Scout Lends a Hand, Gives a Van

Ashley and David Meachum, of Mount Airy, received a 2000 Toyota Sienna from Boy Scout David Manzella, of Virginia, on Tuesday in Halethorpe. Manzella repaired and donated the vehicle for his Eagle Scout service project.
Mount Airy residents David and Ashley Meachum got an early gift with the completion of a Virginia teen’s Eagle Scout project
By Sarah Hainesworth Times Staff Writer

   HALETHROPE — For Mount Airy resident David Meachum, trips to the grocery store had to be limited to whatever he could carry home. Without a car for a year, getting to work each day meant walking a mile there and a mile back home through the snow, rain or heat just to provide for his family.

   On Tuesday, things changed drastically for the Meachums. They were awarded a car from Baltimore-based nonprofit Vehicles for Change.

   While Vehicles for Change has provided more than 4,700 repaired and donated cars to low-income families in Maryland, Virginia and Washington since 1999, Tuesday marked the first time the repairs were done by someone outside of the organization.

   David Manzella, a 17-year-old from Warrenton, Va., donated a minivan to Vehicles for Change and did all the necessary repairs in order to fulfill his Eagle Scout service project requirement.

   Manzella planned the project, secured a vehicle, raised money for repairs and, with the help of eight Boy Scouts, completed the repairs, including mounting four new tires, replacing a headlight and turn signal.

   His Eagle Scout service project coach Kathy Kulik suggested Manzella incorporate his love of cars into the project, as he is currently enrolled in the automotive program at his high school.

   Beginning the work on the service project last year, Manzella was excited the present the vehicle to the Meachums on Tuesday.

   “I’m just speechless that I could hand over the keys and know who the van is going to,” he said.

   The van, a 2000 Toyota Sienna, was originally purchased in Maryland in 2000 by Manzella’s parents.

   “It’s funny that 15 years later the van is back in Maryland,” Manzella said. “We bought a new car, and this was the one that the new car replaced.”

   Manzella said the van that now belongs to the Meachum family, “runs and drives great.”

   Having a car again is a relief for David Meachum, a father of four who said he couldn’t even take his children to doctor appointments before receiving the car.

   Now, David and his wife, Ashley, can go on family outings, doctors appointments and even drive to the grocery store.

   Ashley, who is 6 months pregnant and expecting a baby girl, is looking forward to another ride.

   “Now I’ll have a ride to the hospital,” she said. The Meachums agreed that the holiday season was the perfect time to receive the vehicle. Pleased to finally have a vehicle Ashley said, “I told him not to get me anything for Christmas.” David compared the van to his favorite Christmas gift as a child. “This even beats my Power Rangers movie when I was a kid,” he said. David Meachum said the van will allow him to move up at his construction job and use the HVAC certification he received in college. After he graduated from Montgomery College in May 2013, Meachum was laid off from the position he held at the time. Shortly after, the engine went out on the minivan he owned, and he wasn’t able to afford repairs.

   Ashley, a stay-at-home mom, is looking forward to the freedom that having a vehicle allows.

   “We are extremely excited not to have to rely on other people [to give us rides],” she said.

   In addition to having mobility, Vehicles for Change gives families a chance to establish or improve their credit. All families are required to pay a reduced rate for the vehicle they receive, and they can pay upfront or pay back a loan guaranteed by Vehicles for Change through a third-party lender, over the course of 12 months.

   The Meachums will pay $835 for their van, using the loan program.

   “A lot of families come to us with little or no credit, and when they get a loan through us, it’s a way to rebuild their credit,” said Jen Harrington, director of Organizational Image for Vehicles for Change.

   Harrington said she was happy to help the Meachum family and appreciative of Manzella’s help.

   “It’s incredibly fulfilling on many levels, and one is actually meeting the family we’re giving the vehicle to,” she said. “Especially this time of year with the weather being cold and standing outside at bus stops, it’s a fresh start. I think it’s a wonderful way to provide community service.”

   Vehicles for Change awards 450 to 520 cars annually, but not just anyone can receive a car. Families must submit an application and proof of income to show they can keep up with the cost of maintaining a vehicle. Family size is also taken into consideration.

   The Meachums’ case worker at Human Services Program of Carroll County referred them to the program.

   “I presented their application to the board, and Steve Sullivan, associate director of Vehicles for Change, came up with the Boy Scout that was refurbishing the car and this family was perfect for it,” case worker Ivette Perez said.

