Thursday, January 8, 2015

OA - Frequently Asked Questions

The Order of the Arrow is Scouting honor society.  It is a youth run society that promotes camping and scouting's values of cheerful and service.  To join the OA a youth must be a registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout and must have at least earned the rank of First Class and have had at least 15 days and nights of camping in the last 2 years including a week long camp.  Then he needs to be elected by members of his troop by majority vote.  Ideal candidates are scouts who are examples of the Scout Oath and Law and who are cheerful even when given difficult tasks or in difficult circumstances.  Once elected the candidate must attend an overnight campout called an Ordeal.  There will be 3 Ordeals this spring: March, April, and May.  We would like to come to your unit starting in February to do elections so that your youth can participate in the OA.  As you plan your activities for 2015, plan a time for the OA to come to your activity night.  It takes about half an hour to do an election.  

Some Frequently Asked Questions...

Will it take my scout away from my troop/team/crew?  A scouts first duty is to his Troop or Team or Crew.  If there is a conflict between an OA activity and a troop activity, the Arrowman should attend the troop activity.

If one of my scout joins the OA how much time will it take?  Depends how much you want to get out of it.  The chapter meets once a  month-the second Thursday of the month.  The lodge also meets once a month on the 4th Thursday.  In addition there are several camps throughout the year you can attend.  A youth can just attend the chapter activities or both chapter and lodge activities.  If an Arrowman wants to be more involved he can be part of the leadership that runs the chapter or lodge activities.

How much will it cost?  Dues are $10 per year.  The Ordeal costs $35, of which $15 pays for the sash, $10 is for the first years dues and the rest covers the cost of the camp(food and other expenses).  However don't let a youth miss out on being a member of the OA because of the cost.  If this is a burden for a young man there are opportunities to work to earn the money and there is some donated funds available to help cover the cost. 

More information at www.elkutalodge.com.
Contact me at m-skirkham@msn.com

Yours in Brotherhood,
Mark Kirkham   

Late Summer of 1985

It was the late summer of 1985, just a year after the Varsity Scouting program was officially adopted by the BSA and 12 years after the first "On Target" signal that later became one of the principle annual activities of the Varsity Scouts.  A ragtag gang of only semi-disciplined boys laboriously climbed the mountain that cast an eastern shadow down upon their small neighborhood far below.  At precisely 10:00 am the following morning they were to stand atop the peak and assemble the mirrors they were packing to help relay the signal - a beam of sunlight - in their first ever On Target event.  In the groggy pre-dawn of the signal morning an argument ensued about who would carry the mirrors the final 1/2 mile to the top.  Unfortunately the argument escalated in a scuffled series of events that resulted in the mirrors being broken.  With spirits as shattered as the mirrors, the boys nonetheless followed their leaders to the top of the peak.  They wondered if their inability to relay the signal would break the communication line.  At 10:00 am they saw the mirror flash from another Varsity Team from a neighboring peak 20 miles to the North.  Then they looked to the South...to the peak they were supposed to signal.  After several tense minutes they saw a flash there.  The sunlight signal had been successfully relayed and the communication had not been interrupted.  The boys' wise Varsity Coaches sat them down and taught them a poignant lesson: The boys' careless behavior had not stopped or hindered the On Target signaling event itself, for the signal had been passed along. What the boys' actions had done was to rob them of the opportunity to fully participate in it.

With today's modern technical advances we have unprecedented tools for communicating the "good news" of the Scouting Program and it's inherent values.  Social media is a powerful way to invite others to participate in Scouting and to positively touch other's lives.  Each of the challenges for the Venture Scouts will feature an invitation to more fully participate in Scouting by sharing Venture activities through social media to encourage involvement to others. If you haven't already, we encourage you to leverage Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media tools in a wise and thoughtful manner to teach and invite others...and to pass the signal along.

