge coins. Today though in addition to one of my challenge coins I am carrying these items:

Yes you are seeing that correctly I have two marbles along with my Wood Badge challenge coin. Why you ask? Well I could be smart and say it’s so that I can never lose my marbles, and some day’s I wouldn’t be far from the truth, but the truth is much more cerebral. I picked up those marbles on the same day I was handed my Wood Badge challenge coin, and they came with a story. We were in formation and the course director began passing around a large jar full of marbles with instructions to take two and pass the rest on. When everyone had two marbles she began:

“There was a man who one day sat down and did a little arithmetic. He figured that most people live to the age of seventy-five, some live longer some live less, but the average is seventy-five. Then he did a little more math and multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with the number 3900 which is the average number of Saturdays that a person has in their live.

It wasn’t until he was in his 50’s that figured out that he had about another 20 years to live, and realized that he only had a little more than 1000 of those Saturdays left. So he went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. He ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up all 1040 marbles. He took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container in his garage next to his gear. Every Saturday since then, he took one marble out and threw it away.

He found that by watching the marbles diminish, he focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Then one Saturday morning he took the last marble out of the container and threw it away, he figured that if he made it to the next Saturday he would have been given a little extra time, and who couldn’t use more time?”

It was then that she paused and looked at all of us. Everyone there had given up two of their Saturdays to attend this course, two of their marbles had been thrown away, and they were the two marbles we were holding in our hands.

“Take these marbles”, she counseled us “and, make sure that you always focus on the important things in life. You are here, attending this course, because you realize that your life on this earth isn’t just about you. Don’t ever forget that.”

I’m carrying these marbles today, because on Boxing Day my wife was looking in my bin on the shelf where I place all of my stuff when I empty my pockets and asked, “Why do you have these two marbles here?” I told her the story, and realized that maybe I hadn’t remembered fully what they meant, and that quite possibly I was squandering away some of my time here on earth, for you see that man only had the story half right, every day we have here is a gift, not just those left after the marbles are all gone. And every day we need to make sure we are setting aside time to focus on the important things.

To paraphrase one of the tenets of the Wood Badge course, it’s about leaving a legacy it’s about focusing on the important things in life, everyday and not just when you have time to spare.

So that is what I have in my pockets today...what do you have in yours?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

Respect your Future

Wayne Gretzky said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

What I mean by “respect your future” is: make choices that will make you happy for a long time, rather than just focusing on the next two seconds. Among other things, that means that in everything you do, you need to be sufficiently upstanding that your conduct doesn’t keep you up worrying late at night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monthly Theme - Respect

The core value highlighted this month is:

Respect: Showing regard for the worth of someone or something. Respect is something we should all practice every day. We should strive to be respectful of others, of our surroundings, in what we say and do, and most of all we should have respect for ourselves. Cub Scouts will learn that if they are respectful of others, others will respect them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

Why does Scouting encourage a boy to do Good Turns?

Here is what Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder, had to say about it:
“The Scouting practices tend in a practical way to educate the boy out of the groove of selfishness. Once he becomes charitable, he is well on the way to overcome or to eradicate the danger of this habit.”

The promise that a Cub Scout makes on joining has as its first point, “To do my best, to do my duty to God and my Country.” Note that it does not say, “To be loyal to,” since that would merely be a state of mind. It clearly says to do something, which is the positive, active attitude.

Baden-Powell went on to say, “The main method of the Boy Scouts movement is to give some form of positive training rather than merely to inculcate negative precepts, since the boy is always ready to do rather than to digest. Therefore, we put into his activities the practice of Good Turns in his daily life as a foundation of
future goodwill and helpfulness to others. The religious basis underlying this is common to all denominations, and we, therefore, interface with the form of none.
“Thus we teach him that to do his duty to God means, not merely to lean on his kindness, but to do his will by practicing love toward one’s neighbor.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monthly Theme - Citizenship

The core value highlighted this month is:

Citizenship: Contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state, and national communities. Cub Scouts will demonstrate good citizenship as they participate in pack flag ceremonies, show respect for people in authority, and strive to be good neighbors.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

"When I say ‘I will,' I am taking on a responsibility. When I say, 'I will take out the trash or walk the dog,' it becomes my responsibility I need to make sure I do what I said I would. A simple 'I will' turns into a pledge or a promise-a promise that has to be kept. Keep that in mind the next time you say "I will."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Responsibility Tips for Den Leaders

By Alice, Golden Empire Council

Check out these activities suggested by teachers and creative Den Leaders. They can help boys practice being responsible and also reward them!

