A Clever Solution to an Age-Old Nuisance


Those of us in Scouting see poison ivy as a campout-ruining nuisance. Goats, as it turns out, see it as a delicious treat.

Gavin Burseth, a 16-year-old from Bartlett, Ill., is training the animals to help clear poison ivy from campgrounds at the Blackwell Forest Preserve, about 30 miles west of Chicago.

Why goats instead of machines or chemicals?

“Goats are cheaper. They’re more eco-friendly. Generally they eat all day,” Gavin told the Chicago Tribune. “And poison ivy doesn’t affect them like it does people.”

Gavin, still a few steps shy of the Eagle Scout Award, is closing in on another rare BSA honor: the William T. Hornaday Award, which many call “an Olympic medal bestowed by the earth.”

The goat project is the third project of three required for theHornaday bronze medal. His others involved storm drains and water testing.

Once he finishes the necessary paperwork for the Hornaday Award, he’ll join an elite club. The BSA says about 1,100 Hornaday medals have been awarded since 1917. That would mean fewer than a dozen are awarded each year.

Read more about Gavin in the Chicago Tribune story.


Young Engineers and Scientists Seminars – FREE!


Interested in STEM?  Thinking about a career in engineering?

Northrop Grumman is sponsoring FREE seminars geared for high school students who are interested in science or engineering careers. Details are below.

The Young Engineers and Scientists Seminars (YESS) are being held at the National Electronics Museum on Wednesday evenings during October.  YESS presents this opportunity for high school students to meet some of the area’s finest engineers and to participate in weekly team-based engineering contests for a chance to earn prizes.

Four free seminars will be offered on the following Wednesday evenings: October 8, 15, 22 and 29.

A pizza dinner will be served from 6 – 6:30 p.m.  Afterwards, guest speakers and the engineering challenges will last until about 8:30 p.m.

For more information or to register, please go to www.yessnem.org.

Point of Contact:  Mr. Walt Crognale

Nentico Lodge – OA Fall Fellowship

Attention OA Members:

Let’s get ready to fall back into the Medieval Times at our upcoming Fall Fellowship. That’s right, Nentico Lodge is going to start this year’s fall with an awesome display of medieval games; like Jousting, Archery, Tom-a-hawks, Giant sling-shots and much, much more!!!

Don’t miss out on this amazing event on October 10-12, 2014 at Camp Saffran. Cost is only $21 per person, and registration opens at 6:30 pm on September 26. Registration closes on Oct 3rd, make sure to register before the at the link below:


****Golden ticket holders-please register on the link above, there is a link for you to express pay****

For our Arrowmen who have completed their ordeal this year, come out and see what Nentico Lodge is all about.  This is the first lodge event that you can attend as an Arrowmen!!!

Other activities during the weekend include; Brotherhood Conversions, Vigil Call Out, Broken Arrow Ceremony, NOAC Meeting, Founders Award Meeting, General Lodge Meeting, and Lodge Officer Elections.

Please contact Program@nentico.org with any questions about this fun packed event.

Yours in WWW,
Lane Short
Vice Chief of Program
Nentico Lodge 12

Interesting! I Didn’t Know That…

BSA asks Scout units, councils to stop using phrase ‘Fun With a Purpose’

The Boy Scouts of America protects its brand and trademarks.

We wouldn’t let a company use our red, white and blue fleur-de-lis or the phrase “Prepared. For Life.” without permission.

In that same vein, we should respect the rights of others to protect their trademarks.

That’s why the BSA is asking for help from packs, troops and crews to stop using the phrase “Fun With a Purpose” and remove it from promotional materials and unit websites.

The phrase, often used with Cub Scout-related activities, is a registered trademark owned by the publishers of the popular Highlights children’s magazine.

Don’t worry. Your unit isn’t in trouble or getting sued; the BSA doesn’t expect any legal action from Highlights. In fact, the BSA and the Highlights publishing company are working cooperatively on this effort.

