Showing posts from 2018

Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

Properly tended, cast iron will not rust nor will it emit the retchsome reek of rancid oil. Why anyone would consider cooking food in a vessel coated with rancid oil, I cannot conceive. Another consequence of the old Troop 451 method is that the iron, predictably, rusts.

This time, while we had no rusty iron to remediate (a first, I think!) we did find most of the iron reeking of rancidity. Yuck!

The proper care is trivially simple. Clean the vessel in whichever way you wish. Detergent and steel wool will NOT harm a properly seasoned piece of cast iron. This because of the nature of the chemistry involved in seasoning. Like so many real-world processes, this too can be understood by the application of scientific understanding.

The root problem is that iron metal and oxygen gas (O2 in the air that we breathe) combine readily in the presence of water. This is an energetically-favorable reaction that occurs spontaneously and water acts as a catalyst in the process. The end product is iro…

Tonkawa District Youth Leadership Training, 2018

On November 16th, 2018, Troop 451 once again presented the Tonkawa District Youth Leadership Training at Hills and Hollows Scout Camp in Denton, Texas. This training supplements that now-standard Youth Leadership Training (YLT) that all Scouts should attend, typically within their first year. In the past, leadership training had three phases, YLT, Brownsea, and National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), known, in the Longhorn Council, as "Twin Arrows". "Brownsea" was intermediate-level - more advanced than YLT and less intense than Twin Arrows, it was long the prerequisite for that more-advanced training. Named after an island in Poole Harbor, England, where Lord Baden Powell first held leadership training campouts for his original Boy Scouts, Brownsea was long a staple of the BSA leadership training mission. For reasons unfathomable to this long-time Scouter, a few years ago, Brownsea was eliminated in favor of taking Scouts directly from YLT to NYLT. Many in t…

Farewell to a Friend

It is with a very sad heart that I write in memory of a friend and mentor. We are all the poorer for the passing of a great Scout and Scouter, Tom Moore

General Thomas Joseph Moore passed away on Friday, September 28th, 2018 at the age of 80. His Scouting career spanned 70 years and two continents. 
A Scout's Scout Tom joined the BSA in September of 1947 when he was 9 years old. He started as a Cub Scout with Pack 66 out of Fort Bliss in the Yucca Council.  Tom’s Dad, like Tom himself, was a military man and Tom grew up in many different locales. In 1950, he moved to Norfolk, Virginia and became a member of Pack 59. As a Webelo, he earned Cub Scouting’s highest award, the Arrow of Light.
He then bridged to Troop 59, also with the Tidewater Council and earned his Tenderfoot and Second Class Scout ranks. In 1951, he headed overseas and continued Scouting with Troop 43 out of Salzburg, Austria, with the EUCOM Council. In Austria, he earned the ranks of First Class, Star, and Life and s…

Week One, Post-Geiger 2018

Thursday, July 19th is our next Troop Committee meeting.

Every Scouter, new and old alike, should plan to attend this meeting. We convene at 7:00 pm in Room 305 of the Family Life Center at FUMC (upstairs, where we meet on Monday nights).

Our troop sits at something of a crossroads at present. Last year, a very large class of our Scouts aged-out and we are going to see the same this year. Many of those of us in leadership positions either no longer have sons in the troop or soon will not have. As we prepare for our future, your input is invaluable. Troop 451 needs you!

Troop 451 has long been well-served by Scouters who do not have boys in the program and for this, we are grateful. I feel certain that we will continue to benefit from the service of such dedicated volunteers in the future. Nonetheless, it is time for the parents of current Scouts to step up and start to share in more of the work needed to keep our troop successful. Many of our most dedicated Scouters were themselves Bo…

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 - The Week We Had!

Home Again, Home Again . . .
Our week at camp has concluded and the Scouts and Scouters of Troop 451 are now back with their families, enjoying the luxuries of a familiar shower and one's own bed. It is great to be home again with our loved ones though it is sad to leave Camp Geiger behind.

Camp Geiger is a special place and it is always good to be there. Those who have attended camp there develope a feeling for the camp that is stronger than many folks feel towards their alma maters. It has that big an impact on campers.

