Wayne Perry, international commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, was awarded the Silver Hawk Award at a special dinner at the 22nd Asia Pacific Regional Conference held in October 2007 in Tokyo, Japan. The Silver Hawk is the highest Scouting award of the Scout Association of Japan.
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Preparations have already begun for Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet for 2008. New logos have been designed and are ready for promotion. The fact sheets and patches will be available Aug. 1, 2008.
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On June 18, 2008, five BSA Scouts and five international Scouts will arrive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on their way to Philmont Scout Ranch for an International Scouting Trek. The Scouts were winners in the International Division's essay contest. The topic was, "As a Scout, I could convince more young people from my community (and surrounding communities) to join Scouting by organizing a membership recruitment plan that included these important steps/elements."
Before leaving for Philmont, the Scouts will visit the BSA National Office, the National Scout Museum, and tour the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Once at Philmont, they will participate in a five-day Mountain Man trek. They will conclude their visit with a report to the International Scouting conference that same week.
Scouts attending are Stephen S. Adkins, Istrouma Council; Julian M. Franczyk, Northeast Illinois Council; Stefan A. Hopkins, Circle Ten Council; Costel Michael Outlaw, Northeast Georgia Council; Matthew D. Ralls, Crossroads of America Council; Tomas Slama, Czech Republic; Gregory Apap Bologna, Malta; Vladimir Hraska, Slovakia; Stuart Gordon Reid, South Africa; and Malinda Prabash Senanayake, Sri Lanka.
We will have photos and a report of their experiences in a future newsletter.
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On April 14, 2008, the International Division of the Boy Scouts of America hosted 11 Scout /business leaders from Saudi Arabia who were invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program.
Those visiting were Walid Mohammed A. Abdulfattah, commissioner, Social Service Development, Ministry of Education; Saleh Mohammad S. Abdullah, supervisor, Scouting Activities; Yakoub Elias J. Al Sabt, teacher; Dr. Abdullah Sulaiman M. Alfahad, vice president, Saudi Boy Scout Association; Mohammad Sulaiman M. Alferaih, director of Administration, Training and Scholarships, Ministry of Education; Ahmad Mhamoud M. Alfraj, teacher; Dr. Mohammed Abdullah A. Alnatheer, assistant professor, Teachers' College; Khalid Mohammed E. Alshnktie, teacher, Ministry of Education; Dr. Mohammed Saleh I. Altowayan, educational advisor, Agency Affairs School Education of Girls, Ministry of Education; Hamad Abdulrahman H. Alyahya, Boy Scout leader; and Waleed Khalid A. Filmban, architectural engineer.
The participants in this program met with directors of the Boy Scout Division, Cub Scout Division, Venturing Division, and Relationships Division at the Boy Scouts of America to look at Scouting activities in the United States and to discuss the following topics:
The Scouting movement in the United States
The role of other organizations in promoting the healthy development of young people: sports programs, arts programs, community service programs, after-school programs, and job training programs
Promoting understanding among different communities
Initiatives to combat youth violence
Peer-led youth leadership initiatives
Academic research into youth development issues
NGO management and development: volunteerism, staffing, fund-raising
After the meetings, the visitors were guests at a special luncheon, and toured the National Office and the National Scout Museum.
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On Feb. 26, 2008, 12 Scouts and two leaders arrived in Dallas/Fort Worth to begin their adventure as the two six-man teams representing the Boy Scouts of America at the First World Scout Winter Games at Kandersteg International Scout Center, Switzerland.
The three-day event, based in the Swiss Alps, was the first of its kind. There were nine teams of Scouts from eight different countries who came together to compete in cross country skiing, curling, slalom racing, synchronized skiing, and triathlon.
Each team had up to six participants between the ages of 15 and 30. All participants were experienced skiers or snowboarders. Training workshops were held for curling and cross country skiing before the main events. The workshops were conducted by KISC staff, along with staff from the Edelweiss Cross Country Ski School and the Swiss Ski School.
