Showing posts from 2010

Like Thanksgiving, except there's no turkey.

As the sun began to set on the Anderson Hills United Methodist Church, the scouts of Troop 281 were once again packing up for a campout. It was clear from the massive amounts of food being loaded into the trailer that the campout in question could not be anything other than FeastFest; another one of Troop 281's 'signature' campouts. With FeastFest, it is a celebration of, well, food. Each patrol (Staff included!) is in charge of some aspect of the giant setup of food that in some cases could be considered a second Thanksgiving, only without the Turkey or other major Thanksgiving staples, but more on that later.

Going back to the start of the campout, the usual challenge of getting both troop and personal gear to fit inside the trailer, things already had gotten off to an unusual start. As it turned out; the church was holding a big play that same night, so the parking lot was parked up and forced the scouts to load up the trailer from the curbside under the giant columns. W…

Color War 2010: Silence is golden, DUCT TAPE IS SILVER!

For the weekend of November 19th-21st, the weather may have been growing colder, but the level of competitiveness was only growing hotter by the second, for it was time for Color Wars: Fall 2010! One of Troop 281’s major “signature” events, the various patrols spend a weekend competing against each other through various challenges all in order to claim bragging rights of being the best patrol in the troop…until the next color war, that is.

War was officially declared between the patrols Saturday morning after Flag Raising by the start of one of the most infamous aspects of the campout: flag stealing (where patrols try to steal the flags from other patrols and sneak them to SPL Alex to score a point). Flag stealing was allowed during the entire campout on Saturday, but that wasn’t the only way to win Color Wars. In addition to the ongoing flag stealing, there were periodic challenges that the patrols had to face in order to win points and beat out the other teams. The first set of these…


At the meeting for November 9th, there wasn't all that much to do for the scouts. The most important thing that was on the "to do" list was that the scouts needed to finish the planning and equipment sign-out for the upcomming Color Wars campout. The sheets for these actions had run out before the previous meeting, so more needed to be made.When that was done with, the next activity was something of a surprise: it was the first event for Color Wars! This event was simple: each patrol would be a team, with all patrols competing against each other in a relay. However, instead of simply running around a track with a little stick, here the objective was to tie a specified knot in front of a "referee" before running back to the rest of the patrol and tagging the next person to go off. While one would have expected the oldest scouts, the Duct Tape patrol, to have easily won the challenge, there were only two scouts who actually ran the relay because all the other mem…

Fahrenheit 281?

The first Troop meeting for November coincided with a sudden drop in temperature outside, so in the interest of keeping warm, the skill session for this night was firebuilding. Led by Avery Reynolds and Steven LaCount, the skill session once again largely served more for the benefit of the younger scouts since all the older scouts should know everything that was spoken about in the lesson. That only makes it more amusing that one scout (who will not be named for Internet security reasons) tried to look like a brainiac of fire building when he began reading directly from the Scout Handbook section on firebuilding, even though the skill session was not "open note" so to speak.

When firebuilding lessons were over, the meeting shifted into planning for the infamous "color wars" campout. The main focus of Color Wars is for an intra-troop competition between all the patrols to see who is the best and is worthy of associated bragging rights up until the next Color War. The…

The Return of Moosehead One

At the most recent Troop meeting, it was time for the Personal Management skill session. Personal Management is an Eagle required merit badge that does take at least 3 months to complete (and it can't be rushed like other, simpler merit badges), so it's best for scouts to earn it early on to get it out of the way. To earn a merit badge, one requires a merit badge counselor, and former Assistant Scoutmaster Bill Ossman is a counselor for that badge, the original member of the "Mooseheads" (the nickname given to the Assistant Scoutmasters) and an all-around awesome guy to know. Mr. Ossman returned to visit to the troop and presented the skill session for the scouts. Keeping the atmosphere constantly filled with an air of humor with his duck jokes, Mr. Ossman nevertheless stressed the importance of the badge and covered all the basics that a scout needs to attain it, such as how small expenditures on small snacks and "girlfriend-things" can turn out to be a v…

Survivor 2010 pictures by Tom Carlson

Getting lost
On the trail

Break time

Signalling for help?

