Nashville Scouts demonstrate proper flag folding

July 11, 2014

Of course you know how to fold a flag.  Right?

A group of Nashville Boy Scouts demonstrate for some Cub Scouts and a local news program, the proper methods.

Did they get it right?

Joshua Maxwell is a reporter with Nashville’s NBC affiliate, WSMV Channel 4; Scouts come from Troop 1914.

Published on Jul 2, 2014

My first on Air segment with WSMV Channel4. The Boy Scouts are teaching me and some Cub Scouts how to fold the American Flag.

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Identifying poison ivy

May 22, 2014

This may become a series.

Found a good infographic today, on how to identify poison ivy — the bane of every Boy Scout and Scouter west of the Mississippi, and east of the Mississippi, too.

From TreksInTheWild.com, via Daily Infographic

From TreksInTheWild.com, via Daily Infographic

Poison ivy leaves turn a beautiful scarlet in the fall.  This beauty prompted English ship captains dropping off colonists in New England to take the potted vines back to England.

It is my experience that, while everyone can become allergic and react to poison ivy, no one reacts on first serious exposure. If you’re in the woods, it’s good to know what this stuff is, and avoid it.

If you’re exposed, wash it off.  Wash your clothes with some sort of oxidant (oxygen bleach for colors, or chlorine bleach if you don’t care); I use a 3:1 solution, water to chlorine bleach, to shower with after serious exposure.  The active chemical, urushiol, remains active until it is reacted chemically or by ultraviolet light — and so a young Scout who gets some ivy sap under his fingernails can continue to spread the exposure everywhere he scratches, until his hands are really washed clean.

Study the poster, learn to identify the stuff.  There’s a lot more to say.


Boy Scouts greet Col. Theodore Roosevelt, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1932

April 13, 2014

Interesting photograph.

1932 photograph of U.S. Army Col. Theodore Roosevelt III, being greeted in St. Paul, Minnesota by a group of Boy Scouts.  Minnesota Historical Society collection.

1932 photograph of U.S. Army Col. Theodore Roosevelt III, being greeted in St. Paul, Minnesota by a group of Boy Scouts. Minnesota Historical Society collection.

Found it at the site of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Col. Roosevelt, the son of President Theodore Roosevelt, is nearly center, in civilian clothes.  He would go on to command troops at the Battle of Normandy on D-Day, winning the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously.  His father would later be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Is this the only father-son MoH duo?

MHS records identify Col. Roosevelt and 13 other people in the photo, mostly the Scouts; alphabetically, they are:  Baker, Curtis; Baker, Robert (brothers?); Haas, Frank; Hagman, R. J.; Jungwirth, Robert A.; Kehne, Clyde; Menz, C. J.; Nyman, David; Polanick, Alexander; Robertson, Donald; Roosevelt, Theodore [III]; Sommers, Charles; Torgerson, Gordon; White, Charles.

It would be interesting to know what the event was in 1932 that brought Roosevelt to St. Paul.  It would be interesting to know what happened to those Scouts.

Update: Mr. Higginbotham found an account of Roosevelt’s trip in the April 1932 issue of Boys’ Life (see comments).  Roosevelt was on his way to the Philippines, where he served as Governor-General, a post held earlier by William Howard Taft, Leonard Wood, and Henry L. Stimson, among others.  Roosevelt was a member of the National Board of Boy Scouts of America; Scouts saw him off from New York, and greeted him at stops all the way to Seattle, where he boarded ship for the Philippines.

Account of Col. Theodore Roosevelt III's trip from New York to Seattle, in 1932 -- with Scouts meeting him at almost every stop.  Boys' Life, April 1932, page 58.

Account of Col. Theodore Roosevelt III’s trip from New York to Seattle, in 1932 — with Scouts meeting him at almost every stop. Boys’ Life, April 1932, page 58.


Signs of life: “Support Boy Scouts, buy a brat!”

April 1, 2014

Peel your eyes, you can find signs in real life better than any punchline you could dream up for one of those fake sign sites.