Interpersonal Responsibility: Have Den Rules!
One teacher talks about classroom rules, letting her students help decide on rules and consequences. As a Den Leader, you can do the same – just make sure you have only a few basic rules that everyone understands. Post your list at the front of the den room each meeting – if a rule is being broken, just point to the list and ask “What’s the Rule?” No need to get into a discussion with an individual boy, since the den all worked on the rules and consequences together. (You might even have to check the boy’s ideas when they decide on consequences – they are often far too severe)

Behavior Journals: Send home Positive Reports!
Teachers often have students write in their own personal journals about their week’s behavior and how they handled problems that came up. At the end of the week, they take their journals home to share with parents.

As a Den Leader, you can help boys with behavior issues to take personal responsibility by having them write down what happened, and how they think the problem could be solved.
You can also give out “Positive” reports to take home to parents. Baden-Powell said “A pat on the back is a stronger stimulus than a prick with a pin. Expect a great deal of your boys and you will generally get it.” Set a goal to say at least one good thing about each boy at every den meeting. But don’t give undeserved compliments – boys know when the praise is genuine! Remember, “It’s better to build boys than repair men.”

A Taste of Responsibility:
Check this out under Gathering Activities

Responsible Service:
Have each boy make a coupon book to give to his parents or teacher exchange for service from the boy. Each boy can include things such as “sorting the recycling” or “sweep the back porch” or “pass out materials.” Then have the boys turn in their completed coupon books when they have taken responsibility to do each promised task. A word of warning: these tasks should not include regular chores or assignments – they should be for extra things each boy can do.

“Caught Being Good Coins:”
One Den Leader I heard of uses special plastic “coins” – when a boy is “caught” doing something good – helping without being asked, cleaning up after an activity, helping another boy with a project or craft. Boys cannot ask for a job to earn a coin – they are rewarded for choosing to be helpful and take responsibility for themselves and their materials, books, candy wrappers, whatever. Coins are redeemed for simple toys, stickers, party favor type stuff, sometimes a patch.

Assignment Organizer:
Teachers often have their students record their assignments in a special notebook, so they can check off what they do in class – whatever isn’t done becomes homework, which they take home. Both parents and students initial the list before it returns to school.

As a Den Leader, have a process for “homework” – things that must be done at home. Make sure there is some kind of check-off for the boy to do – you could have a chart to post at the Den Meeting, so that boys can initial or put a sticker when they have completed the homework. Some dens have an email system – so parents can be reminded. But it’s important to have some way for each boy to keep and mark off his OWN record as well, especially with assignments that require more than one week.

Money Matters:
To help students understand budgets, teachers often use play money, provide each student with a list of necessary expenses, and have them figure out how to use their “money.”

As Den Leaders, we can work on the scout or religious award requirements that involve learning how to use money. One possible “field trip” might invlve a visit to the grocery store where boys help find the best value, compare not only cost, but price per unit, and also nutritional value.

We can also let the boys take an active role in planning the expenses for a den or pack activity, so they get a realistic view of how much things cost. Every scout should have an opportunity to earn at least part of the money for Day Camp – encourage parents to offer chores for hire, or use a den or pack project, such as a car wash or popcorn sales – where the boy himself can be responsible for part of the cost.

October – A Month for Responsibility

by Alice, Golden Empire Council

October is a month filled with opportunities to be Responsible. Every Cub Scout can learn, step by step, to make good choices, finish the job, keep his promises and earn a reputation for Responsibility. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

October is Adopt a Shelter Animal Month
Even if every boy can’t go out and adopt a new pet, he can take responsibility for a pet he already has. Remember that your pet depends on you to give them fresh water, food, a safe place to live, and exercise. That’s how you show you love them!

Want to help a shelter animal? Check with a local shelter – they often need food, clean towels and blankets, and sometimes even people to come in and walk the animals.

October is also Disability Awareness Month
Try some of the Disability Challenges in the GAMES section of Baloo's Bugle. Invite someone to come and share how they cope with their disability.

Fire Prevention Week is the First Week of October
Visit a fire house, or invite a fireman to visit your den. In the past, my boys got to try on the boots and gear, turn on the siren, and even try using the hose! Check with your local fire department – they often have brochures, comic books, activity books, and sometimes other freebies – like pencils or even plastic fireman’s helmets! Have the boys distribute door hangers to remind people to check the batteries on the smoke detectors – they are real lifesavers!

And be sure to teach every boy to be responsible for his own safety – review Stop, Drop & Roll and how to get out of a burning building safely.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Monthly Theme - Responsibility

The core value highlighted this month is:

Responsibility: Fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves. Being responsible is being dependable and doing what you say you will do. Cub Scouts will have fun learning about responsibility while pretending to be on a campout.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hints and Tips For New Cub Scout Leaders

Plan your meetings far enough ahead to allow time to gather materials needed. Set goals that you want to accomplish during the year. Outline your program for the year and plan ahead to involve as many people as possible. Plan each meeting ahead of time. You might find it valuable to plan next weeks meeting after just completing a meeting. Always have a plan B, each group will be different and activities that thrilled one den may bore another, and when they get bored they get rowdy. If they are showing signs of boredom drop the activity and go to plan B and you will rarely have discipline problems.

