Tuesday, January 26, 2010


On Tuesday, the troop was joined by a large group of cub scouts from several different packs. The main presentation was given by Greg B. and Brett C. Greg’s presentation was about his community: Anderson Township. An interesting fact he shared was that Anderson is named after Richard Clough Anderson who was one of the first settlers in the area (this is also where we get the name of Clough Pike). He also told the troop about how the trustees are working to improve Beechmont Avenue’s image. Greg also wanted to remind everyone that Turpin is a BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL.

The other part of the presentation was by Brett and it was about his community: the City of Cincinnati. Some facts he wanted to share with the group included: Music Hall was built in 1878, lots of buildings and some schools in Cincinnati are being renovated because they don’t have any air conditioning, and the fountain in Fountain Square was built by Tyler Davison.

The game during the meeting last night was Knock Out and everyone had lots of fun.

Jack Van Keuren, Historian

Friday, January 22, 2010


The lock-in was held at Beechmont Racquet Club. It began at 9:00 pm Friday and ended at 6:00 am Saturday. During the entire event, the scouts had free reign of the entire complex. The first event was rock climbing, followed by swimming. Later at 2:00 am, there was a huge Dodge Ball tournament. A few scouts attempted to go to sleep and were later ambushed by the other scouts and pelted with dodge balls. Everyone loved the unlimited soda. Finally everyone had to leave around 6:00 am because The Racquet Club was opening again, but everyone had a good time anyway. (Special thanks to Ben H. for taking notes for me.)

Jack Van Keuren, Historian

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


What does one get when combining two-to-four boxes full of fried chicken, a spread of all sorts of side dishes and deserts, lots of hungry scouts, and a bunch of awards and patches that need to go out and won’t transmit through the Internet no matter how hard people try? The answer: a Court of Honor. Three times each year (Winter, Spring, and Fall), the troop holds a large picnic-like meeting at the church or, in the Spring only, at Moundview Park, and if one wants to see a buffet table of food disappear in less than 30 minutes, the start of any Court of Honor is the place to be.

At the latest Court of Honor, most of the usual was in place: large color guard with following grace to open the “Court;” rank advancement presented through the Trail to Eagle around the hall; and the Special Presentations - all usual traits of any Court of Honor. For this CoH, however, there had to be made a specific speech for Steven LaCount, who was awarded his Eagle Scout patch at the end of the Trail to Eagle. Following the Trail, Mrs. Carwile distributed merit badges scouts had earned in between this CoH and the last one.

It was after merit badges had been passed out, that the slideshow was to be shown. After a brief introduction for the slideshow by yours truly, the creator of the slideshow; Mr. Katt, was in the control booth to make sure everything went well in starting the show. For the next fifteen minutes, a quick review of the just-past year was presented to the audience, including events that not everybody had gone on (or seen). And some other events that certain people would just as soon forget ever happened, much less be displayed via projector to most of the troop.

Following the slideshow and the appointment of new youth staff members, there were the Special Presentations. There were quite a few. Most of the early ones were special awards and patches, such as the patch for going on the Survivor campout back in fall of last year, and so on. Other presentations was the assigning of new Assistant Scoutmasters, making clear some new troop policies, and talking about upcoming events such as the Lock-In at the Beechmont Racquet Club. Towards the end of the presentations was a little anthology given by me, as I was leaving the post of Historian, which I had held since around February of last year. I gave thanks to everybody for the great support they had all given me over the course of my two terms and I wish my successor to the post of Historian: Jack Van Keuren, that he will be as well received by everybody in the post as I was. I was slightly confused at the start of my speech, only later to learn that everybody was laughing at the projector screen being undecided if it wanted to go up or stay down and everybody except me seeing it go up and down with the oblivious speaker continuing on with his speech.

To close almost every mass-troop event, a CoH being no exception, there is a Scoutmaster’s “minute” which the Scoutmaster, in this case Dr. Reynolds, can give a “short” talk about anything he wants to talk about. For this CoH, he changed things up a little; instead of outright talking, he demonstrated (with his son, Avery, to help out) how easy it was to get the Tenderfoot rank, with some necessary cheats (such as not having to repeat some basic physical activities after thirty days). Things got real interesting when of all people, Dr. Reynolds screwed up on the second line of the Scout Oath! He quickly recovered and eventually got through the whole list of Tenderfoot requirements (although how he completed the “Scoutmaster Conference” might bring up questions about his sanity if he’s having conversations with himself), but messing up on the Oath might be something he won’t be able to live down for a few weeks, give or take. The “Minute” had taken around 10-15 minutes, a humorous juxtaposition to Eliot H.’s really short closing prayer that lasted all of 15 seconds.