Comes this story from Minnesota Prairie Roots (with more details there):  Harriet Traxler of Carver, Minnesota, drove U.S. Highway 212 between Chaska  and Cologne, Minnesota, coming on a sign at a garden store, selling food for a Boy Scout fundraiser — we guess.

Minnesota, in the summer, you don’t sell just hot dogs.  You sell brätwurst.  Bräts. Or, if you don’t have the letter with the diacritical markings over the top in your sign kit, “brats.”

Oh, you see where this is going, don’t you?

“Here’s the sign Harriet spotted several years ago in front of a garden store along U.S. Highway 212 between Chaska and Cologne, Minnesota.” Caption from Minnesota Prairie Roots. Photo by Harriet Traxler

Ms. Traxler notes the sign was gone the next day.  Sold out?

We hope they hit their fundraising goals, but we might worry about just what it was they were really selling.

Punctuation and diacritical markings!  They can prevent horrible misunderstandings!


“Ma, You Earned Your Eagle”

February 11, 2014

Did you earn Eagle rank in Scouting?

Show this video below to your mother — it will endear you to her (as if you needed that).

Last year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) commemorated 100 years of Scouting as the youth program for boys and young men in the church.  In October there was a world-wide telecast of a ceremony in Salt Lake City.

This song was part of that telecast.

Look at the vintage uniforms some of the boys wear. (I have three of those hanging in my closet . . .)

IF you know the mother of an Eagle Scout — or the father — show this to them.  They’ll appreciate it.  They’ll probably have some even better stories to tell you (stories which I hope you’ll share in comments).

“Ma, You Earned Your Eagle”

Somewhere, Busby Berkeley’s Ghost is laughing, soaking in this production.  It only lacks an Esther Williams number in the water to be a full Berkeley musical, no?

Details:

Published on Oct 30, 2013

[From Sean Mobley] A fun musical snippet from the October 29th presentation “Legacy of Honor” commemorating the 100 year relationship between the Boy Scouts and the Mormon Church. I’m not LDS, but as an Eagle Scout, I know my mom earned hers, too! Check out the whole presentation here: http://www.scouts100.lds.org/

More:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Mary Almanza, for finding the video, and to Kathryn Knowles, our resident Scout Mother.

Following in a Family Tradition — Becoming and Eagle Scout  Julie Reimer displays her Eagle Scout Mom pin, given to her by her son Michael during the Eagle Scout ceremony on Friday, December 30, in Whitefish. Julie has four such ribbons and pins, one for each of her four sons.

From Whitefish, Montana, DailyInterLake.com, Brenda Ahearn photos: Following in a Family Tradition — Becoming and Eagle Scout Julie Reimer displays her Eagle Scout Mom pin, given to her by her son Michael during the Eagle Scout ceremony on Friday, December 30, in Whitefish. Julie has four such ribbons and pins, one for each of her four sons.

7,934

First “official” Boy Scout Troop, January 24, 1908?

January 24, 2014

There are those who argue that the the first Boy Scout Troop was organized on January 24, 1908.

History is not so clear on that point, however.  There may have been earlier troops organized, but records were unclear, or lost.

From Wikipedia:  Front cover of the first part of Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell, published in January 1908. Illustrations by Baden-Powell himself.

From Wikipedia: Front cover of the first part of Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell, published in January 1908. Illustrations by Baden-Powell himself.

We do know that the the first installment of the serialized Scouting for Boys was published on January 24, 1908.  By April of that year all installments were published, and we can say that the first Boy Scout handbook had arrived.

Either way, January 24 holds some historical significance for the Scouting movement.

Do a good turn in honor of the day.

Who was really first?  Unfortunately, the records don’t exist to settle that issue.

Scouting, in England, arose from the popular clamor by boys after the 1899 publication of Col. Robert Baden-Powell’s handbook for the scouts he trained for the British Army in southern Africa, Aids to Scouting.  Though not written for a youthful audience, the book became a best seller among boys who wished to emulate the adventures of soldiers and rangers in the British Army.