Nothing More Than Nothing

The story is told of a sparrow and a dove perched on a branch in the winter. “Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” the sparrow asked the dove.
“Nothing more than nothing,” the dove answered.
“In that case I must tell you a marvelous story,” the sparrow said.

“I sat on a fir branch close to the trunk when it began to snow. Not heavily, not in a raging blizzard. No, just like in a dream, without any violence at all.

“Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,471,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch — nothing more than nothing, as you say — the branch broke off.”
Having said that, the sparrow flew away.

The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on peace, thought about the story for a while. Finally, she said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come to the world.”

Like snowflakes accumulating on that branch, your life does not change, your greatness is not unleashed by monumental actions, but by small, daily habits.

Here are four specific habits whose value will accumulate in your life like “nothing more than nothing” until, after years of steady discipline, will break your limitations and emerge as greatness:

1. Read Reading the best books immerses you in the thoughts of the best thinkers, saturates you with the courage of the greatest souls.
Whatever you put into your mind emerges as behavior. You can’t read C.S. Lewis without grasping for heaven. You can’t read Viktor Frankl and not exercise your power to choose more wisely. You can’t read Rabbi Daniel Lapin without changing how you think about and spend money.
Every great book read is a snowflake falling on the ceiling of your limitations. Read one per week for five years and watch that ceiling crack.

2. Meditate
You are not your body; you have a body. You are not your mind; you have a mind. You are the “I Am” that observes the thoughts in your mind.
Your mind is a fabulous servant but a horrible master. It tends toward negative thinking and is plagued by fear, doubt, and worry. It holds you captive to your emotions.
To access your greatness you must transcend the negative-thinking mind. Meditation is the single most powerful tool for doing so.
Sit still in a quiet solitude and meditate for just ten minutes a day and watch the snowflakes fall…

3. Change Your Morning Routine
Leadership expert John Maxwell said,
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
The most important thing you can change in this regard is your morning routine.
Make it a habit to get up an hour or even a half hour earlier than usual. Start your day with a prayer of thanksgiving. Meditate. Read. Exercise.
Do that every day for three years and you’ll feel branches of limitations snapping in your life.

4. Follow Spiritual Promptings
Call them whatever you’d like. Hunches. Intuitions. Sparks of inspiration. Whispers of conscience.
You feel them. Do you follow them?
You once had the thought to write a book. Have you written it yet? Something told you to stop when you saw that car on the side of the road with its flashers on. Did you stop?
The more quickly, courageously, and zealously you follow those promptings, the more of them you receive. The more you receive and follow, the faster your acceleration to greatness. Conversely, the less you follow these, the less you receive, the more you stay stuck.

Like the weight of one snowflake, the impact of any action taken one time is “nothing more than nothing.” But the impact of wise, daily actions cultivated into habits and lived for years is enough to break your limitations and change everything.

Cub Corner - January 2015

For those who don’t know, there are changes coming to the Cub Scout program. Beginning in June 2015, all cubs will begin using a new program designed to bring out the adventures in scouting. This month, I want to begin highlighting some of the new and exciting things coming to the Cub Scout program. The first big change is that the Cub Promise and Law of the Pack will be retired. Cub Scouts will be using the Scout Oath and Scout Law that are currently used in Boy Scouts.

Now, why would National do that? Aren’t those harder to learn? BSA addressed these concerns, saying that in studies, the scout oath and law are actually easier than the Law of the Pack to remember because of the language. This will also provide unity for scouts of all ages as we will all use the same oath and law. Additionally, the earlier and longer a member is exposed to the values of the Scout Oath and Law, the better the opportunity is that they will be able to live those values in their lives.

