Posts Tagged ‘award’


alexeagleOn Sunday, May 4th, there was a court of honor held for Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68′s newest Eagle Scout. Alex is the 22nd Scout to attain this honor since I began serving as an adult leader of troop in 1980.As far as I know, there was only one Eagle Scout in Melrose before 1980, thus Alex would be the troop’s 23rd Eagle Scout, historically.

Twenty Boy Scouts earned the rank of Eagle Scout while I was the scoutmaster of Troop 68. The last two, Thomas and Alex, were Boy Scouts during my last years in that role. It is great to see them continue the advancement trail and received Scouting’s highest higher. In another two or three years I hope to see the first Eagle Scouts of Troop 68 who joined Scouting after I retired as the scoutmaster. That will fell a little different but no less important.

Alex asked me to serve as the master of ceremonies for his court of honor. This was the first time I have ever served in the role for such an event. As the scoutmaster I would usually get a chance to speak about the Eagle Scout and his accomplishments during the ceremony. I presented the Eagle Scout rank at several of them or was asked to serve in some other role, but I was never a master of ceremonies. And you know something, that was fine with me.

This court of honor was going to be a slightly different experience, but I was looking forward to it. One of the duties, of course, was to introduce the guest speakers and presenters. There was also a spot on the program for me to talk about Alex and his Scouting accomplishments, so that part of things has not changed.

As I have for the last twelve Eagle Scouts, I presented a video featuring pictures of the Eagle Scout’s years in the troop along with some family pictures. Alex picked out the music himself, and brought along a few pictures he wanted to include in the video. I also snuck in one or two that he did not know about until he saw the video during the court of honor. This video will be posted to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast later this year.

I also video recorded the ceremony. I will edit it and burn it to dvd as I have for nearly all of the Troop 68 Eagle Scouts. The dvd is a great way to remember this important moment in the Scout’s life. His parents will also receive a copy.

Alex’s Eagle Scout court of honor went very well. A lot of people were in attendance. There were good guest speakers, and four previous Troop 68 Eagle Scouts attended and took part in the ceremony. I think the younger Scouts were quite impressed with the whole ceremony, as were many of the family members and guests. I had a good time being the MC, and I was told a did a good job. I do believe I talked to much at one point but you know, I could have talked for much longer. Alex is a good Eagle Scout. There is always a lot to say about good Eagle Scouts.

The monthly roundtable is a meeting for Scout leaders to learn new skills, receive information, and have fun with friends. Sometimes special presentations are made. During this month’s Scenic district roundtable the district executive took a moment to recognize a Boy Scout leader. This leader is about to step down at the end of the year after 30 years of being a scoutmaster for Troop 68 in Melrose. The video was recorded on an iPod by one of the Scouters in attendance.

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The First Aid Skill Award was required for the Second Class Rank back in the 1970′s through the 1980′s, which meant that most Boy Scouts earned this belt loop. It covered basic first aid skills. Many of these requirements ended up somewhere in the new rank requirements of 1989. The First Aid Skill Award requirements were:

1) a. Explain what first aid is. Tell how to act in case of an accident.
b. The dangers of moving a badly injured person.
c. Tell the best way to get medical help quickly. Show that you keep the names, addresses, and phone numbers for mediacl help were you can find them quickly.

2) a. Show how to treat shock.
b. Show what to do for “hurry cases” of serious bleeding, stopped breathing, interna; poisoning, heart attack.

3) Show first aid for the following cases: burns and scalds, blisters on feet, bites or stings of insects, chiggers, ticks,  bites of snakes and mammals, skin poisoning, sprained ankle, object in eye, nosebleed.

4) Explain first aid for puncture wounds from splinter, nails, or fishhook.

5) Use a bandage to hold a dressing in place on the head, hand, knee, and foot.

6) Make an arm sling.

7) Tell the five most common signs of a heart attack. Tell what action you should take.

By the way, depending on when you earned the skill award, you may have gotten a belt loop with a red cross or a green cross.

Before there was a Family Life merit badge there was the Family Living Skill Award. This skill award was not required for any of the ranks but could be used as an optional for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class in the 1970′s through the 1980′s. Here are the requirements.

1) Tell what is meant by family, duty to family, and family council.

2) a. Make a chart listing the jobs you and family members have at home.
b. Talk with your family about other jobs you may take on for the next two months.

3) Show that you can look after yourself your family, and home. Do four of these:
a. Inspect your home and grounds. List any danger or lack of security seen. Tell how you corrected one.
b. Explain why garbage and trash must be disposed of properly.
c. Look after younger children for three hours. Use good health and safety practices.
d. List some things for which your family spends money. Tell how you can help your family in money matters.
e. Tell about what your family does for fun. Make a list of fun things your family might do at little cost. Do one of these with a member of your family.
f. Carry out a family energy saving fun.

4) Explain how you can get help quickly for these problems: medical, police, fire, utility, housing, serious family problem. Post a list of these directions in your home.

I find it interesting that even back in 1972, the year the skill awards where introduced to the Boy Scout advancement program, that energy conservation was a part of the program. Requirement number 4 would be pretty easy now. Just call 911 for most of those problems listed.

Only four skill awards are left First Aid, Hiking, Physical Fitness, and Swimming). Are you enjoying this review of the belt loops, or would you rather I move on to other things?

