From the Scout Executive

by Ralph Voelker
Authors note:  I originally wrote this story a few years ago. Today I had to make some changes. I was excited to do so. I look forward to attending the Court of Honor for a young lady and have to change it again.

I am an Eagle Scout. When you say the words out loud, they just have a magical ring to how they sound as they roll around your mouth and project into the world…Eagle Scout. I am an Eagle Scout today, will be one next week and will still be one two decades from now.
I earned this award in 1977 and I have to admit that it is getting hard to remember a time when I wasn’t an Eagle Scout.

There are many awards that are worthy and show a youth recipient has done a great deal to achieve them. But it is difficult to compare any of these awards to the public recognition of what it means to be an Eagle Scout.

When I was serving as the Scout Executive of a small council in California, we had the honor of one of our council’s Eagle Scouts returning to speak at our Eagle recognition dinner. He had grown up on Camp Staff, gotten a law degree, started a career as a judge and finally became a judge on the 9th circuit court of appeals.

He told the story of being nominated by the President for the 9th circuit and needing a confirmation from the US Senate, but because the opposing party to the president held power in the Senate, he couldn’t get a vote. Finally, he got a meeting with the chair of the judiciary committee. When he got to the gentleman’s office, they stood at a fireplace that was covered with photos of the Chairman’s Scouting experience.
“I understand that you are an Eagle Scout.”

And with those words they began a conversation. They had never met before that day and yet they had a common bond of experience. They knew what each had done to earn the award and talked about their experience as young Scouts.

Politics were never discussed, and it was only week later the judge received a unanimous vote of the full senate.

You just never know when you say those magical words, “I am an Eagle Scout”, and a door opens.
When I was a young District Executive, I went on a vacation with two other professional staff members. We went to hike the Grand Canyon. All three Eagle Scouts.  As we were getting our packs ready at the top of the canyon, it was amazing how similar our Scoutmasters had prepared us for this moment. Each of us had group responsibilities that we had prepared in advance. We packed our packs in similar ways and even had similar habits on the trail.

Along the trail we found a group that was in way over their head. We stopped for a bit, chatted and gave them enough of our water to make sure they got to the next water station. It was late afternoon and they had a long way to go.

One of the people in the group mentioned how they weren’t as prepared as us. We just thought we were normal, yet the reality is that Scouts are never normal. Especially Eagle Scouts.

Over the years I have spoken at hundreds of Eagle Scout Court of Honors. Every Mom and Dad have been extremely proud that their son was about to become an Eagle Scout. I have never had a parent of an Eagle Scout question the value of their son’s Scouting experience.

None of the ceremonies are the same, yet all are similar. The Eagle Scouts come from every race, creed and religion. They come from small towns and large. They come from every economic background. They come in all shapes and sizes.  Some of them earn it right before they turn 18 and others earn it as fast as they can after joining Scouts.  Most are somewhere between.

But for all their differences, there are those things that are always the same. They each overcame all sorts of obstacles. The small ones first and then the harder ones. They each had to learn to lead a small group. They each were thankful of the volunteers and fellow Scouts that had helped them along the way. They each did a project of significance for their community. If there were a monument or plaque on all 2 million of these Eagle Scout projects, we would be tripping over them all the time!

They each had to earn that last merit badge that they had put off to the end. Normally this is Personal Management, one of the Citizenships or Communications. Each showed that they could break down a big goal into smaller parts and slowly but surely check off the boxes and achieve an even bigger dream.

They each persevered and became an Eagle Scout. Like I said at the start, it just sounds good when you say the words out loud!  I am an Eagle Scout.

But, does every Eagle Scout know exactly what this achievement is going to mean for them for the rest of their lives? A better thought might be…it is likely that none of them understand how this award will follow them with expectations throughout their life.

There was a young man who thought he understood what it meant to be a Scout. You see, he was already an Eagle Scout. He wore the badge proudly; his uniform was covered with all sorts of additional symbols of his achievements in Scouting. It would take him 30 minutes of preparation to put on his uniform each time he went to a meeting or a gathering.  Every award and pin had to be exactly in place.  But as much as he thought he understood what being a Scout was, he didn’t really have a clue as to the foundations that had been instilled in him.

The Troop was having a Court of Honor one night. He went to support the younger Scouts even though he wasn’t getting any awards himself. He sat in the front row with all of the Scouts, watching as badges, patches and pins were awarded to the young men that had earned them.

When he heard a commotion in the back of the room he turned to see what the disturbance was. And as he turned he saw someone lowering his father to the ground and his father looked very pale… and very, very dead.