Setting up camp
Home sweet home
Returning to civilization

Finding Scouts in a Cornmaze

It was time for another one of the new "fun nights" that have been added to the monthly schedule for Troop 281, so in the sprit of the harvest seasons the scouts went off to go check out a nearby corn maze at Farm Haven in Kentucky. Getting there took a little while, and there was some initial confusion as to how the heck we were supposed to get from a church parking lot to the farm (due to all the signs pointing to the farm not being lit), but eventually the group made it up to the farm.

After the adults paid the admission price for everybody, the Scouts raced across the open field to the entrance of the maze, eager to loose themselves within the tall corn stalks. A watchtower of sorts was located quickly, but as several scouts climbed up the ladder it was discovered the hatch was locked. Some scouts kept trying to get up the watchtower to see what little they could of the maze while others left on their own to actually try to get out of the rows of corn. It took a while, bu…

More Corn Maze Pictures from Tom Carlson

The other submission for Oct. 12, 2010 was photoed, written and laid out entirely by our troop Historian, Ben Hallenbeck. I couldn't resist posting the following pictures, submitted by an Assistant Scoutmaster as well. Thanks Tom Carlson. (Editor)

Survival Tactics

This past meeting (10/5/10) happened to be the first one held in the month of October, which is usually the time when all sorts of scary things start to happen, such as pumpkins suddenly appearing outside of houses and Kings Island advertising the heck out of its “Halloween Haunt” once again. In the spirit of being scared, it seems natural that the camp out for this month is the (in)famous “Survivor” camp out, which most of this meeting was focused on planning out.

Before the planning could begin, Greg B. held a skill session on making survival shelters that would be necessary if stuck in the middle of nowhere for a multitude of reasons, one of the biggest being to keep oneself warm at night without a tent or sleeping bag. This was very important for the new scouts, who probably haven’t had to make survival shelters before, as well as the older scouts in the idea that this skill session was a “refresher” course on how to keep their butts dry over two cold October nights.

After shelter b…

Honoring Achievements

At last week's court of honor, the scouts and their parents gathered at the church to attend the tri-seasonal get-together (there is no CoH in Summer). With everybody bringing some sort of treat to put on the conncessions table in the back, everything was set for a nice night.

SPL Alex R. welcomed everybody to the CoH to get things started before handing off the microphone to Noah R. for a slideshow on the National Jamboree. Most of the attendees at the CoH had not gone to the Jamboree, so it was an interesting insight into one of the biggest Scoutting events ever. After the Jambo slideshow, Alex resumed the microphone for a quick slideshow about the various eagle projects that had been done this year, one of the hardest requirements for the Eagle Scout rank.

Following the slideshows, it was time for the presentation of the various badges. Merit Badges, rank patches, and some special presentations were all given out to those who had earned them. A few of these were to scouts who eit…

Equipment 101

At the most recent meeting after the new scout induction campout, it was time for some boards of review. However, for the majority of scouts who didn’t/couldn’t get a board of review, it was mostly a presentation on troop equipment handling and care. Considering that various articles of equipment were supposed to be returned that night, it was very appropriate.

Led by Brett C., the presentation covered everything and anything that a scout needed to know if they wanted to take out an article of troop equipment. For the new scouts, it was a quick way to bring them up to speed as to how campouts were usually planned out, while for the older scouts it was a much-needed refresher for those who had forgotten what the three bins in the patrol box were there for (answer: how the cutlery and most cooking equipment is cleaned for the next meal). All throughout his seminar, Brett tossed out little Dum-Dum suckers to those who answered questions right that resulted in a little chaos created when G…

A Ceremony of Fire and Ice Cream

It is a tradition within Troop 281 to hold an induction ceremony on the first campout of a new scouting year. All newcomers to the troop, be they be fresh out of Cub Scouts or coming over from another Boy Scout Troop, must go through this ritual in order to become part of the troop. However, the newer scouts are kept in the dark about what the ceremony actually is right up until they must take a part in it. This way, there is a feeling of really joining something that is experienced by the new scouts that is more than just signing a bunch of papers in the places specified by their parents.