If you plan an outdoor activity, always have an indoor alternate planned.

Transitions from one activity to the next are easiest if the meeting is planned so that the next activity is always preferred to the current one. For example we begin with opening ceremonies that reinforce the values of Scouting (boring) then go to advancement activities (less boring but not as much fun as games which come next), after games we go to snack time (they are always willing to stop what they are doing for snack!). I use the fact that they have their hands full and their mouths full as the best opportunity for announcements and reminders. Their parents are beginning to show up, and it doesn't hurt that parents are also hearing the announcements and reminders, it also helps to keep those impatient parents from grabbing the Cub and leaving before the closing ceremony, since they intuitively understand that they should not take their child away during announcements.

Don't try to carry all of the load yourself. In Tiger, Wolf and Bear dens the family unit is central to the forming of the Cub Scout and activities revolved around the family unit. Get other parents involved. Help them realize it is their program and then depend on them to lend expertise on aspects of the program. Invite them to attend by determining their interests and using them.
Leadership is developed and learned. You can become an effective Cub Scout Leader if you will prepare yourself and take the time to learn. Remember to be flexible in your planning. There are no set answers to handling boys. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Get trained! Start out with the Cub Scout Den Leader Fast Start video. It is very short and enjoyable to watch. After you get settled in, attend the Cub Scout Den Leader Basic Training at your District. It is the best place to go to learn your Cub Scouting fundamentals.

Understand the Cub Scout program so you can help the boys grow throughout the program. There is a lot of resources available to help you. One of your best resources is the monthly district Cub Leader Roundtable, where you can exchange ideas with other Cub Scout Leaders.

Do your best, and, above all, have fun!

The 10 Commandments of Den Control:
1. Regularly use the Cub Scout Ideals: the Motto, the Promise and Law of the Pack, in ceremonies, and as a guide to conduct. You must set the example.
2. Use Den Rules. Start using them immediately. Boys need to know what is expected of them. Make sure both boys and parents know what the rules are.
3. Make uniforms important. Have regular uniform inspections and instill pride in wearing their uniforms. Boys behave differently when they dress up.
4. Be firm, fair and consistent. They will test you from time to time to make sure that you really mean it.
1. Use positive incentives. When the conduct candle burns down or the marble jar is full, give them the special party or outing you promised.
2. Make each boy feel special. Use warm greetings, compliments, words of praise, and fond farewells, liberally for each boy. Make them feel appreciated and wanted.
3. Boys must have input to rules. If you want them to cooperate they should feel that they have some control of how the den operates. You empower them and teach responsibility when they help set the rules.
4. Den programs must be full of short, fun activities. Boys at this age are active and quickly become bored or frustrated. Long talking sessions and complicated craft projects make it difficult to keep control of the meeting.
5. Use lots of help. From time to time, boys require individual attention. They will need help, encouragement, reassurance, advice or just want to tell you something important. You can't give them that attention if your doing it alone.
6. Get to know each boy. Every boy in your den is a unique individual with his own dreams, fears, and sense of humor. He needs to know that you care about him.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September – A Month for Cooperation

By Alice, Golden Empire Council

September 3 – Uncle Sam’s Birthday
Uncle Sam is now considered a symbol of the United States, and was widely used to help recruit people to serve in the army, and also to encourage people to help save materials that were needed to make equipment for the military.
The government realized that they needed the Cooperation of everyone – including people who weren’t in the army, but who could collect or give up using materials that the military needed, such as rubber or metal. Boy scouts were very much involved in collection efforts!

Here’s the popular version of the rest of the story:
During the War of 1812, Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York was supplying barrels of meat for soldiers – he stamped the barrels U.S. for United States, but the soldiers started calling the meat “Uncle Sam’s.” After newspapers picked up the stories, the nickname stuck.

In the late 1860’s a political cartoonist named Thomas Nast, started drawing Uncle Sam with a white beard and stars-and-stripes suit – Nast also drew the modern image of the round, jolly Santa Claus we usually picture, and came up with donkey and elephant as symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties.

The picture of Uncle Sam on the poster was drawn by James Montgomery Flagg, who added a top hat and the pointing finger. During World War I, Uncle Sam was put on recruiting posters.
Finally, in September 1961, the U.S. Congress declared Samuel Wilson as the “progenitor of America’s symbol of Uncle Sam.” Troy, N.Y. now calls itself “The Home of Uncle Sam.”

So whenever you see Uncle Sam, remember that everyone must cooperate to keep our country strong!