So, here’s a summary of the change:

Being retired from Cub Scouting on June 1, 2015
  • Cub Scout Promise
    • I promise to do my best
      To do my duty to God and my country,
      To help other people, and
      To obey the Law of the Pack.
  • Law of the Pack
    • The Cub Scout follows Akela.
      The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
      The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
      The Cub Scout gives goodwill.
Staying in Cub Scouting (not changing)
  • Cub Scout motto
    • Do Your Best
  • Cub Scout sign
    • Two separated fingers held up high (like a peace sign)
  • Cub Scout salute
    • Two fingers together held above the brow
  • Cub Scout handshake
    • Handshake with two fingers extended
New to Cub Scouting on June 1, 2015
  • Scout Oath
    On my honor I will do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country
    and to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times;
    To keep myself physically strong,
    mentally awake, and morally straight.
  • Scout Law
    A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. 
I plan to highlight parts of the changes each month in my Cub Corner. This is going to be a fun new adventure for all of us. Let’s get on board!

Upcoming Events
·       1/8/2015 – BLUE & GOLD Roundtable @ 13768 S 6400 W (Dinner Provided)
·       1/19/15 – Cub Winter Day Camp @Camp Tracy
·       1/20/15 – Council Cub Country Preview Meeting at Camp Tracy Lodge
·       1/24/15 – Cub Scout Basic Training @12242 S 2700 W
·       2/1/15 – Cub Camp registration opens
·       2/12/15 – Roundtable @13768 S 6400 W
·       2/16/15 – Cub Winter Day Camp @Camp Tracy
·       3/12/15 – Roundtable @13768 S 6400 W
·       3/14/15 – Utah Scout Expo ticket sales kickoff
·       Sign up for email reminders and information. http://eepurl.com/wCQUX Description: http://eepurl.com/wCQUX.qr.2

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Silent Night

It was December 23, 1818, in the small town of Oberndorf, in the Austrian Alps near Salzburg. That the organ in the small Church of St. Nicholas' wasn't working and would not be repaired before Christmas. (Note: some versions of the story point to mice as the problem; others say rust was the culprit) Because the church organ was out of commission, the assistant pastor Josef Mohr wondered what they could do for the Christmas Eve Service. 
He pondered about the problem that night as he trudged through the forest to visit a woodchopper’s wife who had just had a baby. It was late when he arrived at this humble home & in the light of the fire he saw the young mother with her new born babe. This reminded him of Mary and her Baby who was born in a stable in Bethlehem. On the way home he saw from the hilltop, the peaceful silent snow-covered town. It was so beautiful in the majestic star light of that wintry night. He pondered on the scripture found in.

Luke 2:8-11
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Words of a poem began to form in Joseph Mohr’s mind: “Silent night, holy night
He decided that these words might make a good carol for the Christmas Eve service just hours away. Even after he arrived home, the words continued to flow. It was almost daybreak when he finished writing them down.
The problem was that he didn't have any music to go with these graceful words. So, after he awoke, Mohr went to see his best friend Franz Gruber, who taught school and played the church organ. Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with a guitar. However, by that evening, Gruber had composed the holy music that would complement the poem. They now had a Christmas carol that could be sung without the organ.
On Christmas Eve, the little Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing their new composition accompanied by the guitar.


Weeks later, well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived in Oberndorf to fix the organ in the old church. When Mauracher finished, he stepped back to let Gruber test the instrument. When Gruber sat down, his fingers began playing the simple melody he had written for Mohr's Christmas poem. Deeply impressed, Mauracher took copies of the music and words of "Silent Night" back to his home in the Alpine village, Kapfing. There, two well-known families of singers — the Rainers and the Strassers — heard it. Captivated by "Silent Night," both groups put the new song into their Christmas season repertoire.

The Strasser sisters spread the carol across northern Europe. In 1834, they performed "Silent Night" for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, and he then ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas Eve.

Twenty years after "Silent Night" was written, the Rainers brought the song to the United States, singing it (in German) at the Alexander Hamilton Monument located outside New York City's Trinity Church.


In 1863, nearly fifty years after being first sung in German, "Silent Night" was translated into English (by either Jane Campbell or John Young). Today the words of "Silent Night" are sung in more than 300 different languages around the world and is perhaps the most well-known Christmas song.