By 1907, Baden-Powell seriously worked to translate his experience and wisdom in a book aimed at boys.  In the summer of 1907 he gathered a collection of boys to camp, to try out his ideas for outdoor activities for boys.  With aid of the YMCA and other organizations, troops were planned and organized at the end of 1907 and in early 1908; then the program skyrocketed, with 60,000 boy members by the end of 1908.

Which was the “first” troop?

In England, where history and firsts might understandably be taken more seriously for Scouting, a number of groups can make the claims — and it’s almost impossible to choose from among them.  Wikepedia explains the claims of each, without much blood (I’ve left in most of the links and footnote links):

The first Scout Troops were formed in the United Kingdom in 1907, and registered in 1908. There are a number of claimants to be the first troop. However, due to poor record keeping when the Scouting Movement started, The Scout Association does not acknowledge any single troop as being the first. The Scout Association maintains a list of all the Scout Troops who claim to have started in 1908.[1]

The Scout Troops with the strongest claims are listed below:

The 1st Glasgow Scout Group in Scotland holds the earliest known registration certificate, dated 26 January 1908, issued by the Scouting Association. The Group was formed from the Glasgow Battalion of the Army Cadet Corps; its Adjutant was Captain Robert E Young. In June 1907, they formed the ‘Cadets’ Winter Recreation Training Club’. The club was a success from the beginning, as ‘Boss’ Young related: “At first we met at my house, signalled up and down the stairs, tied knots around the banisters and always finished with a good tuck-in.” ‘Boss’ Young met B-P during Autumn 1907 who suggested that the Club could experiment with the ideas contained in ‘Scouting for Boys’. On 16 January 1908, the Club was formally disbanded and the First Glasgow Troop of Boy Scouts was registered with Scout HQ in London.[1][2]

The first Scout Troop to receive a visit from Baden-Powell was the Vaux’s Own Scout Troop in Sunderland. This visit was made on 22 February 1908, so it is assumed by The Scout Association “that it had already been in existence for some days at any rate”.[1] This was also the first Scout Troop listed in the Imperial records. The 1st Crystal Palace Patrol (now known as the 2nd Croydon, 1st Crystal Palace) is documented as being in existence on 28 February 1908. The group is still in existence.[3]

In 2007, 1st Henfield Scout Troop was named as the oldest surviving Scout Troop in the world for the centenary of Scouting. They were the hosts of the only place that the centenary flame stopped in England for the night before reaching its goal of Brownsea Island. However, it is not the oldest Scout Troop, as others were set up before Henfield. It is said that the boys that went to Brownsea Island on the first ever scout trip were from Henfield.[4]

The 1st Birkenhead (YMCA) has a claim to be the oldest Scout Troop as it was founded on 24 January 1908 when B P attended a meeting at the YMCA. Documents at the District Headquarters confirm this fact. Baden-Powell at the 1929 Coming of Age Jamboree in Birkenhead said “Here in Birkenhead that I first mooted the idea of Scouting”.

The 1st Croydon Scout Group (Addiscombe) were founded in the latter months of 1907. The Group was officially registered by Imperial Scout Headquarters on 16 June 1908 and can claim to be one of the earliest Groups.

1st Church Kirk, Church near Accrington Lancashire. Formed 1907. Baden Powell formed a link with Accrington during his opening of the Ambulance Drill Hall in 1904.

There is an entry in Baden-Powell’s diary on 4 February 1908 which mentions a Scout Troop in Nottingham.

1st Alsager, Cheshire were formed before 24 February 1908.

A troop from Hampstead was involved in various events in the first half of 1908.