September 4 – Newspaper Carrier Day
A lot of people work together to put a newspaper together, and even to deliver the newspaper to your front door. If you have a boy or family that deliver newspapers in your pack, invite them to share examples of how they work together to do the job.

You could also play “Delivering the News – Together” game in the Games Section.

September 5 – National Cheese Pizza Day
You can have a lot of fun cooperating to make a cheese pizza – and it will taste great, too!

September 7 – Neither Rain Nor Snow Day
Today is the anniversary of the opening of the New York Post Office building in 1914. This inscription was carved on the building:

"Neither snow nor rain not heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
Also, in September 1789, the very first post office was opened in the United States – so this is a good day to thank your letter carrier! Or visit a post office and find out how the mail is handled – a great example of cooperation, because many people work together to make sure the mail gets delivered on time.

September 10 – Swap Ideas Day
This day is celebrated by Girl Scouts – but Swapping Ideas is a great way to cooperate. Many people call it brainstorming. If you are planning an activity or trying to decide what to do, everyone gives their ideas – the only rule is that there are no bad ideas – so No “put-downs” of someone’s idea – even your own.

September 13 – Positive Thinking Day
Explore Positive Thinking – you will discover that it’s contagious – if you are a positive thinker, it will rub off on others around you!

Positive Thinking can also help you DO YOUR BEST in school this year!

Here are some good ideas for Practicing Positive Thinking:
· In every class, look for positive people to associate with.
· In every lecture, look for one more interesting idea.
· In every chapter, find one more concept important to you.
· With every friend, explain a new idea you've just learned.
· With every teacher, ask a question.
· With yourself, keep a list of your goals, positive thoughts and actions.

September 15 – Good Neighbor Day
Good Neighbor Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in September – challenge your den or pack to choose a special way to be good neighbors. They could make some cookies to share, rake leaves for a neighbor, host a Neighborhood Watch meeting, help a neighbor fix a fence or paint some window frames. Every one has a neighbor – find a way to be a Good Neighbor – and demonstrate the Scout challenge to “Do a Good Deed Every Day!”

September 16 – Collect Rocks Day
On a den or family hike, collect some smooth rocks with interesting shapes – smooth river pebbles are great to use for art projects! Check out the idea for a Gathering Activity to make a “Model of Family Cooperation.” Of course, boys could also use these rocks to start their own rock collection.

September 20 – First Railroad Station Opens
The Broad Green Station was the first ever opened, as part of the Liverpool route in 1830 England. But Americans quickly decided they also needed a railroad to open up the vast regions of the West.

It certainly takes a lot of cooperation and hard work to operate a railroad. The first transcontinental railroad was built across America in the 1850s and 1860s – but it took lots of people working together! The Congress wanted to build a railroad even in 1840, so that people could move to the West and be able to get people, supplies and products back and forth to the rest of the country.

But no one could agree on what route to follow. Originally, surveyors agreed that a southern route was the best, but politics and the beginning of the Civil War made that impossible, so the northern route won out. The Union Pacific began building in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the Central Pacific started in Sacramento, California. It wasn’t till May 10, 1869, that the two rails finally were joined at Promontory Point, Utah.

But a lot of Cooperation was needed before the railroad was finished: Theodore Judah laid out a route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and then brought together the Big Four to create the Central Pacific. And people from many countries worked together to actually build the railroad – men from Ireland and other parts of Europe, freed slaves originally from Africa, and finally thousands of Chinese. There was a lot of racial bias, and many objected to importing the Chinese, but they did the dangerous job of carving tunnels and setting charges so the Sierras could be conquered. The population and history of California and the West were forever changed. The Railroad served the North during the Civil War, made Western expansion possible, and built the fortunes of influential men. Years later, its importance dwindled with the rise of interstate highways and air travel, and much of it was pulled apart for materials for later war efforts. But the history of cooperation lives on in the stories of the people who built the railroad.

September 21 – International Day of Peace
People who understand each other can live together in peace. Peace definitely requires Cooperation! So learn about another culture or country so you can better understand and accept the differences. Invite pack families to share some stories and information about their cultural backgrounds – what do you have in common? How are you different? What do you admire about their culture? What surprised you?

September 22 – Boy Scouts & Band Aids
Can you imagine life without band aids? Well, until 1920, no one had that wonderful little box of band aids in their medicine chest or kit.

Earl Dickson was a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson, and noticed that his wife often cut her fingers while working in the kitchen. But the gauze and adhesive tape didn’t stay on the cut very well when she was working in the kitchen, especially when they got wet. So Earl decided to make something better. He took a small piece of gauze, attached it to the center of a piece of tape, and then covered they whole thing to keep it sterile and dry.

When Earl’s boss saw the invention, he decided it was well worth manufacturing to sell to the public – and he made Earl Dickson a vice president of the company!