You may find that your Scout, especially if this is his first time at Camp Geiger, talks of little else this coming week. This is normal and, in time, the conversation should return to more mundane matters. The Scouters of Troop 451 strive to deliver a first-rate Scouting program to every boy who can benefit from it and we know there are far more who could than we actually reach. One aspect of that striving is to provide an outstanding summer camp experience for …

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 - Homeward Bound!

As is our wont, the indomitable Scouts and Scouters of Troop 451 rose circa 6:15 this morning to strike camp and load up our gear. Scout Master Steve Kral and Assistant Scoutmaster Mark Lampe ably directed those Scouts who returned to camp after the Camp Geiger Carnival last night. They disassembled and packed the Troop 451 entryway sign (as seen on TV!) Along with similar duties performed, these folks really gave us a big start on today's labors. Those who duties kept them elsewhere last night extend a hearty "Thank you!" for their good work.

Without the capacious rental truck that we have hired in years past, packing up went more slowly this year than last but it nevertheless went well. Getting most of our gear into the larger of our two white trailers requires more careful packing than we have needed the past few trips to Geiger. Under the able direction of Steve Kral, we made highly efficient use of space. Most of the boys pitched-in to one degree or another but Jere…

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 The longest day of 2018 was the day of our tapping fire. Tapping fire is the most elaborate of the tribal ceremonies for the tribe of Mic-O-Say and it is a public event. Everyone in camp and their friends and family are welcome to attend the ritualized process by which candidates for membership are recognized. This great event started with all the campers who are not yet tribesmen assembling at the Handicraft Corral towards dusk, about 8:20 pm. As noted earlier this week, Camp Geiger is full this week and this meant that last night's spectacle was the largest your correspondent has yet had the privilege to attend. Once everyone is ready, four Honorary Warriors in full regalia guide the campers as they process, single file, from the corral to the site of the Story Fire. This year, once again, two members of Troop 451 were accorded the honor of escorting the campers. Village Blade (our Scoutmaster) and Spirit Paint (your correspondent) walked along with th…

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

For most of the Scouts and Scouters of Troop 451, today began at the more reasonable-seeming hour of 6:45. This enabled our table waiters and the Scouters supervising that crew to be at the dining hall in ample time to discharge their important duties. The menu featured scrambled eggs and sausage patties, with milk and cereal as alternative/supplemental fare.

At the Flag Plaza  (The place of the flags, where the flags hang out and blow in the wind, all day long, right side up) this morning, we had the honor of hoisting the Texas flag in recognition of our "cleanest campsite' achievement. The color guard was comprised of Aidan Zentner, Landon Pratt, Kaleb Rutherford, and Christian Woehler.

The morning, as for the night, has been cool - about 60 F. Today's high is predicted to reach a balmy 72. It is for this kind of change in the weather that we advise our Scouts to pack a hoodie or the like. Thankfully, it seems that all heeded the advice so we see no blue skin contrastin…

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Another long, fun day at Camp Geiger draws to a close. The boys are (mostly) in their tents, on their cots, trying to sleep. A few are still lined up to take their showers and one is working an unexpected repair to his Mic-O-Say costume. Thus, comparative quiet has descended on our humble campsite, Sioux Lookout.

For several of your Troop 451 Scouters, the day started earlier than usual, as they arose to volunteer at the dining hall at 5:00 am. Yes, preparing pancakes and bacon for 570 souls requires more hands than the kitchen staff routinely employs. Thus, traditionally, this affords an opportunity for spirited Scouters to render some service to other people. Your troop provided four volunteers: Jessica Harris, Kevin Hollenshead, Phillip Pratt, and your correspondent. Jessica allowed as how she understood the ins and outs of food service wrap (which, in truth, can take a bit of doing to handle successfully) so she assumed duties at the wrapping station.

Kevin Hollenshead and Phillip…

Rain, Rain . . .

