Showing posts from 2009

Color Wars 2009 Photos by Ben Hallenbeck



At the most recent Troop 281 meeting, Thanksgiving break had already begun for those still in school, including the four visiting Cub Scouts who were with the Flaming Arrows for that night. So the skill session was appropriately all about Dutch Oven cooking and cleaning. Led by Ben M., it was a mostly digital presentation with PowerPoint detailing how to make a very basic but very good Dutch Oven dish: Prison Tacos. (Simple chili mixed in with Fritos after being cooked, sometimes also known as “Walking Tacos” to the older generation.) The skill session was very informative, as Dutch Oven cooking can be a confusing art, cleaning being an even more confusing art as it is a very bad idea to use soap at all to clean up, rather it has to be left all up to water, an un-soapy rag, and good old' elbow grease to clean the iron cooking pot.

The presentation was not over when the power point slides were, however, as outside the Scout Room there had been a Dutch Oven cooking the c…


This previous meeting was mainly focused to hold Boards of Review for scouts who were ready to get to their next rank. However, as usual, most of the Troop did not need a Board of Review (seeing as how there was one not too long ago after the Survivor Campout), so those who were not advancing took part in the skill session of Orienteering, led by SPL Avery R. Using hand-out maps and specialized compasses (provided that the scouts brought their own), Avery went over the basics of Orienteering; ranging from how to set a compass to be able to be used with differing maps to how to orient yourself even without a compass.
Avery’s skill session wasn’t the only one that occurred that night, however, as right after the SPL finished, Scoutmaster Dr. Reynolds started his skill session on dishwashing. For those who don’t know, the Patrol Boxes (those giant brown heavy boxes that always get loaded first into the trailer) are equipped with tubs and tool…


It was time once again for one of the more infamous of Troop 281’s annual campouts: Color Wars! This year, there were only three patrols competing against each other due to there not being enough in either the Viking or Kodiak Bear patrols for them to function as their own patrols, so they were merged with the Hurricane Patrol to be the combined, one-time entity patrol known as the “Bearicanes. The other patrols were the younger - but much more numerous - Falcon and Flaming Arrow Patrols. Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) Avery R. and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) Brett C. also were known to have said that some “surprises” were to be expected this year, not revealing their sinister plans to anyone they didn’t think trustworthy enough. Another difference was the pleasant fact that there was no rain at all this time at Achewon, meaning everybody could perform their best at the challenges to prove their patrol was better than everybody else’s patrol.
Anyway, th…

The Great Video Game Wars (a.k.a. Game Night)

The Historian as a gamer 000 At the most recent Troop 281 meeting, Boards of Review were held for those eligible for the next scout rank, but since only a few scouts were able to participate in a Board of Review, something had to be done for all the other scouts who were attending the meeting. Thus the reason the last meeting was a “Game Night” meeting, or in other words where there is no real objective other than to have fun, a goal which could be reached through several means.

Set up at a few different spots were televisions hooked up to several different video game consoles (a Wii, an Xbox 360, a Gamecube, and another Xbox) where a few scouts could play together in any of the games brought for said consoles. For those who didn’t want to or were waiting to play the video games, there were other non-electronic games, too. Several scouts played basketball and others engaged in various card games. As the night went on, the scouts who had Boards of Review were pulled out periodically, lat…


(Click to enlarge) (Older scouts were north of Gunpowder Creek) (Younger scouts were south of Gunpowder Dreek)
This latest campout was the infamous “Survivor” campout, where the older scouts can test their wilderness survival skills in a real-life situation: getting stuck in a forest without any clue as to where to go and only the ten scout essentials plus the clothes on their backs to help them. Meanwhile, the younger scouts who were not high enough rank to try roughing it in the wilds of Kentucky set up camp by a pre-existing shelter located next to the Gunpowder Creek, their main goal of the weekend being to work on rank advancement, although they too would not have access to as many luxuries as they usually had on a campout due to some restrictions such as having to make all their meals over a campfire. The only two First Class scouts who were with the younger scouts was Ben M, the acting SPL for the non-survivor group, and me as the staff cook.

Friday saw the two groups split …

Photography by Ben Hallenbeck, Troop Historian

Photos from shooting sports campout at Achewon, September 18-29, 2009

Of Survival Skills and Geometry

At last week’s Troop meeting, things got a little crazy. First, the youth staff announced that in November there will be a uniform inspection conducted every meeting to make sure scouts are in complete “Class A” uniform. There was a small commotion when it was added that wearing the “Class B” shirt (the white shirt with the Troop 281 logo on the front) was part of the Class A uniform, since it would be almost completely hidden under the Class A shirt, but eventually the situation was sorted out. After some more announcements, Greg B. told the scouts to form a “half-circle-nonagon” (A nonagon is a nine-sided polygon) for the skill session, although in the end the scouts just formed a half-circle.
Confusing geometric-related commands aside, Greg did a good job of covering the basics of Wilderness Survival, the next campout (location still unknown to most of the Troop). He covered the essentials and the top 7 things anybody needs to survive in the wild for a little while: Water, the abili…

Court of Honor, September 29, 2009


All Tied Up

At last week’s troop meeting, the focus had already started to shift towards the next campout: the “Survivor” Campout, so the theme that night was on lashings. Before the meeting’s activities could begin, however, the standard reciting of the Pledge and both the Scout Oath and Law, and Nick B. led the opening for the meeting perfectly, even though due to a soccer accident he was forced to move around on crutches. When the typical formalities were over with, the scouts reformed into a semi-circle around a table for the lashings skill session, led by Greg B. After a brief review of some basic pioneering knots and lashings, the scouts formed multiple little groups where the older scouts (Hurricane and Viking Patrols) were to teach the younger scouts how to do a tripod lashing. Results were mixed.

After various tripod lashings had been completed, the scouts moved out into the church’s front yard, where the game would be held. The game was the “Chariot Race”, where the individual patrols ha…

Wabbit Season: Now Open!

The latest campout for Troop 281, the first of the new Scouting year, was about two things: the induction of the newest scouts to Troop 281, and the use of the Second Amendment. The trip started out like most trips of Achewon, and up until the explanation of how to use the Green Monster was done, it was rather uneventful.
Then all of a sudden, everybody noticed another van pulling into camp, except this one had a trailer that carried one really big cannon. The scouts were, naturally, excited about the cannon, but they had to go set up their respective camps at that time, so they couldn’t watch the older adults unload the siege weapon. It wasn’t until much later, when the scouts had all gotten their tents pitched, etc. that the full story about the cannon was revealed. As it turned out, the cannon had been brought by a group of Civil War re-enactors, and they were going to show the scouts how a cannon was fired back in the Civil War. Well, they didn’t as so much “show” how as they did “…