The idea was to bring together teams from different countries to compete in a series of winter disciplines and enjoy a fun, Scouting atmosphere at the same time. The event was a huge success with a good level of fun and competitiveness among the teams. There was a great display of International Scouting between all groups and we hope that the event becomes a tradition in the future.
The winter games drew to a close on March 3 with the mayor of Kandersteg awarding Sweden the gold medal, Norway the silver, and Lichtenstein the bronze. Athletes from the United States and other countries were given participation medals.
Candidates for the first World Scout Winter Games were chosen from nomination forms submitted to the International Division by Council International Representatives. The BSA team members and leaders were Michael Clarke, Ozark Trails Council; Patrick Claytor, Montana Council; Steven Costle, Montana Council; Douglas Deakin, Trapper Trails Council; John Falzon, Patriots Path Council; Christopher Genevich, Detroit Area Council; Brian Goulet, Chief Okemos Council; Matthew Hansen, Clinton Valley Council; Stefan Hickethier, Montana Council; James Kammert, Connecticut Yankee Council; Richard Price, Minsi Trails Council; Ryan Seastrom, Snake River Council; Wyatt Shults, Great Rivers Council; and Cade Walker, Trapper Trails Council.
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I was one of 32 Scouts selected to represent Scouting in America by participating in the SAJ-BSA Friendship Programme. The program's purpose was for Scouts from across the world to come together to share ideas and insights, not only about Scouting but our different cultures as well. Both the American and Japanese Scouts gained cultural understanding and acceptance. We understood that for world peace to be a possibility, we have to respect and embrace the differences that make our world so diverse.
I arrived in Dallas on Jan. 31, 2008, and met the other 31 Scouts and eight adults with whom I'd share this experience. Before we left the next day, we toured the National Scouting Museum. At dinner we introduced ourselves and divided up into patrols for the first time.
The next day we were up bright and early for our 14-hour flight to Japan, but only after a delay. It was pretty bizarre getting on the plane Feb 1st and getting off Feb 2nd. There was no time for jet lag. The moment we arrived, we were ushered into an opening ceremony featuring a keynote speech by Therese Bermingham, vice chairman of the World Scout Committee.
Our next day began by getting to know our Japanese counterparts. We split up into five groups of 12-14 Scouts. We played several team-building games. It was amazing to see everyone talking, joking, and laughing together, despite the language barrier. By lunch, friendships had already formed. The groups we had formed became our discussion groups. Each group prepared a presentation sharing its ideas for ways to improve Scouting internationally and how Scouting can benefit the world.
Before we knew it, the forum was over. It was time to say goodbye to our new Japanese friends, who by the way, spoke much better English than we spoke Japanese. The Japanese were much more aware of our culture than we were of theirs. I think we Americans need to expand our knowledge of other cultures.
We spent the rest of the day touring Tokyo, stopping at the Sensoji Temple, the Imperial Palace, and the Tokyo Tower, which is taller than the Eiffel Tower and painted orange. We were late for everything that day because of the heavy traffic in Tokyo caused by a mere 2-3 inches of snow from the night before. It was the most snow Tokyo had seen in recent years. A Scout from Florida saw snow fall for the first time that night in Japan. This gave me an appreciation for just how big America is.
It's funny, people ask me how the weather was there and I automatically say warm. Then I remember the Southerners were all bundled up in winter coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, while we Midwesterners considered it T-shirt and jeans weather!
Anyway, that day began the touring portion of the trip. We saw so many places-Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Osaka Castle, Big Buddha, and the Golden Temple. And we did so many things, like riding the bullet train and eating mini-octopi on a skewer.
We met our host family on Feb. 8 for the home hospitality program. We were part of these families for three days and two nights. During this time, we were immersed in the culture.
The family picked up two other girl Venturers and took us to a sushi bar. They grabbed things off the little sushi train for us to try. We agreed it was best not to know what we were stuffing in our mouths. But we ate everything, washing it down with piping hot green tea. For dessert, we gave them something new to try. They watched and imitated us dipping our French fries in ice cream.