But here’s where Boy Scouts connects to this story. People were slow to buy the new product. Then Earl’s boss decided to donate some of the new band aids to Boy Scouts – and they loved them! They stayed on even when wet, protected the cut from mud, and were easy to carry on hikes! By 1924, band aids were machine made and almost every household had a box!

September 23 – Native American Day
Native American tribal groups were a model of cooperation, among themselves and even when the first white settlers came to America. Even young children had important jobs to do in helping prepare food, getting the family or village ready to move, protecting or harvesting crops, or in honoring and learning cultural history, dances, art and music. For example when a mother or grandmother worked on traditional pottery or weaving, small children were also there to help, according to their ability and size. Among tribes that planted crops, the children were often assigned to chase away birds who wanted to steal the seeds that had been planted. When the first white people came to America, their was a lot of cooperation between both peoples – the Native Americans shared information about local conditions, crops, and resources, and how to deal with weather and the natural world. The pioneers provided new materials and tools made of metal that were an improvement over what the natives had available. Both groups benefitted from the cooperation between them. Unfortunately, this didn’t last – but if you aren’t familiar with the stories of the first pioneers and how the natives helped them, you might want to check out the story of Squanto – it could make a great skit for a Thanksgiving celebration in October or November!

September 27 – Crush a Can Day
Cooperate to clean up around your meeting place or neighborhood. Then have some fun crushing any cans you find and take them to a recycling center.

You can also have some fun before you crush those cans – play an old fashioned game called “Kick the Can.” It’s a simple thing – Divide into two groups and give each group a can. Identify a starting and ending point. Now, on signal, the first boy in each team kicks the can until he crosses the finish line, then kicks it back to the next boy in line. The winning team gets every team member back to the starting line first. And then you can all enjoy a CAN of your favorite soda! (But don’t forget to recycle those cans! Remember that Scouts Leave No Trace!)

September 30 – Safety Pin Invented
Cooperation is how people work together – but safety pins help keep fabric together. Pins were used to fasten clothing together even in Roman times – but people were always getting stuck! A mason and farmer in upstate New York, named Walter Hunt, invented the safety pin in 1848, while twisting a piece of wire and trying to think of something he could invent to pay back a $15 debt. He later sold his patent rights for the safety pin to the man he owed - for $400. His pin was made from one piece of wire, coiled into a spring at one end and a separate clasp and point at the other end, so that the point could be forced by the spring into the clasp. Hunt designed it to keep fingers safe from injury – so he called it the safety pin!

He also designed lots of other things, and was granted many other patents – machinery for mills, a knife sharpener, streetcar bell, artificial stone, road sweeping machinery, a stove to burn hard coal, and even a sewing machine.

Safety pins have lots of uses – in scouting, we sometimes use safety pins to make a craft.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mothly Theme - Cooperation

The core value highlighted this month is:

Cooperation: Being helpful and working together with others toward a common goal. Cub Scouts will gain a better understanding of the importance of cooperation as they work together to make the pack harvest festival a memorable occasion for everyone, including the new families.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting said: “Honesty is a form of honor. An honorable man can be trusted with any amount of money or other valuables with the certainty that he will not steal it.” When you feel inclined to cheat in order to
win a game, just say to yourself: “After all, it is only a game. It won’t kill me if I do lose.” If you keep your head this way you will often find that you win after all. It’s great to win, but if you can’t win, be a good loser.

That is certainly a different attitude than the phrase many of us I am sure have heard that goes ”Winning is everything."

Some people have decided that they must win whatever game they're playing, no matter what it takes. Sports coaches and even parents sometimes put a lot of pressure on their kids to win. But there is something much more important than winning. That something is doing your best. As we get ready for a new school year, let's all decide that we're going to make this a year when we do our best, whether it's in the classroom, on the playing field, at home with our families, or at our place of worship. Never forget that if you are honest and do your personal best, then you are a winner, no matter what the final score happens to be.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monthly Theme - Honesty

The core value highlighted this month is:
Honesty: Telling the truth and being a person worthy of trust. While participating in various Cub Scout summertime activities, Cub Scouts will gain a better understanding of the importance of following rules, being fair, and being trustworthy in games and in daily life.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Webelos Camp at Goshen Scout Reservation

Webelos 1 Alex D, just returned from a week at Scout Camp at Goshen Scout Reservation in Southern Virginia. If you went to Day Camp and thought you had a good time, check out some of the pictures Alex's dad took during their week at camp!

