Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Owls and Hawks and Flying Tennis Balls, Oh My!

At the most recent troop meeting, the scouts were treated to a little presentation by Raptor Inc., a non-profit company that rescues, rehabilitates, and educates about birds of prey. The presenters, who introduced themselves as Dan and Bob, talked about local birds of prey and allowed some preserved bird claws to be passed around in the seated scouts. Dan and Bob had also brought three birds that were considered “permanently injured,” or in other words had problems that would prevent them from being able to live properly, and so can not be released back into nature. In order of presentation, the birds Dan and Bob had brought were a Great Horned Owl, a tiny Eastern Screech Owl, and a feisty Red Tailed Hawk. The Great Horned Owl was reasonably behaved, but the Screech Owl made a small release of excess weight on the church floor, and the hawk constantly wanted to try taking off in flight as well as leaving some excess weight on the ground as well. Overall, the presentation was well received by the Troop, and Dan and Bob were thanked for taking the time to come out and talk about the birds.

After helping load all the stuff Dan and Bob had brought so they could return the birds home (and let that Hawk go and fly, no doubt), the scouts began to play a game called “Wall Ball”, which is like playing dodge ball except with tennis balls tossed at the wall. I can only describe the scene of scouts playing the game as a fast-moving mass of flailing limbs and green dots bouncing all over creation. Elsewhere, some level of sanity had been preserved as Boards of Review were being held for several scouts who were ready to go to the next rank, and from what I know is that all scouts who had been ‘reviewed’ will get their next rank patch at the next Court of Honor.

After full sanity had been restored by ending the Wall Ball game, several new appointments were announced and sworn in. First, five scouts were sworn in as new Den Chiefs, they being: Elliot Horstman, Steven Kuharski, Alex Stringfellow, and Grant and Ross King. The new Den Chief Counslor; Mr. Dunham, was sworn in after them, and lastly, Steven LaCount was sworn in as the new Chaplain’s Aide.

-Ben Hallenbeck; Troop Historian

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flying Eagles and Swim School

For this week’s Historian column, I will be covering two events: Zack Obbie’s Eagle Ceremony and the swim meet at Anderson High School’s indoor pool, as they both happened in the past week.

On Sunday, April 19th, a gathering of scouts, parents, and friends assembled the church’s Fellowship Hall to attend another Eagle Court, this time to grant Zack Obbie the revered, lofty rank of Eagle Scout. After Mr. McNeese welcomed all who had come and called the “Court” to order, Dillon Whitehead led the color guard to post the colors. The “Trail to Eagle”, a staple presentation of eagle ceremonies and courts of honor in the troop, explained each rank in detail ranging from the starting rank of Scout to Life Scout. When the Life Scout rank was done, the curtain on the stage rose to reveal a giant replica of the Eagle Scout medal, and present on the stage were three of Troop 281’s Eagle Scouts: Jason Whitehead, Chase Whitehead, and Mr. Siebenburgen, who spoke in turns while explaining what the Eagle Scout rank and badge truly meant. To finish the “Trail to Eagle,” Dr. Reynolds, Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout himself, presented Zack and his parents with the Eagle medal, Eagle lapel pin (for Mrs. Obbie), Eagle tie pin (for Mr. Obbie), and everything else that comes with the Eagle Scout rank. Zack then knelt before a cross, asking God for assistance to help him as an Eagle Scout, after which Dr. Reynolds presented Zack to the audience as an Eagle Scout at last. When the Ceremony was finished, Zack had this to say about finally becoming an Eagle Scout, “I feel relieved, a lot less stressed, and glad that I’ve finally got what I’ve worked towards for so long.” Zack has a bright future ahead of him, and his new rank as an Eagle Scout will no doubt help him towards his own goals that lie before him.