Beginning in the late afternoon of September 17th, the scouts gathered at the church parking lot to pack up the trailer and head off to Camp Achewon; Troop 281’s own private camping area (used with permission from Mr. Schimpf, who owns and maintains the land). Upon arrival, Brett C. gave a figurative demonstration of how to use the infamous “Green Monster” bucket, the only form of a toilet that was a…

The Invasion of Coco Key

Quote of the meeting: “Oh my god, the water main just broke!” – Will C.

The meeting of September 14th was not a “typical” Troop 281 meeting, to say in the least. Instead, it was the first of a monthly series of “fun meetings” that have been scheduled into the troop calendar, a practice started this year. To kick off this new trend, the destination for the 14th was the Coco Key waterpark and resort, up in Sharonville, Ohio. Several scouts carpooled from the church and arrived around 7:30, but scouts who could get there on their own could get in as early as four in the afternoon. After paying the $10 entry fee, it was just a short walk through the arcade to get to the resort’s main attraction.

While most of the indoor waterpark was scaled more for smaller kids, Coco Key was still a very fun experience for all the scouts. There were a few other people there, namely a couple of kids and their parents, but for the most part the entire waterpark was open for the scouts. The biggest thrills co…

Back to Normality

At this previous meeting, it was time to get planning for the next campout; the new scout induction at Camp Achewon. While the main events would be the exact same as they always would be (namely the giant fire pit and ceremony), the service project this time around will be making outhouse-like structures where the Green Monsters (bucket toilets) can be used so a little more privacy can be given. The procedures for getting the patrols planned were the same as always: everybody who is going has to pay $10 to the grub master, a menu must be decided upon, an equipment checkout sheet must be filled out, and then playing the waiting game for all the other patrols to finish. That previous step took a fair bit longer than usual, but the younger scouts are probably still getting used to planning their own campouts so it can be overlooked.

Eventually, everybody finished up and was ready for the game. To the scout's delight, it was the troop-favorite: dodge ball. Evidently, the guys in charge…

The Scouts Are at it Again!

After an eventful summer that included such memorable events as the Summer Camp at Friedlander and the 2010 National Scout Jamboree, the time had come for Troop 281 to begin another scouting year. The meeting started off on what could be said to be a bittersweet note, as several scouts had left the Troop over the summer for various reasons, but with the newer scout patrols still having many of the scouts who had formed them there doesn't appear to be any omen of low attendance for Troop 281's future.

Tonight also marked the start of Alex Rye's term as SPL, to which he quickly started to perform his job by having all the scouts overcome their inability to grasp advanced geometric shapes and form a half...something out of the benches for a presentation. After some technical difficulties (question: how many scouters does it take to fix a malfunctioning slideshow projector? Answer: at least five) Alex got the ball rolling by breaking down the schedule for the year to come. One …

July 4 Color Guard

On Independence Day, Troop 281 provided Color Guards for the church's traditional services and for the Cincinnati Pops at Riverbend.

Steven L., Avery R., and Elliot H. prepare to present
the colors to the church.

Presenting the colors during "America the Beautiful".

Steven L., Greg B., Avery R., and Brett C. practice onstage at Riverbend.

Stepping into the spotlight during a drumroll.

The Scouts meet Nick Clooney (picture taken by his wife, the mother of George Clooney...)

The flags of the 5 military services are presented while their anthems
are played and members of each service stand to be recognized.


Dear readers,
Thanks for reading. We've ALL had fun this week (year?).
Merit badges and advancements were the LEAST of what we've learned.

This may or may not be the last blog entry for the week. Check again Sunday when you review it with your son. (He's not seen it yet.)

Scroll through the blog again over the last two weeks:
in case you missed somethingfor copying, remembering, or reminiscingremember, if you have the login and password, history CAN be rewritten (Editing this blog can often be messy and we have to make corrections.)Speaking of history, help us write the next chapters. It will be an adventure. We promise.Nick R. (Editor)P.S . See you tonight.


Three long time amigos after the OA Brotherhood Ceremony

Great cobbler, Brett

I can see all next year from here.
Lakeview sunset. Wow!
MHX1 and Noah R. work on a merit badge.
The blog editor being interviewed for Communications merit badge.
One match award attempt

Happy Birthday Gunnar!

Lakeview in the morning.