Alex was the only boy from Pack 195 in camp, but the program director made an awesome decision to put him in with one of the largest packs there, 1483 from Ashburn Va. They had 15 boys at camp this year and the group just absorbed Alex like he was one of their own.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

Don’t Give Up
To be good at anything, you have to believe that you can do it, and then practice it until you can. There’s no easy way to become an expert. You just have to keep at it, over and over. There will be times you’ll think that you just can’t make it. But don’t give up a task because it seems hard. There are few things worth doing that are easy to do at first.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Social Media Powers Laptops and More for Wounded Troops

Soldiers’ Angels Project Valour-IT
Conducts Online Fundraising Competition

Pasadena, CA (June 28, 2011) – As the number of American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines suffering battlefield wounds continues to grow, today’s economic challenges continue to squeeze military support nonprofits. Soldiers’ Angels Project Valour-IT—which has supplied over 6,000 severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines with adaptive laptops and other devices to aid their recovery and reintegration—is addressing that squeeze with a fundraising technique it pioneered: online competition.

Held July 1-14, the Valour-IT fundraising competition will draw on blogging, Facebook, Twitter and other social media to raise money and awareness for the needs of wounded troops. Divided among four “virtual teams” named in honor of U.S. military service branches, participants will also use flyers, word-of-mouth and traditional media outlets to spread the word. The goal is to raise at least $100,000, which will meet increased demand for Valour-IT services through October 2011.

“Project Valour-IT changes lives,” says Soldiers’ Angels founder Patti Patton-Bader. “Wounded heroes report that being able to use a laptop helps them feel whole again. Physical therapists are actually designing therapy sessions around Wii Sports! And something as normal as a handheld GPS reduces stress and helps a hero cope. It’s just amazing what this project does!”

Each of the devices Valour-IT supplies helps restore confidence and independence for a wounded hero. Voice-activated laptops reconnect the wounded with the world and develop self-confidence by showing soldiers they can continue to be engaged and productive despite their injuries. Servicemembers also use the laptops to research their medical care or prepare for a post-military career. Physical therapists report Wii Sports is extremely motivational and beneficial when used in physical therapy settings, and wounded personnel with short-term memory loss due to TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and severe PTSD use GPS systems to keep from getting lost or disoriented when they move on to more independent living.

For more information about the fundraising competition, email or visit to donate. All funds raised go directly to wounded troops with no overhead costs removed, and requests for support are vetted through case managers.

About Soldiers’ Angels - Established in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based, award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing aid and comfort to members of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as veterans and military families. For more information, see
Tax ID# 20-0583415 CFC #25131

Media Contact:
Toby Nunn at, 510-305-0004

Monday, June 13, 2011

Catoctin Mountain District Cub Scout Day Camp NEEDS HELP!

From Colby Child and Mike Deegan - Day Camp Coordinators.

We remain NEARLY poised to provide the best program possible for our scouts during the week of June 20-24.

However, we remain in search of three (3) adult Stewards to stand ready at the MOAT and instruct fishing to our young squires. We haven’t any Stewards in this area and are hopeful to not need to reorganize.

We remain in search of about ten (10) youth Stewards, 14+ yrs old, to stand ready in various areas including the Guildhall (crafts), the Moat (fishing), Sapine Forest (nature), Artists and Minstrels (art and stage) and Roundtable (Medieval Games).

Please, do not delay in sending word to Camelot about your interest and availability to serve King Arthur in his effort to train our young squires. Go to the following computer link to gather the needed Adult or Youth Staff application and submit it to Colby Child ( or 301-271-4111 or to Mike Deegan ( or 240-344-4323.

Day Camp Needs Canopy shelters for our stations. We are hopeful to receive use for sources around the District of 10x20 ft canopy/carport type shelters. We have consolidated the program area somewhat and would like to be able to provide those groups that are in the open meadows of the Realm with some shelter from the hot sun. If units or persons possess shelters of this type AND would be willing to loan them to Day Camp, please contact Colby Child (see above contacts) without delay. We hope to set up camp on June 18th, next Saturday, and would like to have time to pick up the shelters before that event.

Thank you for your attention to the notice. We appreciate everything being done throughout the Realm to facilitate our Cub Scout’s day camp experience this year. We are striving for a program of the highest caliber; we want it to be Ex-Caliber!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monthly Theme

The core value highlighted this month is:

Perseverance: Sticking with something and not giving up, even if it is difficult. Through participating in activities such as a bicycle rodeo, Cub Scouts learn the importance of practice and perseverance to improve new skills.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

Baden-Powell on Health & Fitness

Baden-Powell thought it important to help boys become strong and fit young men of good character. He once said, “A boy is not a sitting-down animal.” And he also felt that games should be “Fun with a Purpose.” Many of the games he introduced were physically very active, but he also felt “It is important to arrange games and competition so that all Scouts of the troop take part.” So as we include fitness activities in our program, let’s remember to help every boy “Do His Best” and give everyone a chance to shine!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Opportunities for our Children

As part of its year-round Kids on Campus Program, Frederick Community College offers extensive summer activities starting Monday, June 20 and lasting 8 weeks.

The activities are a mix of fun and learning so kids are engaged and active, using their imaginations and reinforcing what they learn in school or love to do.