He loved his father very much. He jumped up, ready to rush to him. But something in his mind went, click, and instead of rushing to him, he allowed his Scout training to kick in and went to the phone. He called for help.

He rode to the hospital with the rescue crew working on his father. It was only a few minutes of a ride. When he got out he went to the waiting room where over the next hour the rest of his family joined him.

He spent the night in the hospital waiting room, wearing a full Boy Scout uniform, wondering if his father would live or die.

I share this story for my father is alive today, and I am the Eagle Scout that made that call.

As I sat in that hospital room I began to realize that it wasn’t the uniform that made me a Scout. It wasn’t the badges, patches or pins. It wasn’t even the medal that made me an Eagle Scout.

It was the choice I made when I was 11 years old when I first raised up those fingers into the Scout Sign and repeated that Oath and Law. It is the choice that all Scouts make when they choose to live their life in the fellowship of Scouts and Scouters around the world. It is the choices that a Scout makes in how they will live their daily life.

It is how I choose to treat people, how I choose to make decisions and how I choose to do things when nobody but me knows what choice I made. That is what being an Eagle Scout means to me. I am an Eagle Scout and I am a better person for it.

I don’t think my Scouting story is unique. For years I have told numerous Scouting stories, as speeches. Many of you that know me can probably hear my bass voice telling these stories just like I was there in real life.

At the end of one of those talks, it isn’t unusual for someone to stop me and tell me a story about their Scoutmaster or a parent that has passed away. It isn’t unusual for someone to tell me that this program saved their life, or how they used their skills to save someone. Every young person that joins us has a story to tell. Thank you to all Scouting leaders that help write these stories. Thanks for helping me and millions of other young men and women become Eagle Scouts.

Ralph Voelker
Scout Executive

Need more information right now? Bookmark these links:
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Bay Lakes Council Camps:

From the Council Commissioner

I’m Asking for Your Help

The impact of COVID on scouting and the cloud of the BSA bankruptcy have taken a toll on unit morale in the Bay-Lakes Council.  Leaders are facing many challenges. Units are struggling to meet and provide the scouting program to youth. It is important for us to understand who needs help and also to make sure everyone feels connected as a Scouting family. I believe that, as Council Commissioner, I have a duty to understand how units are doing and be in a position to provide them with any help that they might need.

Traditionally, that is done solely through the Commissioner team of Unit and District Commissioners.  They have a lot on their plates right now – chartering renewal, membership, and youth protection are all going to require extra work this year.

However, unusual times call for unusual measures. I am going to make an unusual request.

I am looking to create an “auxiliary” of Bay-Lakes Council volunteers to help the Commissioner team by contacting and checking on units on a regular basis. Volunteers might be former Commissioners, Scout or Cub Leaders, Committee members, Wood Badgers or anyone else who has a love for Scouting and who would be willing to serve. Opportunities that may be identified as a result of these contacts would be turned over to the Commissioner team for further work.

I am just looking for help to stay in touch, I don’t want units to feel out there and alone.  

My goal is to utilize this auxiliary over the next six months to a year, enough time to get us through this unsettled period. I am willing to take whatever time or energy you are willing to offer.

If you are interested in serving, please contact me directly at or (920) 434-1992. Thank you for offering to help.

Roy LaPean

Council Commissioner

Remember, Clyde is your go-to sources for all your commissioner questions. Send him a note at 

For those who took the Youth Protection Training 2 years ago as a part of the rechartering process, your expiration date is approaching quickly. If you do not have your Youth Protection Training updated, your charter will bounce back and will not be able to be processed until that is taken care of. is where you can find all of the details you need for your training. Contact your unit leader or your district professional team member if you have any questions.

The Golden Eagle Event Was a Success!

Over $300,000 was raised for local Scouting during this year’s Golden Eagle Event! A huge Thank You to Miron Construction for their generous $25,000 “Fund the Need” Matching Gift to help us achieve success. There is still time to donate and help us match all $25,000, just click here to make a gift.

Did you miss the show? You can still watch it here. The program provides such a great message to share with your current Scouting families, families thinking about joining Scouting, or anyone who can use a little inspiration.
To get involved in the 2021 Golden Eagle Event planning, please contact Alex Behrend at or (920) 841-4976.

STEM Challenge: The Marble Run

Did you see the latest STEM Challenge last Sunday: The Marble Run? How creative can you get?  How far will your marble go?  Can you make it JUMP? There are categories for every Scout from Lions & Tigers to Venture Scouts & Sea Scouts.