The 1st City Of Aberdeen Scouts existed in 1908. 1st Arbroath Scout Troop (2nd Angus) dates back to June 1908.[5]

The 1st Norwich “Capt. Bower’s Own” Sea Scouts started in January 1908.[6] The group is one of few which has continuously run for 100 years and, remarkably, had just 4 Group Scout Leaders during that time. To celebrate their centenary year, the group published a book entitled, “It Can Be Done: The Hundred Year History of the 1st Norwich Sea Scout Group.” drawing from their extensive archives.[7]

In Poole, Dorset, there are strong claims from 3 current Scout Groups, that all have separate newspaper articles back to 1908 listing Patrols or Troops practicing Scouting. 1st Parkstone has got a registration number back to February 1908 for a Scout Troop. Hamworthy are listed as having a Boat patrol at the Local Church in November 1908 and Broadstone having an Ambulance Scout at the Gathering on Brownsea Island in December 1908.

Wycliffe Scout Group (Gloucestershire) claims to be the oldest continuously active school-based Scout group in the world (active September 2013). It is listed in the Scout Association database with a registration date of 1 February 1909, although the Group celebrated their centenary in 2008, implying that there had been Scouting activity at the school before the Group was registered.

Who was first?  The question remains, not yet satisfactorily answered for history.

How would you decide the controversy?

Scouts from several nations around a campfire -- photo from the website of the World Scout Organization.

Scouts from several nations around a campfire — photo from the website of the World Scout Organization. “Leave this world a little better than you found it” — Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. There are over 40 million Scouts in the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

More:

 


New Boy Scout merit badge: Sustainability

July 25, 2013

It’s Eagle required, too — well, Scouts can choose either Environmental Science or Sustainability, but must earn one or the other to earn Eagle rank.

Image of the Sustainability merit badge, from MeritBadge.org

Image of the Sustainability merit badge, from MeritBadge.org

Requirements for the new Sustainability merit badge were released on July 16, concurrent with the 2013 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit.  A lot of people missed the announcement, I’ll wager.

It’s good news.  Conservation and nature-related merit badges have suffered a decline in Scouting, it seems to me.  The conservation series was very much the keystone of a trek to Eagle when I was a Scout, at least as important as the citizenship series.  But I don’t see that emphasis in Scouting today, sadly.

BSA recently created a Mining merit badge, which created some quiet grumbles among conservationists — this new, Eagle-path badge more than makes up for that, I think (though mining is a great topic for Scouts, especially in the western U.S., I think).  This will not set well with the anti-conservation, anti-Agenda 21 crowd and their merry hoaxsters.  But nothing BSA does is removed from political criticism from the right any more (see this odd photo choice for the Sustainability badge notice at the radical right-wing Daily Caller site).

This announcement gives me hope.

More:

Below the fold, the requirements and announcement from Bryan on Scouting, at Scouting Magazine’s site, verbatim and in total.

Read the rest of this entry »


What would a Boy Scout do in this situation?

June 25, 2013

This parallels my experience:

How about your experience with Boy Scouts?

Have you seen this PSA on television stations in your town?  Call the stations, ask when they run it.

More:


Exxon-Mobil’s Rex Tillerson urges Scouts to get on with the “main thing,” Scouting, after historic membership policy vote

June 11, 2013

Late last month the national board, the governing body of the Boy Scouts of America, voted to open Scouting again to Scouts who have determined they are homosexual.

Scout leaders voted to change a 22-year-old membership policy that effectively banned Boy Scouts from being homosexual, or acknowledging they are gay.  The policy was a haphazard outgrowth of a 1991 policy change, still in effect, that bans homosexuals from leadership positions.  Over the past decade the issue heated up, with a few boys having completed their work to earn Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle, and then being denied the rank when officials discovered they were homosexual.

No brief description does full justice to the issue, to the change in policy, nor to the difficulty of discussions surrounding the change.  Several national groups assailed BSA for even considering the change, including the Family Research Council and members of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Discussions in some quarters were as ugly as any I’ve seen on any issue anywhere — worse than union votes in non-union corporations, worse than votes to cut teacher pay in state legislatures, worse than civil rights votes, worse than abortion issues.