   “From the get-go, they brought everything I needed to present, so they were the lucky family.”

   Before driving off in their new car, David Meachum expressed his gratitude.

   “I want to thank everybody that was involved in this for all your work and all your effort,” he said. “This vehicle means a lot to me and my family, and I greatly appreciate it.”

   The first outing for the Meachum family? Driving around Carroll County to see houses decorated with Christmas lights.

   “They just know we’re going for a drive, so we’re going to surprise them and go see the lights,” Ashley said of their children, 6-year-old Matthew, 5-year-old Jonathan, 3-year-old Isabelle and 19-month-old Gabrielle.

   “They enjoy that so much.”

Reach Sarah Hainesworth at 410-857-7873 or  

Important Calendar Changes

  • There WILL be a Troop meeting next Monday, December 22 – some sort of holiday party.  The SPL will be sending more details.  Santa just might leave a present or two under the tree, so this is a NOT TO MISS meeting!
  • There will be NO meeting on Monday, December 29 – Happy Holidays!
  • From this point forward, we will hold a PLC meeting on the Monday night after the monthly outing from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM in the Troop rooms at SJCC.
    • This will be in lieu of that week’s Troop meeting.
    • Required attendees to the PLC meeting:
      • SPL
      • ASPLs
      • PL (or APL or representative) from each Patrol
      • Quartermaster
      • Scribe
    • The next PLC meeting will be on Monday, January 12.
See you on Monday!

Read this Sample Dialogue with a Life Scout about Eagle Project Ideas

Adapted from a post on Bryan on Scouting blog

Life Scouts:  If you haven’t had “the talk” with Mr. Downing, you soon will!

I’m referring, of course, to the conversation about Eagle project ideas.

For many young men, the Eagle Scout Service Project is the toughest part of the journey to Eagle.  And the first hurdle of this process is coming up with an idea.

This is when the Life Scout starts to think about “What’s a good Eagle project?”

Marc Dworkin wants to help you.

Dworkin is, among other Scouting roles, Eagle coordinator for a Troop in New Jersey. He’s written a sample dialogue between himself and a Life Scout looking for Eagle project ideas.

As Dworkin proves, this is more than just a 15-second conversation.  And the best Scouters do more than simply send the Scout to search for ideas on Google.  This requires a five-minute chat with the Scout. (Youth Protection reminder: Be sure to have this talk in full view of at least one other adult.)

The following dialogue is a great read to get you thinking about how this conversation could go. Give it a look, whether you’re a Scouter who wants to be prepared for when a Life Scout approaches you, the parent of a Life Scout, or a Life Scout yourself.

Mr. D., what’s a good Eagle Project?

By Marc Dworkin, Eagle coordinator and assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 59 in the Northern New Jersey Council. He’s also the advancement chairman and a board member in the council.

Mr. D: Let’s start by looking at your Scout book. Eagle Requirement No. 5 says:

While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-­927, in meeting this requirement.

So, what do you think that means?

Life Scout: I guess I have to be a Life Scout before I can start my project.

Mr. D.: Almost. You can start to think about your project before you are a Life Scout and share your ideas and get input, but you must be a Life Scout before you start the planning and approval process required by the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook.

Life Scout: So is that it? Make Life, complete the workbook, get it approved and knock out the project?

Mr. D.: Yes, but a bit oversimplified. By the time you’ve made Life, you fully understand the meaning of the Scout Oath and Law, have learned leadership as you’ve progressed through the ranks and know the meaning and importance and honor of the Eagle Scout rank. You should consider all of this, as you work to select a project.

Life Scout: I can think of lots of projects to do around town for my school, my church – maybe at a park. I’ve seen pictures in the paper of other Eagle Scouts who painted fences and flagpoles, or built benches in a park or school. Or maybe a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society or American Red Cross.

Mr. D.: Well, fundraisers are not allowed, and neither is regular maintenance, like pulling weeds or periodic painting. These are all good ideas to start with, but I’d really like you to give some thought as to whom your project will help and the impact it will have on the community. I like to see Scouts find community service projects which help people and organizations with a real need (and in today’s connected society, ”community” is really the whole world).

I also like to see projects where the Scouts you are leading learn from the experience, by being exposed to people and situations they would not come in contact with in their normal routine. Take your bench idea, for example.