For you dinosaur fans, there are bonus points available with this week’s STEM Challenge. Don’t let your fun go extinct waiting for the next STEM Challenge to arrive! There are many ways to complete the STEM Challenges. Your imagination and the laws of physics are your only limitations.

If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time to compete in these STEM Challenges. Try just one or try them all!
Click this link to get started. Be sure to like our Facebook page and give us a like to stay up-to-date.

Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts

Congratulations to two of Bay-Lakes Council’s newest members of the First Female Class of Eagle Scouts: Teresa Dold of Troop 177 (Gathering Waters District) and Nicole Kannass of Troop 6838 (Kettle Country District).
For her project, Teresa led the reorganization of five file cabinets full of scattered band music for Xavier High School. The music was removed from the drawers, all of the parts were put back together in the correct folders, and then put back in number order by category. Each song was also entered into a digital log for future reference, including the difficulty of each piece and any instrument solos. (Due to Covid-19, the files were loaded into boxes, taken off site, reorganized over several work days by small groups, and returned to the school.)
Corona virus mask making was Nicole’s focus for her project. She led others in making over 75 masks for Dodge County ClearView nursing home this past March. She shared with us these words: “I’m so honored that I had the opportunity to be one of the first girls to receive the rank of Eagle Scout. It’s so special because I never thought that this would be possible.”
Board of Reviews for the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts should take place between October 1, 2020, and February 8, 2021.
Help us celebrate our Eagles upon completion of their Board of Review or their Eagle Project. Share your Scouting story with us. Submit all of your details here.

Cooking Corner with Pat Klapatch (Sponsored by Miesfeld’s)

It’s time to amp up the flavor on a healthy and delicious chicken meal. Once you put this on the table, stump, or mess kit, nobody is going to resist Miesfeld’s Southwest Chicken Grillers! Click here for the recipe.
Click here to watch the video demonstration.

Cub Scout Adventure Videos Now Available!

A quality series of videos, which provide instruction for each and every Cub Scout Adventure, (Lions through Webelos) is now available. Never before has it been so easy for Den Leaders to provide advancement instruction or for families to work on advancement at home. It’s up to your pack whether to file an Advancement Report for you so do it only with prior approval if you plan to work on these at home.
To take a look at all of the Cub Scout Adventure Series Videos, Click here and scroll down to CROWD SOURCED DEN LEADER RESOURCES.  You can use these in a live Den Meeting, you can Zoom them, or just use them at home!
Bonus hack: for extra easy advancement preparation and execution, you can download .PDF worksheets for each Adventure here to use with the corresponding videos!
You can also easily find all of this and more on the council’s Scouting@Home webpage.

Sample Pack Calendars for Any Situation

The 2020/2021 Scouting Season is going to demand of us some flexibility (Sempre Gumby!), and some tenacity. Lucky for us, we all know that in Cub Scouts we believe in “Do Your Best”!
in that spirit, we reached out to some of our best Cub Scout Leaders, and we invite you to take a look at a Help piece, and a couple of sample calendars. One is for a full service Pack with a viable meeting location and lots of participating families, while another is for a small Pack with meeting location challenges.
We invite you to take a look, and mix and match as you adjust your Pack calendar to adapt to this year’s opportunities. Thank you Joe Heimerl and Sarah Halverson for putting this together. You can also find all of these resources, and much more on the council’s Scouting@Home webpage.


Never Has it Been So Easy to Be a Den Leader

Scoutbook is the BSA’s online unit management tool and helps Scouts, parents and leaders track advancement and milestone achievements along the Scouting trail. The Den Leader Experience is a web app that makes it easier than ever for den leaders to prepare for and lead meetings, track advancement and attendance, and more.

Imagine planning your Den Meetings for the year in just minutes or planning for your meetings and communicating with your Den and Pack with an easy to use app on your phone! Imagine logging into the Den Leader Experience Sandbox to check everything out before you set up your Den in a brand new App that makes managing your Den a joy.

Click here to check it all out. It’s all ready for you to explore and use now.

2021 Charter Renewal Has Begun!

The Charter renewal process has officially begun! Please visit the Internet Charter Renewal resource page for detailed instructions and helpful resources about the best methods for completing your unit’s renewal. On October 7, a virtual training session was hosted by Assistant Council Commissioner, Dave Bainbridge, where the best tips and tricks for a successful renewal were shared. The virtual training session and slide presentation are available to everyone on the Internet Charter Renewal resource page.