Following Zack’s Eagle Ceremony was the most recent meeting, which was one of the more special events: swim night. Unlike the usual meetings in the church, swim night takes place at the pool located inside Anderson High School, near the church. Starting at an early time of 7:00, compared to typical scout meetings, the night got rolling quickly on its main focus, the BSA swim test. Every year, the scouts need to be tested to see if they can prove that they are a swimmer under BSA standards, adults as well. The test consists of swimming 100 yards, 25 of which must be done in some form of backstroke (which translates into 4 laps back and forth in the pool with the last one being done in backstroke), then be able to do the “dead man’s float” for 10 seconds. It’s a relatively simple test that as far as I know, everybody passed as a “swimmer,” adults as well. After everybody was tested, the scouts played in the shallow end of the pool, did some crazy diving board tricks, or worked on rank advancement with older scouts by learning different types of water rescue before everyone was dismissed and waited for their rides home before going out into the chilly air outside.

Ben Hallenbeck, troop historian

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meeting Synopsis for April 14

The troop meeting last week was focused on planning for the upcoming campout: Color War Rematch! The first Color War got rained out by an unending deluge of cold raindrops and was forced to end early on Saturday before some of the big competitions could occur. This time, however, when Senior Patrol Leader Will Carlson was asked if the gods wouldn’t rain on the parade this time for Color War, he said “I talked to them, and I think I got it sorted over,” so the weather should be better this time around. Then the scouts broke up into patrol corners and began planning what their menus would be on the campout. The Flaming Arrow patrol, being the newest scout patrol, did not plan a menu for some reason, but they say they will have a patrol meeting and will figure out their plans by the next meeting.

When preliminary plans for Color War were made, it was time for the game, which to everybody’s delight was the ever-popular Dodgeball! Judging by the mad scurry for the balls when the game started, it was quite evident that things were going to get furious. Noah quickly got attacked by an onslaught in the form of raining dodge balls that he could not avoid. All through the games of Dodgeball, there were a few participants that were clearly the most aggressive players on the field: Mr. Adkerson and Alex Rye on one team, Mr. Black and Dillon Whitehead on the other.

After everybody was done trying to kill each other by pelting soft foam balls across the room, the scouts fell in for some final announcements. Some final comments on the flower sale were made, and Mr. Dan Katt was sworn in as the new troop Chaplain before the scouts circled up and called it a night.

Ben Hallenbeck, Troop 281 Historian

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Playing in the Rain

At the latest Troop 281 meeting, the shirt to wear was not the usual tan color with too many pockets that is the usual dress code, but the Troop 281 logo shirt, or the "Class B" as it is known. The reason for the alternate dress was that the meeting was the "Outdoor Sports" meeting, where the focus was playing games outside. Apparently the heavens did not like that, and around the time the scouts finally got out to the front churchyard, the rain had started to pour. The scouts would not be deterred from their games, however, and split up into two groups based on height and age. The younger scouts were going to play football, and the older scouts at first played ultimate Frisbee, but later switched over to football as well. Eventually the rain got so heavy that all the scouts chose to go back in the church to do the non-active things in the meeting's agenda.

When the scouts had gotten back into their patrol positions, the new troop Committee Treasurer; Lynette Moughton, was sworn in as the newest adult working for the troop. Then Bret Carwile, the Order of the Arrow representative of the troop, had switched into full uniform after the games had ended. So everyone headed outside to the little yard adjacent to the external Scout Room door to have the new OA members inducted, even though it was still raining.

At the induction, everybody formed a circle while Bret and some assistants stood in the center and explained what the OA was to everyone in case there was someone who didn't know what it was. Bret and his little entourage then went around the circle, bringing his hand down on the shoulder of everybody who was a new OA inductee. Those new inductees being: Grant King, Steven LaCount, Avery Reynolds, Mr. Van Kuren, and Alex Rye (Alex, evidently thinking everybody was circled up for a game of duck duck goose, tried to switch is location so Bret couldn't *tag* him). After the new inductees had been assembled in the center and Bret explained what they were now, everybody rejoined the circle and closed the meeting with the traditional Crossed-Hands circle, all the while the rain coming down even harder by that point, so when the meeting was over everybody quickly went inside the church to get out of the downpour.

Ben Hallenbeck, Historian