Rather than build benches in our town park, find a school a few towns over, in an underserved community, where they could use the benches and a podium as an outdoor classroom. You could lead your workers (fellow Scouts, friends and family) to do the building at home in your garage, then deliver them and plan an activity at the school, and meet the children and teachers who will use the outdoor classroom. This is the kind of project you can proudly discuss on a college interview, and it shows you really understand and live by the Scout Oath and Law.

Life Scout: What is the approval process, and how do I know if my project is good enough?

Mr. D.: Your project proposal is reviewed by a number of people on the way to getting approval, and they all have expectations of what makes a good Eagle project. There are no requirements for the size of an Eagle project, the number of hours required to complete a project or the number of people who work on it.

You are required to demonstrate your ability to plan, develop and provide leadership on the project you select. I’d like you to find a project that will be a challenge to accomplish, one you will be proud to have completed. It must be your project, and you must take the lead in doing the work.

For starters, you can talk to me as the Troop’s Eagle Advisor, and we can brainstorm ideas. You may need to go talk to the organization you will do the project for, to make sure they like the idea, and see if they have any particular requirements. Next step is to select an Eagle project mentor, which can be any of the dads in the Troop, who will help you complete the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook.

Then you submit the workbook to your project sponsor, committee chair and Scoutmaster for their review and approval. Then, the completed workbook is submitted to the District Advancement Committee for a final review and approval. Once you have the district OK, you can start work on your project.

I know this sounds a bit complicated, but your Eagle project coach will help you, and in some Troops there are additional resources, like an Eagle Project Review Committee, who review and comment on the workbook before the committee chair and Scoutmaster sign.

Life Scout: So once I get district approval, I do the project and I’m Eagle?

Mr. D.: Not so fast. Your project should take a while to complete, maybe a few weekends over a month or longer. Your sponsor must sign off on your workbook, indicating they accept your project and it is completed.

Remember, you must complete your project, all your merit badges and leadership assignment before your 18th birthday, so timing is important.

Once you have all the requirements done, you have one last Scoutmaster conference, and then an Eagle Scout board of review. A representative from the district will be present at your board of review, and the board must be satisfied you completed all the Eagle requirements (and accept your completed project), before you are awarded Eagle.eagle-project-hours-2013

Chick-Fil-A Fundraiser

Here’s an Easy Fundraiser to Support Troop 883!

All you have to do is send the attached flyer to friends, neighbors, and relatives and then make sure they come to Chick-Fil-A in Eldersburg:

Monday, January 12, 2015
5:00 PM until 8:00 PM

Make sure everyone knows that they MUST bring the flyer in order for the Troop to receive credit.

Here’s the flyer:  Chick-Fil-A Fundraiser

If you have questions – or for more details:  Christy Truesdale

New Venture Crew in Carroll County

This note is to inform Scouts about the Open House for the new Venturing Crew 918 (Chartered to the St. John’s United Methodist Church, 1205 N. Main Street in Hampstead.) from 7 PM to 8:30 PM on November 24th.

Please see the attached flyer for further details.

Please note:  to join a Venturing Crew, the must be at least 13, and he must have completed the 8th grade.   If you are at or above First Class when you join the Venturing Crew, you can continue your advancement to Eagle Scout.  And, you can be jointly enrolled in a Boy Scout Troop (like Troop 883) and a Venturing Crew at the same time.

If you have questions please send an email to:  CREW918.MD@GMAIL.COM

Sent On behalf of Crew 918 & Daren Bowen
Ron McKinney

November Backpacking

Here’s the historian’s report from last weekend’s backpacking outing!

Troop 883 November Outing

On November 9, Troop 883 went to the Appalachian Trail to go backpacking.

The Scouts were split two groups:  Scouts that wanted to go on the longer hike and Scouts that wanted to go on the shorter hike.  We passed many landmarks.  For example, we saw the Annapolis Rocks and The Black Rocks.  At the Annapolis Rocks, we ate lunch and looked at the beautiful scenery all around us.  We were above a large forest with many colors of the fall, great farms with cows and fields, and a drag strip.  (You could even hear the cars speeding up and down the road!)

In the last stretch of the hike, the Troop was all spread out along the treacherous trail of a rocky ridge.

Everyone was very tired at the end of Saturday’s hike – with aching backs, sore shoulders, and blistered feet – and we fell asleep one by one.

After our breakfast on Saturday, we packed up and left for home.

It was definitely worth the challenging hike to get a feel of what the Appalachian Trail is like!