Earlier this month, the Unit Leader (Cubmaster/Scoutmaster/Crew Advisor, Skipper) and Committee Chairperson for each unit were sent an e-mail message that contains this year’s Unit Access Code. Each unit is assigned a new Access Code annually and must log into the online Charter Renewal site as a First Time User to begin their online charter renewal process.

Before logging into the online system, it is important to review the Pre-Planning Steps:

  1. Print your Charter Renewal Guidebook
  2. Assign Charter Renewal duties
  3. Complete Unit Membership Inventory

Completing these initial steps creates the framework for your charter renewal roster and will greatly assist the Charter Renewal Processor during the online portion of the renewal.  

If your unit has any questions regarding this process, please contact the Council Service Center at (920) 734-5705 for assistance or reach out to your Unit Commissioner.

New COVID-19 Resource Page

As we move deeper into the autumn months, and as the COVID case numbers accelerated this past weeks, we have created a go-to resource page for all your Scouting activities. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back frequently. We will add resources and documents as health and safety guidance require adjustments. Our first and foremost goal is to provide a safe Scouting environment for our youth and adults, and other volunteers and their families.

Gardner Dam Scout Camp Construction Update

Work is underway at Camp Gardner Dam on the new Multi-Purpose and Dining Hall facility. The foundation is nearly completely installed, and site grading is underway. In the next few days the underground plumbing work will start, with the building floor slab to be poured shortly thereafter. Work is progressing well, and every effort is being made to enclose the facility before winter conditions set in. It is great to see this project moving forward, and thanks to everyone supporting the project and Miron Construction and Gries Architectural for their expertise and efforts to make this project happen.
We have created this link for you to view a time-lapse of this construction activity, updated weekly.

The Orion Project at the Summit

With the 2021 National Scout Jamboree postponed, Scouting has announced The Orion Project, combining some of the Summit’s best programs to create a new adventure. As a 7-day/6-night experience at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, Orion will include opportunities for BMX, skateboarding, mountain biking, zip lines, canopy tours, challenge courses, climbing, shooting sports, whitewater rafting, fellowship with Scouts from across the nation and much more.

Orion will be open to ALL Scouts, BSA youth. An additional feature: Want to leave your mark in a big way? One aspect of the program will be to give participants the opportunity to take part in focus groups that will directly impact the next BSA National Jamboree! Participants will get to give their opinions and help define what the future of the Jamboree will look like. The dates are July 18-24, 2021, and July 25-31, 2021.

A team of volunteers is looking to assemble a contingent (or two) from Bay-Lakes Council, so stay tuned. For more information, click here.

Recognizing Conservation — Distinguished Conservation Service Award

For more than a century, the BSA has encouraged and honored conservation work with an award that recognizes youth, adults and organizations who have demonstrated tremendous effort and commitment to the environment. This award, which until now had been known as the William T. Hornaday Award, is being discontinued, and the new BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award is being introduced to underscore the importance of encouraging everyone to participate in environmental stewardship.
The new BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award will continue to recognize the conservation efforts of Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, adult volunteers, and other individuals, corporations, and institutions that contribute significantly to natural resource conservation and environmental protection. It has been streamlined and modernized to build on the extraordinary contributions made by all the dedicated award recipients to date, and we believe the changes will help make these important efforts even more accessible for today’s members.

The BSA continuously looks for opportunities to improve our programs and awards as part of our efforts to strengthen the Scouting experience for all. As part of the BSA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we are in the process of reviewing our programs, names of camps, awards and other aspects to ensure each component models our commitment because there is no place for racism or discrimination – not in Scouting and not in our communities. As we reviewed the William T. Hornaday Award, which recognizes conservation and environmental service, the BSA uncovered issues with Dr. Hornaday that go against the BSA’s values, and we determined that, given this information, the conservation award should no longer bear his name in order to uphold our commitment against racism and discrimination.

Effective immediately, the Boy Scouts of America is transitioning conservation recognition to the new BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award. The change in the award going forward does not in any way diminish the impactful conservation efforts taken on by Scouts, volunteers, and organizations over many years as part of the previous awards program. Their efforts have made important and positive differences in their communities and remain among the proudest bodies of work in Scouting.

For those who have earned a Hornaday award prior to this change, the legacy award can now be referred to as the BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award. Although we are unable to replace medals or badges earned by previous award recipients, replacement certificates can be requested.