Bryan Wendall’s blog, Bryan on Scouting, is a semi-official mouthpiece for Scouting — he is the editor of Scouting magazine, the monthly publication to leaders of Boy Scouting.  At the blog, where serious discussions of the new policy unfolded since February, Bryan posted a video of immediate past President of Boy Scouting National Council, Rex Tillerson, talking about the next steps.  I’ve reproduced Bryan’s introduction, and the video.  Discussions at that blog have been rather intense (but not nearly so ugly as those at Family Research Council venues, and at WorldNet Daily).

One more piece of background:  In Scout leader training, two mantras rising over the past 15 years involve reminding leaders to stick to the main purposes of Scouting in any controversy, to help get through difficulties or crises in unit management or local organization issues:  “Remember, we do it for the boys, they are the main thing.”  And, “The main thing to remember is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”  Tillerson knows Scouting, and knows Scouters, when he makes his appeal.

Rex Tillerson at 2013 National Board meeting of BSA

Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson exhorted Scouters to get on with ‘the main thing,’ making Scouting work for boys. Tillerson is a Distinguished Eagle Scout, and past national president of the organization; he remains active in his local Scouting organizations, in Circle 10 Council in Dallas, Texas, and surrounding counties. Photo by Michael Roytek/BSA

Rex Tillerson speaks out about change and ‘The Main Thing’

“So we’ve made the decision. We’re going to change,” says Rex Tillerson. ”Now what?”

Less than 24 hours after the volunteer delegates voted to change the BSA’s membership policy for youth, Tillerson addressed a large room full of Scouting volunteers and professionals at the closing general session of the BSA’s National Annual Meeting.

In a powerful, heartfelt speech, Tillerson made his message clear: Change is inevitable, but “The Main Thing,” which is to serve more youth in Scouting, hasn’t changed. With that in mind, he reasoned, it’s time for all of us unite toward this common goal.

Tillerson, immediate past president of the Boy Scouts of America and a 2010 Silver Buffalo recipient, knows something about making big decisions and dealing with change. When he’s not serving as a Scouting volunteer, he’s the chairman, president, and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., one of the world’s largest companies.

In 1999, Tillerson worked for Exxon when it merged with Mobil—definitely a big change for both companies.

Take 10 minutes to watch the video below and listen to Tillerson’s message. Then, share it with the members of your Scouting family.

Are you volunteering in any way in Scouting now?  You should.

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Flag day June 14? Heck! Fly it all week!

June 11, 2013

“The American Flag”, music by L.S.D. Rees and words by J.B. Dickson, 1862. Music Division, Library of Congress

President Barack Obama proclaimed the week of June 9 through 16 National Flag Week, in anticipation of Flag Day, June 14.

Boy Scouts from Troop 123 stand together during a Flag Day ceremony Thursday, June 14, 2012 at Veterans Memorial Park in Peru, Ill.

Boy Scouts from Troop 123 stand together during a Flag Day ceremony Thursday, June 14, 2012 at Veterans Memorial Park in Peru, Ill. Photo and caption from Reactions

Fly your U.S. flag all week!

Of course, you may fly your state and local flags, too.

June 14 commemorates the day the first resolution was passed designating the stars and stripes as the national flag of the united colonies, June 14, 1777. This is another event occurring even prior to the creation of the United States by the Constitution.

Here’s the proclamation from President Obama:

For Immediate Release

June 07, 2013

Presidential Proclamation — Flag Day and National Flag Week, 2013

FLAG DAY AND NATIONAL FLAG WEEK, 2013

- – – – – – -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Each June, our Nation lifts its sights to the flag that has watched over us since the days of our founding. In those broad stripes and bright stars, we see the arc of the American story — from a handful of colonies to 50 States, united and free.

When proud patriots took up the fight for independence, they came together under a standard that showed their common cause. When the wounds of civil war were still fresh and our country walked the long road to reconstruction, our people found hope in a banner that testified to the strength of our Union. Wherever our American journey has taken us, whether on that unending path to the mountaintop or high above into the reaches of space, Old Glory has followed, reminding us of the rights and responsibilities we share as citizens.