With our tummies full of who knows what, we arrived at a real Japanese bathhouse. I saw more of Japan that night than I had ever hoped to see. Our Japanese host saw the awkward looks we gave each in the locker room. After the bathhouse briefing, she turned to us and asked, "Shy?" I nodded, saying, "Yes, Americans very shy!" She just laughed and repeated the word we had heard so much that night-"Try?"
The next two days were quite the cultural experience, complete with an authentic tea ceremony and wearing kimonos. We visited two temples, and joined our hosts in their worship. There we tasted Sake, the rice wine for which the Japanese are famous. We made origami and cooked a dish that was a specialty to the area. And I ate octopus for the first time.
On the 10th, we three girl Venturers left our home away from home to rejoin all the other Scouts for the closing dinner and ceremony. There were some teary eyes that night as we bid farewell to not only Japan, but to each other.
The next day we flew from Kyoto back to Tokyo, on to Dallas, and finally home. It was the most bittersweet day of the trip. Although I missed my family, friends, and bed, I began to miss my new friends the second I stepped onto the plane. I had spent every waking moment with them for nearly two weeks. We saw the best and worst of each other. We became our own little dysfunctional family. We parted with only little hope of ever seeing each other again. But even though we were spread across America, we knew we'd be connected by the life-changing experience we all shared. They'll forever be in one of my most cherished memories.
One of the reasons I love Scouting so much is the unique, amazing people I meet and eye-opening opportunities like these. I encourage Scouts everywhere to take full advantage of all the BSA has to offer. Some of my best friends and most beloved memories happened through Scouting. Make the most of it.
One of the Japanese Scouts said that even though we were separated by many miles and two completely different cultures, that we were all brothers and sisters through Scouting.
We should remember that we all share the same world and the common goal of making the world the best it can be. Rather than being separated by our differences, we should respect and preserve them. Diversity is the spice of life!
I will always remember the kindness, understanding, and hospitality the Japanese showed us. This trip has inspired me to make a change for the better in the world, however small. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but I've got the rest of my life to figure it out.
My thanks to our Japanese hosts and everyone in Scouting who made this experience possible.
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Direct Service's Eagle Nest
We are honored to recognize the following Scouts who have earned the rank of Eagle since the beginning of the year.
Basil Ahmad Bastaki
John Braden Bestor
James Michael Bruno
James Allan Burg II
Maxwell Robert Butterfield
Collin Douglas Coker
Benjamin Durrant Dewey
Stephen L. LeBrun
Christopher Ryan Lew
Tyrell Eric Longhurst
John Bradley Manning
Grant Ellison McGee
Joshua Clark McGraw
Gerardo Javier Olivares
Cory James Prince
Benjamin Joseph Radkovic
Randall Lee Robinson
Dallas Klaye Romney
Mason Kortny Spilsbury
Barry Livingston Taylor
Nathaniel James Vice
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Panama City, Panama
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
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The goal was his. No one pushed him, but Eagle Scout William "Buck" Organ set his sights on earning every one of the merit badges the Boy Scouts of America has. Buck became an Eagle Scout in 2003 at the age of 14 and continued to remain active in Troop 454 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
| Buck Ogan|
One-by-one, Buck worked on the remaining merit badges, but one eluded him-Bugling. It came down to the wire, and with only days to spare, he finished the last of the requirements to earn Bugling.
We congratulate Buck on his achievement. He set his goal and did not stop until he reached it
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By John Langford, Scoutmaster
Scouts of Troop 257 in Ryadh meet Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf
Members of Boy Scout Troop 257, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, were recent guests at a desert camp sponsored by the Boy Scouts of Saudi Arabia. A group of more than 200 Saudi Scouts set up the camp in honor of the visit of Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, who is the honorary president of the World Scout Foundation. The King was in Saudi Arabia to open the International Scout Exhibition for the "Gifts for Peace" project.
In addition to the King, the campsite was visited by the Saudi Minister of Education, Dr. Abdullah Al Obaid, who also serves as chairman of the Saudi Arabian Boy Scout Association. The Saudi Scouts had prepared different stations to demonstrate their camping and environmental skills. King Gustaf was briefed at each station as he toured the various sections of the camp.