For those that have submitted or are currently working on a Hornaday award or project, the new award program outlines a path to transition to the BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award. Bronze or Silver award distinctions will be used temporarily for individuals whose efforts were already submitted or underway under the previous award program. For all others, the BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award will stand on its own as the organization’s highest award for conservation and environmental service.

More information on the new awards program will be available on the BSA’s outdoor programs webpage and more specifically here.

2021 Summer Camp Registration Initiative Continues

Volunteers and several camp staff continue to make phone calls to leaders whose units attended summer camp this year. The purpose is threefold: (a) to seek additional feedback about the unit’s summer camp experience, (b) to learn if the unit has made plans for 2021, and (c) to encourage the unit to register this fall for next summer’s experience.

Expect a phone call during the next several weeks. If you are the unit leader and do not hear from us, please send a note directly to and we will set up a time for conversation.

Even as we share the unit survey results, we encourage early summer camp registration to get the unit’s favored session or campsite; or both. Thank you for your participation in this extraordinary effort.

By the way, registration is already open.There will be special celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Scouting in Bay-Lakes Council. To aid your unit’s planning for 2021, the Leader’s Guides for each camp is already online. Camp costs for 2021 have gone down!  See pages 8-9 of the Administration Guide at the link above. Make your reservation now, put down your deposit and reserve your favorite session/campsite.

Don’t Miss Religious Emblems Training

To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, Scout can participate in a robust religious emblems program provided through specific religious groups. More details and links to specific faiths can be found here. Counselors are always needed to assist Scouts as they explore their religious faith. Several religious emblems require that facilitators be trained before they work with Scouts on the emblems. This opportunity will be a chance for all interested adults to learn how to facilitate these religious emblems for a Scouting unit. This training will give an overview of the emblems programs and activity patches available to Scouts and includes a breakout session to learn tips on how to get youth and parents involved and run the programs effectively.

The annual Religious Emblems Training will be held on Thursday, November 19, from 6:30-8:00 PM CST via Zoom. Contact Chris Brandt at if you have any questions and for meeting details.

For more information and to register, click here.

Kon Wapos Lodge Updates

New Lodge Chief Installed

Welcome to Thomas Crow who was installed as the new Kon Wapos Lodge Chief during the Lodge Executive Committee meeting on October 4. He succeeded Nate Ruggles — who was selected as Section C1-B Chief last month. Thomas previously served as the Lodge’s vice-chief of program for the lodge. He will lead the first ever virtual induction of new members in November. (See next paragraph). Thomas is also leading the planning of the annual lodge leadership development program to be held in December.

National Virtual Induction Weekend Next Month
The Order of the Arrow has announced that they will conduct a virtual National Induction weekend Nov. 6 & 7. The program is being done in conjunction with Kon Wapos Lodge within the Bay-Lakes Council. It will consist of National and local lodge programming to welcome new members into the Order of the Arrow. Ordeal candidates should save the dates. The Ordeal will run from Friday night into Saturday evening, with National OA programming to follow on Saturday night. 

More details will be announced in the coming week with instructions on how to register. Questions can be directed to the lodge adviser Mike Mailand at

Momentum: Spark – Registration Underway

Momentum: Spark is the second national event within the Momentum series, this one focusing around the Induction process on Nov. 6-7. Any Arrowman can view the live stream of Momentum: Spark for free but they must register as a basic delegate to do so. There is no cost to registering as a basic delegate and basic delegates only have access to view the livestream of Momentum: Spark. A premium delegate registration is available for $15 which provides a special patch and access to additional features.

Registration is now open. Click here to get started. NOTE: This registration is only for current members. Candidates who participating in the National Induction weekend that runs concurrently, should have received an email with their own registration instructions. If not, contact Lodge Adviser, Mike Mailand, at

Check out the Lodge website.


Learn About Outdoor Ethics

As Scouts, we practice “Leave No Trace” ethics and are required to learn and explain “The Outdoor Code.” Now there is a free and virtual opportunity for parents and leaders to learn more about how a Scout can be clean in the outdoors. Sponsored by Scouting’s The National Outdoor Ethics Subcommittee, there will be that annual National Outdoor Ethics Virtual Conference on Nov. 13-14. Eight Zoom sessions starting on Friday night and again during the day on Saturday. Each session will be approximately 30-45 minutes in duration and there will be plenty of opportunities for questions and answers. Participants can choose to attend one or all of the conference sessions. Click here for more information.

In The Next Issue of The Guide

We promised to revisit summer camp at Camp Rokilio and share campers’ surveys. Watch for this article in the October 30th issue.