Although registration started in March, many classes still have openings!

Please visit the following links for more information.

The full 29-page brochure with activities listed for ages 4-14:

A flier about science and technology classes based at Brunswick, Middletown, Thurmont and Urbana Middle Schools:

A flier about classes offered at Valley Elementary:

A flier about middle and high school student opportunities with the FCC acting program and the Maryland Shakespeare Festival:

A flier about Study Skills classes for students entering grades 6-12 and one for ages 9-13:

For more information:, 301-846-2661 or

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pack 195 Wants You!

Join us at our next Pack Meeting: 7:00 PM on May 26, 2011 at Heritage Farm Park and get a sample of the fun you can have as a Cub Scout or visit us at our Walkersville Days exhibit: Saturday, May 21, 2011 on Maple Avenue.
Join now for a summer full of Camping, Hiking, Day Camps, Bowling, Baseball Games, Carnivals, and all around fun with boys your age.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beltloopapalooza Instructor Info

A couple of details for you:

The cafeteria WILL be open for breakfast if you would like to avail yourself of that opportunity. The all-you-can-eat breakfast will cost you $4.45 per person. Cafeteria will open at 06:30 for breakfast.

Check-in will be in the lobby of the Auditorium of J Building (Boy Scout check in will be in the lobby of J Building). Check in will be open by 07:00. Check-in will be alphabetically by last name. The opening ceremony begins at 07:30 in the J Auditorium.

Room assignments are still being worked out. FEMA has a major deployment underway to the Midwest flooding, and they are taking some of the rooms we were planning to use. We will have that information for you at check-in. Counselors will receive an event patch and a lunch pass at check-in.

Q: WiFi or other internet access and if there were projectors or chalk/dry erase boards in the classrooms.
A: Yes there are computers in the classrooms with internet access as well as projectors and white boards. I'd like to keep the scouts off the computers as much as possible. If they have material for a power point etc, please bring it on a CD or thumb drive.

If you have any questions, please contact us at your convenience.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Monthly Theme

The core value highlighted this month is:

Health and Fitness: Being personally committed to keeping our minds and bodies clean and fit. By participating in the Cub Scout Academics and Sports program, Cub Scouts and their families develop an understanding of the benefits of being fit and healthy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cub Scout Belt Loop Day - Beltloopapalooza

Cub Packs 195, 270, and 1070 is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the Inaugural Belt Loop Day “Beltloopapalooza” on the grounds of the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD.

When: Saturday, May 14, 2011; 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

To Register: Registration Opens on Friday, April 8, 2011 go to to register. Click on the link “Beltloopapalooza at National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg, MD

Who May Attend: Any registered Cub Scout may attend. Tiger Cubs will need to have their Tiger Adult Partner accompany them. We are also requesting a Parent Cub ratio of 1 Parent : 5 Cubs.

Cub Scout All Day = $21.00
Cub Scout Half Day (No Lunch) = $10.00
Cub Scout Half Day (w/ Lunch) = $15.00

Adult Attendee All Day = $12.00
Adult Attendee Half Day (No Lunch) = $7.00
Adult Attendee Half Day (w/ Lunch) = $10.00

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Something Greater Than Yourself

I just finished reading a post from a blogger I've been following for quite a while: The Anchoress and not only am I borrowing the title of her post I’m sharing her post here with you.

“When my husband and I picked up our son—let’s call him Buster—from the train station this past weekend, he threw his gear into the car and proclaimed a state of near-starvation. We invited him to put off eating and join us at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for a young man named Danny.

Six years earlier, Buster had returned from a week at scout camp telling us about ‘this cute little kid, Danny, who just joined a few months ago—he’s shy but you can tell how badly he wants to be part of it.’ Three years after that, Danny had been an impressive all-day worker at Buster’s Eagle Project, where Buster called him ‘exceptional,’ and predicted that Danny, too, would reach Eagle. So, it was unsurprising that Buster willingly delayed dinner for this 'brother scout.'

Danny, with 52 merit badges on his sash and a scouting resume that truly was exceptional, even for an Eagle, began his prepared remarks by saying, ‘I didn’t know he would be here today, but that just makes this speech all the better, because I am going to begin by telling you that one of the biggest reasons I stand before you tonight as an Eagle is because of Buster.’”
Later in the post she mentions the passing of an Assistant Scoutmaster that Buster knew and the legacy of Scouts that filed into the funeral home to comfort his family and let them know that “Yes he mattered. His life mattered to me.”

The story of this Scoutmaster’s passing made me think of the recent passing of a fellow Wood Badger: Andy Russo.

I first met Andy in September of 2010, just a few months ago, when we arrived for our first weekend of Wood Badge. A fellow member of his troop was in my patrol and because of that, we all were able to learn of Andy. You see Andy was dealing with Pancreatic Cancer when he arrived at Wood Badge and we all knew that the likelihood of Andy finishing his ticket items was slim.