But there are a few simple steps you should take to respect the Highlights company’s protected trademarks. Here are six do’s and don’ts you should share with your fellow adult leaders:

Six Do’s and Don’ts

  1. DO delete all instances of the phrase from your council or unit website. This includes uses of the phrase in text as well as graphics.
  2. DO use a different phrase in the future. Find a different phrase to promote your activities from now on.
  3. DON’T simply use a similar phrase. You cannot use a similar phrase, like “Fun and Purpose” or “Fun Has a Purpose.” It needs to be distinctively different, not just a variation.
  4. DON’T worry about materials already printed or distributed. In order to avoid waste, you don’t need to destroy hard-copy materials already printed. And you don’t need to collect copies already distributed. Just use a different phrase going forward.
  5. DO notify the BSA if you’re contacted by Highlights. If Highlights contacts you directly, be courteous and respectful (in the spirit of the Scout Law). Then notify the BSA of any communication you receive. Call the Member Care team at 972-580-2489.
  6. DO find other marketing ideas from the BSA. You can’t use “Fun With a Purpose” anymore, but you can find tons of great marketing materials at the BSA’s Marketing Toolbox.

Reprinted from the Scouting Magazine blog – September 24, 2014

Monster Jamboree by Brandon Mull




Illustrations by Heath McKenzie & Kevin Hurley

Abandoned buildings sagged on either side of the dirt road as we rolled into Larill, Arizona, in the dead of night, our headlights flashing across broken windows and peeling paint. No other lights hinted at life in the area. Our troop of 14 Scouts and three leaders caravanned in two SUVs and an old minivan.

The three vehicles stopped in the town’s main square. Our leaders killed the engines, and we got out. When I slammed my door, the echo bounced four or five times. A warm breeze sighed across the desert, carrying dry dust and the smell of sage. Off in the parched wasteland beyond the town, a coyote gave a lonely howl. With my arm fully extended, my hand couldn’t quite cover the pale hugeness of the bright moon.

“Did you check the date?” I asked.

“Midnight is a weird hour for opening ceremonies,” I said.

Our Scoutmaster, a lanky man with a mustache, held up his clipboard and clicked on a flashlight. “The Monster Jamboree is scheduled to begin here tonight at midnight. We’re right on time. Maybe a minute or two early.”

“Midnight is a weird hour for opening ceremonies,” I said.

“I checked when I called,” our Scoutmaster insisted. “The tradition dates back many years.”

I shrugged. “I don’t see anyone.”

Our Scoutmaster huffed. “They promised this would be very well attended.”

A ragged cloud drifted across the moon, dimming the night. Some of the younger guys in the troop crowded together, eyes wide.

I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Chase Davis, senior patrol leader of Troop 6526 out of Highland, Utah. I’m a Life Scout just two badges and a project short of Eagle.

Last year, our Scoutmaster really wanted to take us to the national jamboree in West Virginia, but he couldn’t arrange it. While in a cemetery this past Memorial Day, he found a flyer for the Monster Jamboree held in Larill, just over six hours by car from our hometown.monster_jam_main_patch

Determined not to miss this one, we raised the funds, packed up our gear and hit the road. We would have arrived earlier in the day, but a stretch of Highway 89 was closed and we got lost trying to find an alternate route.

“This is a ghost town,” I said, shining my flashlight at a skinny possum on a windowsill.

Our Scoutmaster shook his head. “My map and GPS agree that this is the right …”

He was cut off by the gong of a church bell. It seemed as loud as a cannon, and we all jumped. The bell clanged a second time, and a third.

From shadowy alleys and derelict buildings, Scouts began to pour into the square. They marched in orderly lines. Some carried torches, using them to light bonfires.

“This is more like it,” our Scoutmaster said.

I instructed my fellow Scouts to form up into orderly ranks. As another troop positioned themselves beside us, I dug out some patches I had brought for trading. I had lots of Utah National Parks Council patches, but wasn’t sure if we were far enough from home for them to generate much interest.

I approached a Scout in the neighboring troop. He was pale with dark eyes. “Have any patches to trade?” I whispered.MonsterJambo2_FINAL_KO

“Maybe.” When I showed him one of my patches with Delicate Arch and a dinosaur, his expression brightened. “I’ve never seen that one!”

He accepted mine and gave me a patch from the Transylvanian Council. “Is this from Europe?” I asked.

“You sound surprised,” he said. “This is an international jamboree.”

Encouraged by the good trade and noticing many Scouts still coming to the square, I wandered over to another troop. They wore shabby uniforms and smelled like they desperately needed showers. A Scout with a crooked back limped over to me, eyes on my patches. One of his arms hung useless at his side. I tried not to stare.

“Trade?” he asked.

I showed him my patch. He sniffed it, then gave me one from the Necropolis Council. I hit a couple other nearby troops and got patches from the Bermuda Triangle Council, the Lost Mines Council and the Stonehenge Council. One of the troops wore weird shoes. In the bad lighting, their feet almost looked like hooves.

