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!)
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.