"I came to the Kingdom to open the international peace exhibition, which highlights the Scout movement's role in strengthening peace between countries," King Gustaf said. "The Scouting organization teaches children to be self-reliant and how to set a good example to others. Thus, it offers a lot for the benefit of society," he added.
The event was the first time that Troop 257 had interacted with their Saudi counterparts and was deemed a great success. It opened a new channel of communication between the two Scouting organizations and future options to develop similar events were discussed by the leaders.
At the end of the event, the Scouts from Troop 257 presented the King with a framed montage of camporee patches that represented the troop's history in Saudi Arabia.
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David Morton and Doug Smith each received the Heroism Award for recent lifesaving efforts.
Troop 36 Committee Chairman David Morton was at a lagoon near Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., working on the Swimming merit badge with some of the troop's Scouts. A fully clothed Indian man was attempting to swim across the 250-foot lagoon and became too fatigued to continue. When David saw him go underwater and come back up only to go under again, he immediately jumped in the water and swam to the man's aid, arriving as he slipped under the water for the third time. Without the aid of a flotation device, David was able to pull the man to the surface, turn him so he could breathe, and begin moving them both toward shore. At that time, another swimmer threw David a life ring and then pulled them toward shore and proceeded with rescue breathing until the man coughed up the water he had swallowed and was breathing well.
Doug Smith, a leader with Troop 803 in Lagos, Nigeria, was at a birthday party at a local swimming pool when he noticed a small girl floating facedown in the water. He jumped in, brought her to the side of the pool, and lifted her out. After performing rescue breathing, the girl began to cough up a lot of water, and began breathing on her own.
Because the men knew proper lifesaving skills, both victims are alive today. We applaud both David Morton and Doug Smith for their calm response to potentially tragic situations.
In a surprise presentation, long-time Direct Service Scouter Harry Long received the Silver Beaver Award for his contributions to Scouting and youth. Harry's Scouting career spans more than 30 years, starting when he was a young man in Vermillion, Kan. Now living in Australia, Harry has served as Lone Scout Counselor for his sons, both of whom achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He is currently registered as a Scouter Reserve and Direct Service's International Council Representative for Australia and Oceania. Harry is also registered with Scouts Australia's South Branch, serving in several leadership positions.
To find a suitable occasion to present this award, his wife and son contacted the local Australian Scout branch for their help. Arrangements were made to surprise Harry during a special event in which he was to receive his Certificate Four in Leadership and Management. After the main event, the Scout branch's chief commissioner brought Harry onstage to present him with the Silver Beaver Award.
Congratulations are in order for Troop 1921's Scoutmaster, Steve Western, who was also presented with the Silver Beaver Award. Steve's Scouting career spans more than 20 years in units throughout the United States and two foreign countries. For the past 10 years, he has served Direct Service units in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Beijing, China. In addition to his dedication to Scouting, Steve is also active in the local congregation of the LDS Church.
The Silver Beaver is awarded by the Boy Scouts of America's National Court of Honor to adult Scouters in recognition of their distinguished service of exceptional character to youth.
District Award of Merit
Mark Powell has been awarded the District Award of Merit in recognition of the service he has provided to Troop 970 and Pack 3947 located in Doha, Qatar. Mark serves as the Cub Scout pack's assistant Cubmaster and the troop's Eagle coordinator. This award is presented to adult Scouters for their noteworthy service of exceptional character to youth within a district territory. Over the years, Mark has been instrumental in the growth of both units, especially the pack.
Congratulations to Victor Organ, Scoutmaster of Troop 454 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for receiving the District Award of Merit. The troop, chartered to the American International School in Jeddah, provides an active program for its members, and Mr. Organ is one of the main reasons for its success.
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It was a bright, chilly day as Beijing-based Cub Pack 3944 gathered to attend a historic event: the first ever major league baseball game in the People's Republic of China. One hundred forty-one Cubs and family members watched the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers battle to a 3-3 tie in this pre-season exhibition game.