Monster Council Patches


The other troops had mostly found their positions by the time I returned to mine. Some of the troops on the far side of the square looked like they were wearing costumes under their uniforms. One whole troop was dressed as skeletons. Our Scoutmaster had never mentioned that possibility.

Afigure in a hooded robe shuffled to the center of the square. “Welcome to the 75th Annual Monster Jamboree,” said a slithery voice that reached my ears as if whispered from close by. “We have Monster Scouts from 19 countries in attendance tonight. Troop 23 from the Barbary Coast will serve as color guard, after which Troop 888 from beneath the sands of Cairo will lead us in the Scout Law.”

An orderly group of Scouts in perfect formation brought out a flag and raised it with dignity. Instead of the familiar stars and stripes, this flag depicted a skull and crossbones on a field of black.

“I thought the ‘Monster’ in ‘Monster Jamboree’ referred to the size of the event,” I murmured to our Scoutmaster.

“With or without a monster theme,” he muttered, “this seems disrespectful.”

Monster Scout Law
A Scout is Bloodthirsty, Tricky, Harmful, Deadly, Ominous, Fierce, Obscure, Vengeful, Sneaky, Grave, Mean and Irreverent.

A group of Scouts wrapped in bandages marched to the center of the square. One Scout stepped forward. “Please join us in the Scout Law.”

I started saying the familiar words, but stopped when I realized everyone else was reciting different ones. “A Scout is Bloodthirsty, Tricky, Harmful, Deadly, Ominous, Fierce, Obscure, Vengeful, Sneaky, Grave, Mean and Irreverent.” At the end, scattered voices added, “And Hungry!”

I knew something was wrong. The monster theme was going too far.

The kid who had given me the Transylvania patch stood nearby. I sidled over to him.

“Have you come to this before?” I asked.

“First time,” he replied. “But I’ve been a Monster Scout since I was little. I earned my Arrow of Darkness, and I’m on the path to Dragon.”

“Dragon? What rank are you?”

“I’m a Death Scout. I just need my Lifetaking merit badge and a few others. Seems like just yesterday I was a Tenderthroat.”

The scraggly cloud moved away from the moon. Several troops instantly morphed into wolf shapes. A winged flock of uniformed gargoyles landed not far away.

“You’re not Boy Scouts,” I groaned.

He grinned, revealing fangs. “Some of us were, before we got bitten.”

I backed away. Several voices started crying out, “Humans!”

“Time to go,” I told my troop. Breaking ranks, we raced toward our cars.

As the kid who had given me the Necropolis Council patch staggered toward me, his arm dropped off. “Gross!” I shouted.

“Brains,” he croaked.

With dozens of Monster Scouts trailing behind me, I was last into the minivan. We yanked the doors shut and locked them as bodies pounded against the windows, teeth bared. Our Scoutmaster floored it, and monsters dove out of the way. Dust sprayed behind us as we whooshed out of town.

Now you might think some of this sounds too crazy to be true. An alternate Scouting program full of werewolves, vampires, zombies, mummies and gargoyles might seem like a lot to swallow.

You could argue that we dreamed it. And I might have to agree, if I didn’t have some truly unusual patches in my collection!

Brandon_Mull_Mug_ShotAbout the author: Brandon Mull is an Eagle Scout and has authored many novels, including the FablehavenSpirit Animals andBeyonders series. His newest series is Five Kingdoms.

Lucky? Not Really.

Saw this comment today:

“He’s got a bunch of older Scouts who run his troop for him, he’s lucky!”

Lucky?  Not at all, that’s how Scouting works.

“He’s got a bunch of older Scouts…”

Yes, we have a bunch of older Scouts.  When I think “older” I think about any Scout over 13.  Younger Scouts are often just as capable - they just need someone to believe in them.

“… who run his troop for him …”

There’s a couple of problems with that.

First, it is “my” troop in the sense that I am technically a member of the troop, but: I am not a Scout, I don’t participate as a Scout, that’s not why I am there. (Besides Scouts are infinitely more important than me or any other Scouter.)

The troop consists of, and is owned by the Scouts; not the adults who are there to help.

Second this assumes it’s my responsibility to “run the troop”. This is a common misapprehension on the part of many of us Scouters. I am not responsible for “running” anything; I don’t run meetings, I don’t run camping trips, I don’t run the patrol leader’s council, I don’t run the advancement program, I don’t run the committee, I don’t run fundraisers, I don’t run anything.

The reason I am there, the most important thing I do, is providing the opportunity for Scouts to be Scouts and run their own troop.

“… he’s lucky!”