Five Scouts from Troop 883 Earn Ad Altare Dei Religious Emblem

Earlier today, five Scouts from Troop 883 were awarded the Ad Altare Dei religious emblem.  The Scouts, who worked for nearly a year to complete the requirements for the award, were presented with their Ad Altare Dei medals by Fr. Neville O’Donohue at Mass this morning at the St. Joseph Catholic Community.

The purpose of the Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) program is to help Catholic youth of the Roman Rite develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community.  The program is organized in chapters based on the seven sacraments.  The seven Sacraments are a primary means toward spiritual growth.

The most important aspect of the program is that the Scout grows in his spiritual experience of his relationship to God and the church.

Congratulations go to:

  • Dillon K.
  • Chris S.
  • Nate J.
  • Nathan C.
  • Nathan B.

Special thanks to Assistant Scoutmaster Matt Carteaux, our religious emblem coordinator, who worked with these Scouts throughout the program.

The Authority of Youth Leadership


Compel:  Force or oblige someone to do something.

Delegate:  To give or commit (duties, powers, etc) to another as agent or representative.

Empowered:  Give someone the authority or power to do something.

                                                      The authority of youth leadership is not based in compelling young people to do something.

The authority in youth leadership is not delegated (One abiding myth of Scouting is that the adults are the source of all authority and delegate responsibility to youth leadership.)

The authority of youth leadership is built into the fabric of Scouting, they are empowered to lead.

Youth leaders are not  servants, employees, or soldiers  but volunteer players in the purposeful game of Scouting.

Scouting is something that Scouts do for themselves and adults have the honor of observing, coaching and encouraging.

Adult oversight is cooperative; we are there to aid our youth leaders by doing only the things they, by reason of their age, cannot do

Adult authority is provisional; we are there to assure things are safe, and that our youth leaders are playing within the bounds of the game.

Adult leadership is responsive and reciprocal to youth leadership: we provide assistance to developing leaders in the same way we teach someone to ride a bike, by letting  go when they are ready to pedal on their own.

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A View of Philmont – From the Eyes of a Ranger

What’s it like to spend a summer as a Philmont Ranger?

Incredible seems too weak a word, and amazing doesn’t quite cut it either.

When words fail, try video. That’s the approach Tucker Prescott took with his magical, transcendent short film called “Philmont: A Ranger’s Summer.”

It manages to be both understated and powerful by sharing what one Ranger’s summer looked like.

Enough words; just watch:


Philmont – A Ranger’s Summer from Tucker Prescott on Vimeo.

The Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium is Named After an Eagle Scout


Posted on October 21, 2014 – Bryon on Scouting

Only one ballpark in the American League is named after a person.

Ewing-Kauffman-croppedAnd it turns out that Ewing Kauffman, the man who started the Kansas City Royals and for whom the team’s stadium is named, was an Eagle Scout.

Ewing Marion Kauffman, born in 1916 in Missouri, earned the Eagle Scout award on Nov. 6, 1931. After a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, establishing a professional baseball team and his myriad philanthropic efforts, it was an obvious decision to name Kauffman a Distinguished Eagle Scout in 1977.

Eight years later, Kauffman got more good news: his Kansas City Royals won the World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Kauffman died in 1993, and the Royals never made the postseason again after that 1985 World Series win. That is, until this year.

Bringing baseball back to K.C.

When the Athletics franchise moved to Kansas City in 1955, the man responsible, Chicago real estate tycoon Arnold Johnson, was hailed as a hero.

That feeling didn’t last — and neither did the Athletics’ stint in Kansas City. The team moved to its current home in Oakland, Calif., after the 1967 season.

That upset U.S. Sen. Stuart Symington, who threatened to remove baseball’s antitrust exemption unless Kansas City was granted a team in the next round of MLB expansion.

Major League Baseball complied, and the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots (later the Milwaukee Brewers) began play in 1969.

Kauffman won the bidding for the new Kansas City franchise. He named the team the Royals after the American Royal, a horse and livestock show held each year in Kansas City.

The team played in the multipurpose Municipal Stadium for the 1969 through 1972 seasons before opening Royals Stadium in 1973. Royals Stadium stood out at the time because it was one of the few single-sport stadiums around, bucking the trend of one-size-fits-all stadiums that housed multiple teams.

In 1993, Royals Stadium became Kauffman Stadium in honor of the Royals’ founder.

And now, for the first time in 29 years, Kauffman Stadium is home to the American League Champions.