This week, we celebrate that legacy, and we honor the brave men and women who have secured it through centuries of service at home and abroad. Let us raise our flags high, from small-town storefronts to duty stations stretched around the globe, and let us look to them once more as we press on in the march toward a more perfect Union.

To commemorate the adoption of our flag, the Congress, by joint resolution approved August 3, 1949, as amended (63 Stat. 492), designated June 14 of each year as “Flag Day” and requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the flag of the United States on all Federal Government buildings. The Congress also requested, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966, as amended (80 Stat. 194), that the President annually issue a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as “National Flag Week” and call upon citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 14, 2013, as Flag Day and the week beginning June 9, 2013, as National Flag Week. I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during that week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag. I also call upon the people of the United States to observe with pride and all due ceremony those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, also set aside by the Congress (89 Stat. 211), as a time to honor America, to celebrate our heritage in public gatherings and activities, and to publicly recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

You may want to read further history of Flag Day and the Wisconsin-born dentist who created and promoted the campaign to commemorate it, Bernard J. CiGrand, at the National Flag Day Foundation site.


Flag Day cartoon  by Joel Mielke in the North Coast Journal, Humboldt, California

Joel Mielke cartoon in the North Coast Journal, Humboldt, California. Each of these flag uses is, technically, a violation of the flag code. Fly your flag on Flag Day; it’s a non-violative, non-offensive way to honor the flag, and our nation.

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Mike Rowe: The value of Scouting, even for kids who don’t make Eagle

June 7, 2013

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award Wikipedia image

Boy Scouts of America (BSA)  invited Mike Rowe to the 2012 Annual National Meeting.  They asked him to speak, but surprised him with a Distinguished Eagle Scout award.

Listen to his praise for the value of Scouting, for and from Scouts who don’t make Eagle (it’s at least ten minutes in, but this is entertaining).  Rowe has two brothers, neither of whom earned Eagle; his story involves the exploits of his younger brother, who was a Scout, and achieved the rank of Star.

It really is a Star Scout story.

More:

Ray Suarez receiving his Distinguished Eagle S...

PBS News Hour’s Ray Suarez receiving his Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. You find Eagles all over the place. Wikipedia image


How to tell Scouts are coming for dinner

March 11, 2013

Scout Dutch ovens at Camp Wisdom

Scouts coming for dinner – Dutch ovens ready for duty at Wisdom Trail District Outdoor Leader training, Camp Wisdom, Circle 10 Council BSA, March 9, 2013.

Dutch ovens lined up for duty is a tell that Scouts and Scouters are expected for dinner, aren’t they?

More:


Woodbadge sundancers, Heart of Virginia Council, BSA

March 6, 2013

This will make some Woodbadgers jealous:

Woodbadge stained glass, Heart of Virginia Council, BSA

Stained glass sundancers at an unnamed site, commemorating six Woodbadge classes in the Heart of Virginia Council, BSA.  Click image for better view at original site.

From a site which is, I presume, run by Heart of Virginia Council, BSA.  I have no details on this photo, location, time.  Please add details if you know them, in comments.


A very young John Kennedy asks his father for a raise in his allowance, to cover Boy Scout dues

March 3, 2013

Can your students write this well?  This kid was 12:

JFK asking his father for a raise in his allowance

Letter from 12 year-old John Kennedy, asking his father for a raise in his allowance, in 1929.  Click image for larger view.  Photo from Peter Lenahan

Found the image at the U.S. Scouting Service Project site, part of their celebration of the history of Scouting.

John Fitzgerald Francis Kennedy, President of the United States, was a Scout in Troop 2 in the Bronxville, NY, from 1929 to 1931. This letter was written when he was 12 years old in 1929.