I didn’t “luck” into this, it’s a result of understanding my role and applying that understanding – that can be pretty hard work for some of us.

I will say that am fortunate to have the priceless opportunity to work with so many wonderful young people, fellow Scouters, and their families.

Truth be told there have been many times over thirty years of doing this that I felt distinctly unlucky! There have been many, many, problems and setbacks, large and small, along the way and I have been on the edge of giving up many times.

Every once in a while things go especially well, and then I feel lucky (after all, even a blind pig roots up a truffle every once in a while): but the rest of the time luck has nothing to do with being a Scouter.

If you aren’t focused on creating the opportunity for a bunch of Scouts (young or old) to run their troop you are missing out!

I’ve heard all of the reservations and objections a hundred times, and they are all just dead wrong. Scouts will amaze you with their abilities, the only thing you need to do is get out of their way!

The post Lucky? Not Really. appeared first on Scoutmastercg.com.

Troop 883’s September Biking Outing – Historian Report

On September 12, Troop 883 camped outside of the YMCA in Cumberland to sleep the first night of their outing there. Then, in the morning, it rained until 10 am, so the boys went inside to play soccer.

The Scouts started cycling in Cumberland (the 184.5 mile marker on the C&O Canal towpath) and started biking 28 miles to their next campsite. Eight of the miles were really muddy from the rain earlier, so it was a little slow going at first.  But then the sun came out and dried the rest of the mud.

About two miles later, they ate their lunch and set out to finish the last 18 miles.  Once the Scouts got their camp set up, they hung around talking until bedtime.

Then, after waking up and packing their gear, they cycled to the Paw Paw Tunnel, a mile-long tunnel cut straight through the  mountain on the edge of Allegany County in Maryland.

This was a cool trip and many of the boys loved it and would like to something like it again.

Submitted by Nathan T., Troop Historian

They May Not Have Bats in the Belfry…But SJCC Has Junk in the Attic!

Parents – Looking for something to do while your son is at Scouts?

Siblings and Scouts – Do you need service learning hours for school?

Scouts – Do you need service hours for rank advancement?

If any of these apply to you, SJCC needs your help next Monday (September 22) to move items out of the attic above the gym in preparation for the renovations that are about to begin.  We will be moving items from the attic to the gym floor so they can be sorted.

Ideally, we are looking for Scouts and Scout families to help starting at 6:00 PM.  Scouts will break for the weekly Scout meeting and the PLC meeting at 7:00 PM, and parents and siblings can work until 8:30 PM.

If you can help – either at 6 PM or for the duration of the Scout meeting (7 PM to 8:30 PM), please contact Les Simon at lsimon@simonsw.com.

This is a great way to thank SJCC for providing us with facilities to support the Scouting program.

Former Troop 883 Scout Creates Concussion Detection Device – Support Him on Kickstarter

Help make this amazing product a reality – Support Ben through Kickstarter
Click on logo to connect with Ben’s Kickstarter page

A former collegiate wrestler (and a former member of Troop 883) is looking to pin a dangerous opponent familiar to young athletes everywhere: concussions.

Benjamin Harvatine, founder and CEO of Jolt Sensor – a small clip-on attachment that can be fastened to a helmet, headband, goggles or headgear — came up with the idea for a head injury detection device after sustaining his own concussion while wrestling at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Aside from being hit in the head, I kept practicing even though I was dizzy,” Harvatine told FoxNews.com of his injury. “I had a longer recovery because I kept practicing.”

Harvatine is hardly the first athlete to continue activities after sustaining a concussion. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 173,285 traumatic brain injuries — including concussions — are treated in children and adolescents from birth to 19 years every year. The CDC reports that the numbers and rates of these injuries are highest among high school athletes partaking in football and girls’ soccer.

However, not every player demonstrates physical signs of a concussion, as damage can also occur on a microscopic, cellular level, Dr. Carolyn Brockington, director of the stroke center at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospitals, told FoxNews.com.

Looking to cut down on those injuries, Harvatine and his co-founder, Seth Berg, created the Jolt Sensor, which aims to track head impacts in real time, analyzing both large impacts and repetitive contact.

“Anything that can promote the prevention and or identification can be helpful,” Brockington, who has not been consulted on Jolt Sensor, said.

When the device recognizes a potentially dangerous trend it will vibrate on the athlete’s head, and also send an alert to a parent or coach’s phone.

The dangers of an athlete returning to the field before the brain recovers from a concussion are not just short-term worries.