The Pack led the stadium in several Mexican waves and sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" while waiting in line to enter and again during the seventh inning stretch, much to the amusement and happiness of the Chinese fans. We watched as the Dodgers scored the first Big League home run in China. After the game, the players came into the stands to autograph baseballs, caps, and mitts. The Cubs were overjoyed. It was a fantastic day for all, as Major League Baseball was introduced to both the Chinese people and many of the members of the pack, for whom this was their very first Big League game.
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Boy Scouts from Troop 707 are shown aboard the USS Nimitz with Lt. Lee, an Eagle Scout and an F-18E Super Hornet.
Boy Scout Troop 707 from Discovery Bay, Hong Kong, recently visited the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier during its visit to Hong Kong. It was a great expedition for the Scouts, who were met by two of the ship's crew, Eagle Scout Lt. Lee, an F-18 pilot, and Lt. Lora (code name "Nitro"), a helicopter pilot. The Scouts enjoyed their time with the two crew members who took them on a tour of the ship, posed for photos, and answered the boys' many questions.
Boy Scouts from Troop 707 are shown with helicopter pilot Lt. Lora (Nitro) in front of an SH-60 Seahawk aboard the USS Nimitz.
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Lone Scout Orion Sidoti and his father, Lone Scout Counselor Eric Sidoti, joined nearly 5,000 other Scouts and leaders from 13 nations to attend the 18th New Zealand Jamboree held Dec. 28-Jan. 5 at Christchurch on the South Island. The jamboree was the last major event to celebrate the worldwide Scouting centennial and was also the first major event in celebration of the New Zealand Scouting Association's centennial. Their program began in 1908.
Attendees enjoyed many different activities, such as pioneering, high-wire climbing, kayaking, go-karts, touring historic sites, and getting filthy on the infamous mud challenge. But father and son agree that the best part was the sharing of friendship with people from around the world.
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Jesse Curtis, Cubmaster of Pack 3910 in Managua, Nicaragua, tells us that the members of his pack had the honor of performing a medley of patriotic songs at the recent dedication of the new U.S. Embassy in Managua. Although only about half of the pack's members were able to attend the event, Jesse tells us they did an outstanding job and received many compliments from the audience. The pack joined Direct Service's family late last year and is chartered to the American Employee Association located at the embassy.
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In December 2007, Scoutmaster John Langford of Troop 257 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, joined his family and successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa, and at 19,340 feet, it is the tallest, free-standing mountain in the world. John was accompanied by his wife, Rebecca, and their two children, John Jr. and Amanda, both students at Boston University. The climb took place over a six-day period and covered approximately 60 miles. The family's trek averaged seven to 10 hours per day with increasing elevation, low oxygen, and steadily decreasing temperatures due to the high altitude.
The final ascent to the summit began at midnight on day five from a base camp at 15,000 feet. The climb took approximately seven hours to reach Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the mountain, where the temperature was -5 degrees Fahrenheit. The descent from Uhuru Peak required another eight hours to reach the final camp of the trek, totaling 15 hours of hiking for the day. While John and his son, both Eagle Scouts, have participated in a two-week program at Philmont Scout Ranch, and have also hiked the Appalachian Trail extensively, both agreed that this trek was the most physically challenging, but most rewarding, endeavor they have ever undertaken.
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Boy Scout Troop 435 hosted a Scouting camporee recently at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Boy Scouts set up the camping area on Friday and cooked a wonderful chicken and vegetable soup. Cub Scout Pack 3401 and the base's Girl Scout troop arrived Saturday morning to set up their areas, and a flag ceremony officially began the camporee. All Scouts, adults, and accompanying family members were split into five groups to participate in afternoon activities: racing in a raingutter sailboat regatta, handling basic medical emergencies at a first aid station, navigating an orienteering course, touring the historical lighthouse museum, shooting at the catapult station, and baking cookies in a box oven. Scouts unanimously agreed that the raingutter racing was the best event and most fun.