Looking Ahead

Given the ever-changing health circumstances and the differences between the regions of the Bay-Lakes Council, events listed here may be cancelled, postponed or moved to a virtual opportunity if possible.
Oct. 16-18: Jamboree on the Air
Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) and the International Jamboree on the Air— the world’s largest digital and radio Scout event promoting friendship and global citizenship! Registration and details can be found here. Be the envy of your friends and earn a distinctive patch.

Oct. 20: Bay-Lakes Council Museum Meeting
This meeting will be a Zoom meeting. Contact Dale Opgenorth at for details.

Nov. 1: NYLT/Wood Badge Banquet Cancelled 
We received word just this week that the annual NYLT/Wood Badge Reunion Banquet, originally scheduled for Nov. 1 in Oshkosh, has been cancelled. 

This year’s banquet coordinator, Chris Rogers, wrote, “After consulting with people at various levels of Scouting, this is the right decision for this year. In many ways this was a difficult decision and in many ways this was an easy decision. We will all miss the networking and hugging. Of all years when we need hugs the most, we cannot. Many Scouters have reduced face to face interactions. If a Scouter has to choose between a banquet with a bunch of other Scouters or engaging with the youth, the best choice is to engage with the youth. Even if that means we miss a chance to sing our favorite song. No banquet does not mean that the NYLT Spirit is not still alive and that the Wood Badge fire is not still burning.” 

His planning team is developing ideas to challenge ALL past Wood Badge and NYLT alumni to do something to improve themselves, help others, or engage with Scouting in a new way. Additionally, the group is working effective communication methods to reach and engage as many people as possible with these challenges. Watch for future updates.

Nov. 19: Religious Emblems Training
To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, Scout can participate in a robust religious emblems program provided through specific religious groups. More details and links to specific faiths can be found here. Counselors are always needed to assist Scouts as they explore their religious faith. Several religious emblems require that facilitators be trained before they work with Scouts on the emblems. This opportunity will be a chance for all interested adults to learn how to facilitate these religious emblems for a Scouting unit. This training will give an overview of the emblems programs and activity patches available to Scouts and includes a breakout session to learn tips on how to get youth and parents involved and run the programs effectively. 

The annual Religious Emblems Training will be held on Thursday, November 19, from 6:30-8:00 PM CST via Zoom. Contact Chris Brandt at if you have any questions.

For more information and to register, click here.
Nov.  20: Virtual Fall Trivia Night
Our Fall Virtual Trivia Night is designed for fun, competition, and a way to raise money for Scouts in the Bay-Lakes Council. Participation fee is just $75 for a team of 5. Individuals are welcome to register for $15 per player. The prize will be a $100 gift card to a local establishment of the winning team’s choice. This is a general knowledge trivia contest geared for adults. For more information & to register click here.

Final Thoughts…

“Trustworthy” Autumn Leaves

By my count, we have 12 trees on our property and a few leaf-bearing bushes. The honey locust, with their narrow one-inch leaf (about the same size as the seed from the two maple trees in the front terrace), are the last trees to bloom in spring and the first to shed (beginning already last month.) Junior complains about them clogging the lawn mower before the leaf blowing operations get underway. It’s a losing battle to keep the front porch entrance, inside and out, leaf-free so as not to vacuum them up elsewhere in the house.  Every year since we landscaped 35 years ago.

The changing colors are pretty, sometimes breathtaking, most times better “live” than captured with camera. Once the city picks up the last of them and the trees are barren for winter’s chill, we anxiously await the renewal that spring always brings.  It is a change that (in the long view, but not when we’re raking or leaf blowing) we enjoy, even welcome. In fact, the one constant is change.

Seven months and counting in this “situation” puts us on edge in so many facets of our lives. We plan events and activities, hoping that they don’t get cancelled or postponed. Even our unit meetings, we gather on ZOOM or any of those other platforms and miss the in-person “touch.” It is hard to not abandon every safety measure we’ve implemented just for one “contact.” And talking about it does not help, does it?

As Scouts, we make many promises, and as trustworthy Scouts, we work hard to keep them. Perhaps in the tiniest of measures, the autumn leaves hold that same promise: they will keep coming back every growing season, burst into full bloom, provide many unseen benefits, until they turn color, drop and are swept up again. When people watch us do Scouting, can they say the same for our promise-keeping?

Till we “meet” again: Scout on! And, be safe and stay healthy!

In the Spirit of Adventure,

Warren Kraft
Bay-Lakes Council Vice President-Program Development
Adventure beyond the Expected

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