Stille Nacht (GERMAN) 
1. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! Alles schläft; einsam wacht Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knab' im lockigen Haar, Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh! 

2. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'. Jesus in deiner Geburt!

3. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! Die der Welt Heil gebracht, Aus des Himmels goldenen Höhn,
Uns der Gnaden Fülle läßt sehn, Jesum in Menschengestalt! 

4. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! Wo sich heut alle Macht Väterlicher Liebe ergoß,
Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß. Jesus die Völker der Welt!

5. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! Lange schon uns bedacht, Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit
In der Väter urgrauer Zeit, Aller Welt Schonung verhieß! 

6. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! Hirten erst kundgemacht  Durch der Engel Alleluja,
Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah. "Jesus der Retter ist da!

Growing a Troop

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.  For over a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes — and, through over a century of experience, knows — that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.  The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

We desire all young men to participate in Scouting and to receive the benefits associated with this great organization.  In a recent basic training for Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters, there were several questions about how to run the patrol method in smaller troops.  That discussion naturally led to recruiting.  While many of our Scout troops are geographically limited, there are usually several boys who are not participating in Scouts.  Maybe they aren't members of the local Church sponsoring the troop, or haven't been involved previously through Cub Scouts.  These young men are often an untapped resource and would benefit from all that Scouting offers. 

The best way to identify these young men is to ask your patrol leaders' council to help you identify those who live in the area who aren't coming to Scouts.  You may be surprised who they know from school, from playing in the neighborhood, or from participation on sports teams.  Once potential recruits are identified, there are several approaches to inviting them to participate.  Adult leaders can go and visit with the young man and his parents, discuss the local troop's upcoming events, and invite participation.  Another approach is to have members of the patrol leaders' council invite the young man to start attending troop meetings and campouts.  This is often more effective and can be followed up by adult leaders visiting with the parents.  Either way, don't hesitate to reach out and continue to reach out to all boys in your area.  This will help your troop grow in numbers as well as leadership experience.  And may provide an opportunity to a boy that will change his life.

Cub Corner December 2014

For those who don’t know, there are changes coming to the Cub Scout program. Beginning in June 2015, all cubs will begin using a new program designed to bring out the adventures in scouting. This month, I want to highlight the things that are staying the same. Let’s start with the familiar and then we can move from there.

First, we are keeping the same uniforms. Boys will still wear blue shirts, Webelos can still wear either blue or khaki, and leaders will wear khaki. Ladies, if you prefer the yellow shirt, you can still wear the yellow shirt. Pants, belts, hats, neckerchiefs, etc. will all still be around. I think we can all be grateful that we don’t need to go spend a bunch of money on a new uniform.

Second, we are keeping the same ranks. There will still be a Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light rank. The requirements are changing, but we’ll get into that another time.

Third, cubs will still use the Cub Scout salute, the Cub Handshake, the Cub Scout Sign, and the Cub Scout Motto. We are still trying to “Do Your Best” in everything we do in Cubs.
Fourth, ages and den/pack structure will stay the same.
Lastly, the FUN will still be there.

See, the program isn’t completely different. We have our comfort zone. Next month, I’ll dive into some of the new things.
I plan to highlight parts of the changes each month in my Cub Corner. This is going to be a fun new adventure for all of us. Let’s get on board!

Upcoming Events
  • 12/11/14 - Cookie Exchange Roundtable @ 12242 S 2700 W
  • 1/8/2015 - BLUE & GOLD Roundtable @ 13768 S 6400 W (Dinner Provided)
  • 1/20/15 - Council Cub Country Preview Meeting at Camp Tracy Lodge
  • 2/1/15 - Cub Camp registration opens
  • 2/12/15 - Roundtable @13768 S 6400 W
  • 3/12/15 - Roundtable @13768 S 6400 W
  • 3/14/15 - Utah Scout Expo ticket sales kickoff