Friday, August 15, 2014

Venturing Update August 2014

Welcome back to the Venture’s Forum at Round Table after what should have been an exciting summer!  We look forward to hearing about some of the High Adventure Activities and achievements that your crews have accomplished.  You've all worked hard to create memorable character-building experiences for your boys.  Before those memories fade, take time with your crew to collect and assemble the photos, videos, and stories of your activities.  Make a crew photo album, journal, video, or scrapbook that everyone will be able to take with them on their journey through life and upon which they’ll be able to look back with fondness.  My own scout leader always reserved a small portion of the budget to make extra prints of photos that he took on each of our high adventure trips which we as boys placed into albums.  Today those albums are some of my most cherished possessions; they are the preserved memories of the events that shaped who I am today. Give your boys that same gift! As they face the challenges of adulthood they’ll have something that enables them to look back and remember those enriching experiences which should help to solidify the foundations of their testimonies.  

Varsity Update August 2014

We hope you all had a great summer with your Teams. And we hope that you were able to attend the Big Event. So our next big Adventure is going to be the Ultimate Varsity Challenge. If you haven't heard what this or when it is, you need to come to Huddle Night. Just MARK on your calendars for Oct. 11th.
Keep up the Good Work

Your Varsity Huddle Staff

Boy Scouts Update August 2014

August is a great month to focus on advancement.  Many boys earned multiple merit badges at summer camp and may now qualify for rank advancements.  Schedule Scoutmaster conferences and boards of review, followed by a Court of Honor.  Help your boys keep the fire burning by rewarding their hard work.

August is also a fantastic time to begin planning for next year.  The steps you take to prepare and plan now will result in a successful program next year.  Come to Roundtable to learn how to conduct the annual program planning conference and how to prepare an annual calendar.  If you can't make it, check the Boy Scout section of the Western Skies District 18 web site for information on this and many other topics.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Commissioner Corner: ATTITUDE

A scout gives his best no matter what the situation. Sometime it’s not hardtop do our best, but other times it seems as if everything is working against us. Some of us have personal difficulties or challenges, yet the goal is to still the same, to always do our best. The story of Michael J. Dowling illustrates that people can present their best even when the challenges seem overwhelming.

     Michael J. Dowling was a young man of 14 when he fell off of the back of a wagon during a blizzard. By the time his parent found him, he was severely frostbitten. His right leg was amputated almost to the hip; his left leg above the knee; his right arm was amputated as was his left hand. It seems like Michael Dowling wouldn’t have much of a future, but he was determined to get an education and be successful. He went to the board of county commissioners and told them that if they would educate him, he would pay back every penny. They agreed, and he received his education, then repaid the debt. He worked hard in his career and eventually became president of one of the largest banks in the city. Michael Dowling also married and had five children.

      During World War I, Michael Dowling traveled to Europe to visit wounded American Soldiers. On one occasion, he stayed in a large London hotel and gave a speech to some injured servicemen. As he stood on a balcony overlooking several hundred soldiers sitting in their wheelchairs, he started to tell them how fortunate they were. The fact that one had lost an eye, and another had lost an arm were no grounds for complaints. He continued talking this way, and within a few minutes the soldiers became angry and started to boo him. He then walked over to the stairway and started down the stairs toward the lobby. Michael Dowling continued telling them how fortunate they were, and they continued to boo him. Partway down the stairs, he sat down and removed his artificial right leg. At this point the soldiers calmed down a little but they still resented his remarks. Michael Dowling then took off his artificial left leg, and the hall quieted immediately. Next, he took off his right arm, and finally removed his left hand. The soldiers then understood how fortunate they were.

We have little control over the gifts life gives us. We have even less control over the challenges we each must face. However, we have complete control over our ATTITUDE and how we decide to handle the hardships we must endure.

      Remember the promise in St. Matthew the Lord gave us in Chapter 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. When we do all that we can and turn to the Lord for help, he will lighten our load. Reminder Scouting will help our young men become the leaders for tomorrow.

The OA and Your Golden Fleece

Jason, the hero of Ancient Greece, sought a very valuable prize - the Golden Fleece.  In order to obtain the prize he had to overcome many challenging obstacles including a dragon that didn't sleep.  There are many valuable prizes that are awarded in the scouting organization that come only after overcoming challenging obstacles such as the Eagle Scout award and becoming a member of the Order of the Arrow.  To be a member of the OA, a scout must be chosen by his troop then he must attend an Ordeal.  The Ordeal, a challenging 24 hours spent in service and quiet contemplation.  Many boys did Ordeals at scout camp over the summer and they received the valuable prize of a white sash with a red arrow.  If you know a scout who earned this please take a moment to congratulate him.  Many other boys were elected by their troops to join the OA but haven't attended an Ordeal.  There will be two opportunities to attend Ordeals this fall, one in September and one in October.  If you have a boy who needs to attend an Ordeal have him go to the lodge website at for more information.  

So your scout has earned the prize of a nice shining sash now what?   The OA monthly activity is on the same night as roundtable and at the same location.  Invite the members of your unit who are arrowmen to come with you to roundtable so they can attend their chapter activity.  Also, make one of the arrowmen in your troop a Troop OA Representative.  This is a leadership position in scouting that counts towards rank advancement.  This person's responsibilities include attending the monthly chapter activities and keeping his fellow arrowmen informed of upcoming OA activities and to encourage attendance at these activities.

If you'd like the boys of your troop to have the opportunity to be elected to the OA please contact me to set up an appointment.

The OA sash is a valuable prize.  But hopefully by being a member of the Order of the Arrow they will earn the bigger prize of learning the life changing habit of being cheerful in service.  

Yours in brotherhood,
Mark Kirkham
OA Chapter Advisor

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Boy Scout Update May 2014

Spring is here and hopefully you are all getting outdoors with your troops.  Preparations should be well underway for summer camp as well.

The BSA National Outdoor Challenge (required to earn the Scoutmaster's Key Award), involves outdoor activities on an annual basis, including conducting 10 outdoor trips or activities (think campouts and hikes), attending long-term resident camp (think Bear Lake Aquatics Base, Steiner, or Hinckley Scout Ranch), conducting an outing with a Webelos den, earning at least one outdoors merit badge per Scout, and conducting a Leave No Trace Program.  Please consider tackling the National Outdoor Challenge this year.  It's never too late to get outdoors more!

This month at Roundtable we'll cover Mechanics (and how to build mousetrap catapults), Hiking, and requirements for the Scoutmaster's Key Award and BSA National Outdoor Challenge.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Annual Health & Medical Form: New or Old for 2014

There have been a lot of questions that have surfaced lately from scout leaders in our district regarding the new Annual Health Medical Record Form. The main questions that continue to come up include, "When is the new form required?" "Can I use the old form this year for our Summer Camp?" 

The BSA has provided information regarding this topic on An excerpt from "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Annual Health Medical Record" states the following:

Q. Can I use last year's Annual Health and Medical Record with a physical conducted in August 2013 for a summer camp in June 2014?A. Yes, because 2014 will be a transition year. An Annual Health and Medical Record that contains a valid physical exam can be used to meet your council's resident camp standards in 2014. It is suggested that those individuals who do not have a current pre-participation exam use the latest version now. The old versions will be obsolete as of April 2015. 

For additional questions and answers regarding this form please visit the link below.