Merit BadgesDuring the last seven months we have seen three new merit badges introduced to the Boy Scout merit badge program (Scuba Diving, Geocaching, and Scouting Heritage). We have also seen the return of four merit badges for this year only (Signaling, Tracking, Pathfinding, and Carpentry). But did you know that the BSA is not done yet? Two more merit badges should be introduced this year, the Inventing and the Robotics merit badges. Yes, that is right, two merit badges for the tech savvy Boy Scout.

According to the Lake Huron Area Council’s Website:

These badges are being introduced because they received positive feedback in a youth interest survey.  If five new merit badges seems like a lot, it is. By comparison, the BSA introduced just six new merit badges between 1992 (Collections) and 2006 (Composite Materials).  But the new badges aren’t the only innovation. In the past it took three years to create a merit badge. Now, that time has been cut to just less than a year, helping to keep the badge topics and content fresher than ever.

Sounds the like BSA has stepped up their game a bit, don’t you agree? What do you think about all these new merit badges in such a short time period?

The Environmental Skill AwardAfter six skill awards that began with the letter C (which is half of them, by the way) we arrive at the Environment Skill Award. Some of these requirements made it to the new rank requirements in the late 1980′s. Some of them almost seemed like they were preparing the Boy Scout for some of the environmental themed merit badges. Here are the requirements:

1) a. Tell what is meant by environment.
b. Describe how plant life, animal life, and environment relate to each other.
c. Explain the oxygen cycle.
d. Explain the water cycle.

2) Tell how sun, air, water, soil, minerals, plants, and animals produce food used by man.

3) a. Make a three hour exploration of a forest, field, park, wetland, lake shore, ocean shore, or desert. Make a list of plant and animal life you recognize.
b. In the outdoors, spot and name ten wild animals by site or sign (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, mollusks).
c. In the outdoors, spot and name ten wild plants.
d. Know how to identify poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

4) Do one:
a. Study a plot of ground, ten square feet. Report on the plants and animals you find.
b. Make a closed terrarium that includes animals, OR make an aquarium that includes both plants and animals.
c. Keep a daily weather record for at least two weeks. Tell how weather affects the environment.

5) Display at least six newspaper or magazine clippings on environment problems.

I can not help but think how easy it would be to compete that last requirement with all the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico at the moment, and all the talk about global warming.

Learning to cook is an important part of the Boy Scout program. After all, a hot meal on a cool damp camping weekend helps to brighten the day. Besides, I do not know many teenage boys who do not like to eat. Learning to prepare the food is a skill that will serve a Scout well as he grows older and leaves home and his mother’s home cooked meals. Boy Scouting can help him learn how to cook more than a frozen pizza or canned soup.

The Cooking Skill Award was a popular belt loop for Boy Scouts to earn during the 1970′s through the 1980′s. I am sure that part of that popularity was due to the fact that the skill award was required to earn the First Class Rank. The award not only taught a boy how to cook, but also fire building skills and safety skills using tools like pocket knives, axes, and saws. The requirements for the Cooking Sill Award were:

1) Show you know how to buy food by doing the following:
a. Plan a balanced menu for three meals – breakfast, lunch, and supper.
b. Make a food list based on your plan for a patrol of eight Scouts.
c. Visit a grocery store and price your food list.
d. Figure out what the cost for each Scout would be.

2) Sharpen a knife and an ax properly and gives rules for their safe use.

3) Use a knife, ax, and saw correctly to prepare tinder, kindling, and firewood.

4) a. Locate and prepare a suitable fire site.
b. Build and light a cooking fire using not more than two matches.

5) a. In the outdoors, cook, without utensils, a simple meal. Use raw meat (or fish or poultry) and at least one raw vegetable, and bread (twist or ashbread).
b. In the outdoors, prepare, from raw, dried, or dehydrated food, for yourself and two others: (1) A complete breakfast of fruit, hot cooked cereal, hot beverage, and meat and eggs (or pancakes), and (2) A complete dinner or supper of meat (or fish or poultry), at least one vegetable, dessert, and bread (biscuit or bannock).

6) After each cooking, properly dispose of garbage, clean utensils, and leave a clean cooking area.

Does conservation come to mind when you think about Boy Scouting? It probably does to most people. Conservation has been a part of the Boy Scout program since its beginning in 1910, one hundred years ago. What we think about conservation has changed somewhat as a society and Scouting has been right there to lead the way among our youth.

The Conservation Skill Award of the 1970-1980′s was a great example of the Boy Scouting program teaching these principles. Unfortunately, many of these requirements were not kept in the newer rank program. The requirements for this skill award were:

1) Show by what you do that you follow the Outdoor Code when you are in the outdoors.

2) a. Explain the main causes and effects of water pollution. Tell how we can have clean water.
b. Explain the main causes and effects of air pollution. Tell how we can have clean air.

3) a. Make a list of present major sources of energy and the major alternate sources.
b. Make a list of ten ways in which you and your family can save energy.

4) a. Take a walk around where you live for two hours and make two lists related to conservation. List things that please you. List things that you feel should be improved.
b. Plan and carry out your own conservation project. Get it approved by your patrol leader before you start.

5) Take part in one or more of these projects with you patrol or another Scout:
a. Clean up a roadside, picnic ground, vacant lot, stream, lake shore, or ocean beach.
b. Work on erosion control of a stream bank, gully, or trail.
c. Plant trees, do forest improvement, or insect control.
d. Improve backyard or other wildlife habitat.
e. Help with energy conservation.

This was a great skill for teaching conservation. It would have been nice to see more of it kept when the advancement program changed.