Transcript:   A Plea for a raise

By Jack Kennedy

Dedicated to my

Mr. J. P. Kennedy

     Chapter I

My recent allowance is 40¢. This I used for areoplanes and other playthings of child- hood but now I am a scout and I put away my childish things. Before I would spend 20¢ of my ¢.40 allowance and In five minutes I would have empty pockets and nothing to gain and 20¢ to lose. When I a a scout I have to buy canteens, haversacks, blankets, searchlidgs [searchlights] poncho things that will last for years and I can always use it while I cant use a cholcalote marshmellow sunday with vanilla ice cream and so I put in my plea for a raise of thirty cents for me to buy scout things and pay my own way more around.

Finis

John Fitzgerald Francis Kennedy

Contributed by: Peter Lenahan, Bronxville, NY


Maine Boy Scout gets hero’s award; saved two from drowning in hotel pool

February 22, 2013

A feel good story, reprinted from the website of the Bangor (Maine) Daily News:

Portland Boy Scout earns rare award after saving two from drowning

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff
Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter Find on Facebook Find on Facebook

Posted Feb. 18, 2013, at 4:44 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 19, 2013, at 8:48 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Parker Montano, 15, was in a hotel pool surrounded by about 20 other swimming and splashing youths when one, weighing almost 200 pounds, grabbed onto him and pulled him under in a panic.

Lifesaving Boy Scout Parker Montano of Portland, Maine

Boy Scout Parker Montano of Portland, Maine; photo by Peter Montano

Now, seven months later, the Portland Boy Scout will receive one of the organization’s most rarely given honors after saving that boy and another girl moments later at the same pool.

Montano, a Cheverus High School sophomore from South Portland, will receive the Boy Scouts of America’s Heroism Award during a ceremony in Portland on Feb. 28. Montano belongs to Troop 1 in Portland.

“This is a big deal,” Troop 1 scoutmaster John Hume told the BDN Monday. “The kids are always taught first aid and rescue techniques. Most of us take CPR, and most of us never use it. Parker was able to put his training to use when people needed it most. You need to make a conscious choice to act [in a situation like the one Montano faced], when realizing full well that everybody’s going to be watching you. … Parker took action, and that takes a level of courage that’s not common.”

Montano was on vacation with his family last July when the incidents occurred. He was swimming in the deep end of a hotel pool in New Jersey when the larger boy grabbed onto him, according to a news release issued Monday by the local Boy Scouts unit.

“The pool did not have a lifeguard,” the release reads. “Both boys went underwater momentarily, and on resurfacing, the boy told Parker he couldn’t swim. Parker used rescue techniques learned in Boy Scouts to take control over the larger boy and get him to safety.”

Montano was still catching his breath at the side of the pool when he was called into action again. A woman at the scene began screaming that her daughter had gone underwater without resurfacing.

“Parker scanned the pool and located the approximately 12-year-old girl,” the Troop 1 account of the incident reads. “He swam to the girl and dove to rescue her. He pulled her to the surface and swam her to the side of the pool, to waiting adults. The girl began coughing and was able to start breathing again.”

Montano said in a statement his reaction to the two pleas for help was “like an impulse.”

“It seemed like what was right at the moment,” he said. “My mind processed it later. The fear dawned on you over what happened, and then there was a sense of relief that you were there and could help.”

The Boy Scouts of America’s Heroism Award was given to 155 of the organization’s roughly 2.7 million members in 2012. That means fewer than one out of every 17,000 scouts earned the award last year. Hume said when the Feb. 28 ceremony takes place, it will be the first time he’s seen one awarded in his 40 years involved with scouting.

“[Parker] believes there is good in the world and sometimes it needs a helping hand,” Peter Montano, Parker’s father, said in the release. “I have never been so proud of my son.”

Parker Montano is pursuing Eagle Scout status, one of the highest levels attainable in the organization. He also is an accomplished runner who is scheduled to represent Maine as part of the East Central Conference cross country team in an international meet in Australia this summer, the Troop 1 release stated.

Morals to the story:  Post a lifeguard when you swim (do not swim alone); if you have a choice, swim with Boy Scouts around who can pull you out if you get into trouble.

BSA awarded 66 honor medals and 155 other heroism medals in 2012; I know of no list of the awardees.  Does anyone keep such history?

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