Well, we dodged this hydrological bullet last evening but now we are under the trailing edge of a large storm system stretching nearly from Witchita, Kansas to Waterloo, Iowa. The much-needed precipitation is currently coming down in torrents. No strong winds seem to accompany this system and so there is no need for us to make use of the emergency storm shelters that grace each campsite. However, some lightning was reported and thus, everyone is required to be in a structure, under a roof.

For your correspondent, happily ensconced in the Leader's Lounge in Herzog Lodge, sheltering in place is no hardship (rather the opposite, actually). For some of the souls in camp this week, accommodations may not be so comfortable. Needless to say, being cooped-up precludes being able to follow our Scouts around to their various classes and activities to capture their expereinces in digital media (I almost wrote "on film"! How dated of me!)

I mentioned in an earlier post that Sunday n…

Home Thoughts from Missouri

Oh, to be in Texas
Now that June is there,
And whoever wakes in Texas
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in full green leaf,
While the mocker sings on the mesquite bough
In Texas—now!
(With apologies to Robert Browning)

One concern many parents have as they send their young men off in the company of others to spend a week in the 'wilds' of Missouri is how will their sons be without them. This is a fair question. While we have gotten to know one another in the few months since our new Scout families joined the Troop 451 family, in many ways, we veteran Scouters are still nearly unknown to the newer parents and vice versa.

When else would we send those who are most dear to us so far away with such recent friends? For many of our first year Scouts, this will be among their first experiences so far from home and homesickness is a real possibility, especially but not exclusively, for our first-time campers.

We do …

Tuesday morning, June 19th, 2018

Another dawn, another day!

The earth here in St. Joseph is unseasonably dry and the farmers could really use the rain. We nevertheless, with some guilty feelings, welcomed the lack of rain last night. The night was cool and breezy but, blessedly, uneventful. While summer camp is an exciting adventure, it is nice not to have too much excitement during sleeping hours. While it is a comfort to know that a safe, sturdy refuge is right nearby, should the need arise, it is more comforting to have no such need.

Rain is still in the forecast for later today and through the remainder of the week. We are well-prepared and will take such eventuality in stride, as it comes. One of the salient benefits of participating in Scouting is that our young men learn a substantial degree of self-reliance. They also learn to serve others. It is great to watch as our older boys help their younger Scout colleagues adjust to life at summer camp.

This was seen, for example, Sunday morning when we unloaded our t…

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Our first full day at Camp Geiger has been a rousing success. This is just as expected, so far, but it is always a delight when reality actually matches our high expectations.

Sunday was warm and sunny, with highs in the mid-90s - not different, really, from Flower Mound at that same time. So why go to all the way Missouri? The answer becomes obvious as the evening approaches and things cool down noticeably. By bedtime, it was still warm but sleep was reasonably comfortable under a single bedsheet on top of one's sleeping bag.

Our day started sometime before reveille as folks rose and headed to our in-camp showers for a refreshing, reinvigorating rinse. Reveille sounds across the camp at 7:00 am, well after the morning sun has risen past the horizon, and the campsite is fully lit by then. At 7:15 sounds the "waiters' call," summoning the day's table waiters to the dining hall.

Dining at Geiger is done 'family style.' The tables in the dining hall seat eig…

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

Whoo hoo! We're on the way! Hey, hey!!

Once again, intrepid Scouts and Scouters of our beloved Troop 451 are wending their weary way Northward, to St. Joseph Missouri and Camp Geiger.

We gathered at First United Methodist Church of Lewisville, our Charter Organization, starting at 9:30 pm. In a not-unprecedented eventuality, almost everyone arrived at the stated time. Past experience has conditioned us to expect that if we say we are leaving at 10:00 pm, some folks will show up somewhat thereafter. Thus, we fudged a bit for a planned 10:30 departure. Apologies to those good folks who arrived at the posted time.

Our transportation this year was arranged courtesy of Tempus Transportation, which is owned by Troop 451's own Morales family. And what transportation it is! We have been accustomed to comfortable, well-appointed buses and this year is no exception. If anything, it exceeds our high expectations and for this, we are grateful.

To start our journey through the dark middle …