Note by the writer: If it hasn’t been said before; Jack van Keuren took over as Historian at this CoH, so this will be my last Historian’s report for Troop 281. I have accepted the job as the Historian/Scribe for Troop 1314, the National Jamboree troop that 281 is part of, so this isn’t the last of my reports, just a break after writing these things for almost a year. I’d like to thank Mr. Rechtin, again, for all of his invaluable help in getting these reports edited and posted onto their own special blog, and to thank everyone who has been saved the trouble of having to interrogate their own scouts as if giving them a root canal just for basic information about troop events. Please remember to try and get a copy of my first term’s reports from the troop website (there are instructions there under the “forms” section), and for those who like my writings so much that they can’t wait for the sequel, there should be a second collection of all the other reports of my second term coming out later this year, so keep an eye out for it.

Until next time,

Ben Hallenbeck, 281 Historian

Editor’s note: Ben has what some teachers refer to as a “voice” - a unique and memorable style of writing that transcends and enriches content. That voice is getting stronger, more articulate, and even more creative. No matter what he does, I hope he continues to write. It’s been a lot of fun to edit his work and see those skills develop.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


With the holiday break over, a new year rung in, and the kids forced out of warm beds at a seemingly unnatural hour to go back to school, it was time for Troop 281 to resume the Tuesday meetings. It was an important meeting, as new Patrol Leaders had to be elected to replace the old ones at the upcoming Court of Honor. While the elections didn’t take that long, the soon-to-be Patrol Leaders were not announced until the end of the meeting.

After the elections was the Skill session for that night. Led by John R., it was another 101 course in the basics of some field of knowledge needed by all Boy Scouts. This night it was Tree and Plant Identification. Quickly reviewing all the need-to-know aspects on identifying plant life in the wilderness, the review of natural skills was a good refresher course for older scouts and for younger scouts still working on the identification requirements for higher ranks. It served as a good explanation for just how to do it.

Towards the end of the skill session, it was noticed that some of the adults and youth staff were putting up what can only be described as “The Net.” The fact “The Net” was being put up meant that some part of the game to be played involved flying balls, and usually the most common game involving flying balls was the always-popular dodge ball! While dodge ball was the game of the night, this meeting had a somewhat different version of the activity. The main idea of the game is closely related to how “Ultimate Football” or “Ultimate Frisbee” is played, as there is only one ball in play and the person holding the ball can only take one step before having to toss the ball at someone. If someone goes out, then everybody that was eliminated from the game because of that person get s to come back in, and so the chaos would keep going. As usual, Alex R. was the primary target of practically everybody in the game, or at least until Will C. got Nick B. out right as Nick had tossed the ball to Will. The opinion held by Nick towards Will was something along the lines of “BACKSTABBER!” throughout the rest of the game.

It had been a mad frenzy of the same purple dodge ball flying back and forth in the meeting hall when the last call to fall in was made. After Avery asked how the rest of the scouts had enjoyed the game of “Ultimate Dodge Ball” (to which there was resounding cheers of approval from everybody), the new Patrol Leaders were announced: Justin K. for the Flaming Arrows, Alex S. for the Falcons, Nick B. for the still-unnamed joint patrol formed from the Kodiak Bears and Vikings as of last meeting, and Greg B. was re-elected for the Hurricanes (who also had a much higher attendance turnout than usual). After the new leaders were announced, the troop formed its ever-ritualistic circular amoeba shape and Dr. Reynolds told an inspiring story about a New Orleans fisherman who was constantly lending aid and support even after losing everything because of Hurricane Katrina and suffering back problems. With that story of Good Sumaritanism in the air, the troop joined hands and did the single clap to end the meeting.

Ben Hallenbeck, Historian

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Historian’s Note: A collection of my little Historian Blurbs, complete up to the Water sports campout from last year (with extra contributions from Ben M. and Nick B, who provided post-campout details when I was unable to go on those campouts), will be available soon, perhaps by the time the next newsletter gets out. For those interested, it will contain a cover page detailing instructions as to how to print it out and add it to the memories for scouts to look back upon years from now.