“The brain doesn’t grow back,” Brockington said, cautioning that injuring the brain over and over again will limit its ability to pull itself back together. “If you see someone who has had a concussion and is subsequently altered, that’s someone who should not go in to play right away.”

While the Jolt Sensor doesn’t diagnose a concussion, it lists symptoms to check for and gives an objective count of the number and size of the impact an athlete has sustained, acting more as a precautionary tool.

“It’s another tool in the parent’s toolbox, aside from holding up fingers and asking the kids to count,” Harvatine told FoxNews.com.

However, Dr. Adam Bartsch, a mechanical engineer and researcher, cautions the accuracy and precision of any data-tracking device should be taken into consideration by parents and coaches.

“There are a lot of gadgets that are commercially available that purport to measure head impact, and then some of them transmit information to an app or a smartphone or even to a person on the sideline” Bartsch told FoxNews.com.

“However, it’s very challenging to measure a head impact accurately and precisely,” he said, adding that the placement of a device plays a large factor in the data’s accuracy. Attaching the device to an object bound to move like an athlete’s hair or helmet or padding will result in inaccurate data sent to the sidelines, Bartsch explained.

“Depending on how well the sensors are attached to the head could change the results by an order of magnitude,” Bartsch said.

Still, Brockington highlighted the importance of injury education and prevention.

“Prevention in medicine is better than dealing with something afterwards,” Brockington said of the technology. “Over time there will probably be other technology that will look at how we can stratify someone’s risk even more.”

Though the Jolt Sensor is not in full production, Harvatine said they are in contact with a number of youth teams around the Boston and St. Louis areas who are excited to begin trial runs.

The Jolt Sensor team is aiming to begin production in March 2015, and will be available for purchase for around $80. The device is fully waterproofed, has a multi-week battery life and features a USB port for charging.

Merit Badge Pamphlets and Leader Materials Now Available on Kindle


Imagine being able to look up rank or merit badge requirements on your phone or tablet wherever you are.

Or giving your Scouts access to merit badge pamphlets on devices from which they’re already inseparable.

That’s the promise of the Boy Scouts of America’s Amazon Kindle library, which debuted in April and has been adding titles at a fervid pace ever since.

I’ve got the full list of available titles below.

You can download, search and read selected merit badge pamphlets, leader materials and the BSA Fieldbook on Kindle devices or via the Kindle app on phones and tablets.

What are Kindle books?

Pretty much every phone and tablet, including iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows Phones and — duh — Kindles have a Kindle reader that lets you access your Kindle books.

In other words, you can read them even if you don’t own an actual Kindle.

The best part: If you buy a book once, you can view it on any of your devices. The apps will remember your bookmarks, highlights and where you stopped reading.

Say you bought the Fieldbook on your Kindle Fire but didn’t bring that device on your troop campout. The app lets you read it on your iPhone without buying the book again.

Why Kindle books?

National Supply Group Director Sam Bernstein says the BSA’s Amazon Library is just the start of the organization’s digital push.

“Digital media has changed the way kids learn, connect, socialize and play, and the BSA’s Kindle downloads are only the beginning of our digital initiative,” he says. “We’re committed to delivering the program in the format our members want and expect. E-pubs of merit badge pamphlets, leader materials and the Fieldbook give Scouts easy access to BSA resources wherever they are — training courses, committee meetings, boards of review, camping trips — the information will be right at your fingertips.”

The digital nature of electronic publications has another benefit, too.

“E-pubs also enable us to update material more frequently,” Bernstein says, “giving Scouts the most current and relevant resources when they need it.”

What’s available now?

All of the Eagle-required merit badges, with the exception of Citizenship in the World and Sustainability, are available now. Also available are two tech-heavy merit badges: Robotics and Digital Technology. How appropriate.

Leaders will be pleased with a selection of materials for them. No more lugging around heavy books. Just download and go.

More is coming soon. The BSA is continually adding new titles to its Amazon library and is expanding into other digital formats. If you love technology like I do, it’s an exciting time to be a Scouter.

Here are the books available right now on Amazon. The links take you to the title’s page on the Amazon store.

Merit Badge Pamphlets (each $4.99)

Leader materials

Other must-have Scouting materials

About digital updates (NEW)

Several of you asked about digital updates, and I asked the BSA’s Supply Group. Their response:

We hear you, that’s why we’re being selective in the titles that we do offer digitally so there are no impending updates. At this time, revisions would require the purchase of the updated data. We’re looking at ways to offer updated versions for free or at a reduced cost, and will keep working toward that goal for the future.