At first I wondered why someone would take on this ordeal when dealing with their own ordeal, but the answer was right there in front of me during both weekends, and the reason we ALL were at Wood Badge. It really isn’t about what you finish in life, but rather what you undertake along the way, what you leave behind for others, and what you teach others about living a worthwhile and productive life.

Throughout the entire 4 day program Andy was always happy, always ready with a sharp retort and always willing to help out. He wasn’t letting a little cancer get in his way of learning how to help our sons’ become better men, because as The Anchoress noted, it is all about something greater than yourself.

As we graduated from the classroom portion of the program and started our journey along our Wood Badge Tick path we walked down a long line of staff members and shook the hand of each person. The Course Director Isabelle then handed us a coin that I just happen to have in my pocket now. On one side it has the quote “It’s Your Move”. It is apparent to me, that Andy decided long before arriving at Wood Badge to make his move.

Andy died on Saturday, March 5, 2011 while his son was in a Scout Leader training class making his move in the continuing legacy of placing other’s before self.

Andy made his move and dedicated his life to the service of others. He was and is to me the epitome of what a true Scout Leader is - his life mattered because he made everyone he came in contact with think that their life mattered - because it does.

As Scout Leaders we need to ask our self a simple question: Whose life are you going to touch today and remind them that their life does matter, because it really is all about something greater than yourself.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

We can learn something about resourcefulness and character from George Washington – when he found himself with not enough gun powder to make any resistance to the British, he chose to “act the part of a winner.” He kept the enemy from knowing what the dire situation the Continental Army was in – and had his troops “act” as if they had real strength by constantly appearing to be preparing to make an attack.

At another time, when his army was trapped between a far superior British force and the river, he quietly arranged to have every available boat of any kind brought to Brooklyn, and under cover of night and a dense fog, moved men, arms, ammunition, supplies, horses and carts to the other side of the river without the loss of a single man.

Even when you do have resources, the first step in reaching your goal is to BELIEVE you can do it – and picture yourself succeeding!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monthly Theme - Resourcefulness

The core value highlighted this month is:
Resourcefulness: Using human resources and other resources to their fullest. Through participating in Cub Scout activities, boys will learn different ways to solve problems using various methods and means.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Closing Thought

Pinewood Derby Race
Peggy Porter

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to "dad".

That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son. But Gilbert tried. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young eager son. The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed. Finally, mom stepped in to see if she could figure this all out. The project began.

Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work. And he did. I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn't do. Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car. A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom). Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids' cars and was feeling pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning", the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came. With his blue pinewood derby car in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big race. Once there my little one's pride turned to humility. Gilbert's car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own. All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.

A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility, Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side, Gilbert had "mom".

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion. You kept racing as long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down the finely sanded ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my wide eyed, shy eight year old asked if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray. The race stopped.

Gilbert went to his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands. With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his Father. He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half. Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, 'Okay, I am ready."

As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy's car. Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank You" as the crowd roared in approval.

The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to win, huh, Gilbert?" To which my young son answered, "Oh, no sir. That wouldn't be fair to ask God to help you beatsomeone else. I just asked Him to make it so I wouldn't cry when I lost."

Children seem to have wisdom far beyond us. Gilbert didn't ask God to win the race, he didn't ask God to fix the outcome. Gilbert asked God to give him strength in the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars he didn't cry out to God, "No fair, they had a father's help!" No, Gilbert went to his Heavenly Father for strength.

Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God's strength to get us through the struggle. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.

Gilbert's simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night. He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request. He didn't pray to win, thus hurt someone else; he prayed that God supply the grace to lose with dignity. Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn't there without a "dad", but he also went away a winner that night, with his Father at his

May we all learn to pray this way.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

"Do Your Best"

When you give the Cub Scout Promise, the words “Do your Best” are often lost among all the other very important words. Let’s stop for a minute and carefully consider these words.

Best describes effort and action above our usual performances. You are the only person who can possibly know whether or not you have done your best. Every time you repeat the promise, you agree to do your best. Your best is just that: The very best that you can do. Think about the meaning of the promise that you repeated at the beginning of the Pack Meeting. Decide that you will always do your best, no matter what the job is that is facing you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pinewood Derby Set-Up!

Set-up for the Pinewood Derby will be Thursday, January 27, 2011 beginng at 7:00 PM.

We'll get the track out of storage and transport it to the site. Set-up the track and finalize any last minute tweaking of the track. This should take about 3 - 4 hours total.

Monthly Theme - Positive Attitude

The core value highlighted this month is:
Positive Attitude: Being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations. Through participating in a derby, boys will see the importance of having a positive attitude, regardless of the outcome of the race.