Activities were guided by Eagle Scouts Steven Bernick, Bill Kelly, and David Harris; teachers from the school, Bill Moreland and Mark Kepic; and medical staff from the Naval Hospital, Dana Swope. While the activities were going on, the three Eagle Scouts inspected each Scout's and family's campsite for proper setup, safety equipment on hand, and appropriate paperwork posted.
Saturday evening, the Boy Scouts cooked a dinner feast in foil packets, while Eagle Scout Chad Rix showed how to cook desserts in box ovens and Dutch ovens.
The evening's campfire ceremony began with Scoutmaster Guy Belleman leading the column of Scouts to their positions. The ceremony was inspiring as Scouts put on skits; told jokes and stories; sang songs emphasizing patriotism, the Scout Law, or just plain fun. (Have you heard the one about three brains that were for sale?) Boy Scouts, under the guidance of Eagle Scouts, were up early the next morning cooking a huge breakfast for all attendees. There were more than enough pigs-in-a-blanket, fruit, cereal, and juice for all. Eagle Scout Chad Rix acted as chaplain and ended the camporee with a beautiful Sunday morning service overlooking Guantanamo Bay.
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By Jared Broadman, Second Class Scout, Boy Scout Troop 7, Singapore
Last fall, 20 Boy Scouts from Singapore Troop 7, along with their parents, traveled to Thailand for five days of high adventure aboard the sailing vessel Merdeka. Scoutmaster Scott Weber and Outdoor Activity Leader Neil Dibb were the leaders of this pirate crew.
The troop sailed the waters of the Andaman Sea to the isle of Ao Nam Mao. Although the weather was damp, the boys didn't let it keep them from exploring rock formations, crystal clear waters, and the jungle. While some Scouts spent time on the beach swinging from banyan tree vines just like Tarzan, others took part in a wilderness survival overnighter, and they all worked on Sailing, Canoeing, Boating, Fishing, First Aid, and Swimming merit badges.
On the last evening, while the group was taking part in the usual campfire skits, a local villager arrived with some Chinese lanterns. He showed the boys how to light the lanterns and send them off into the sky. He said that they should make a wish as they watched their lanterns sail off into the night.
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As part of their Citizen Activity Badge requirements, the Webelos Scouts of Pack 3060, New Delhi, India, recently had the opportunity to meet David C. Mulford, U.S. Ambassador to India. While visiting with Ambassador Mulford, the Webelos Scouts asked many questions and learned that the American Embassy in India has more U.S. staff than any other embassy in the world.
While talking with the Webelos Scouts, Ambassador Mulford told of his experiences with camping, canoeing, cooking in the wilderness, and "chug" (push cart) racing. To show their appreciation, the boys presented the ambassador with a framed display of Pack 3060's patches, as well as the 2007 World Scout Jamboree patch that celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Scouting around the world.
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The Scouts of Troop 435 of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, participated in the Jamboree-on-the-Air and Jamboree-on-the-Internet in October. Both events are sponsored by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. This year's Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, marked the event's 50th golden jubilee with a theme of "50 Hours Around the Globe." During the event, Scouts talked with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts from many countries and cultures.
Jamboree-on-the-Internet, or JOTI, has been an annual event since 1996. The GTMO Scouts chatted on the Internet with Scouts from the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Japan, Mexico, and many other countries. Wesley Belleman, Star Scout, was excited that he was able to talk to several friends he had made at last summer's jamboree.
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Within the first three months of attending the Texas Military Institute in San Antonio, Troop 442 Eagle Scout Stephen Scott was promoted to the rank of sergeant and platoon leader in the cadet corps. This was a promotion of three grades, which has rarely happened in the school's 100-year history. He was also honored with a special medal for the distinctive honor of being the school's Cadet of the Month in October.
Stephen has a long history with Direct Service. Before moving to Perth, Australia, he and his family lived in Lagos, Nigeria, where he was a member of Troop 803. He readily credits his achievements to the training and skills he learned through Scouting in Perth and Lagos.
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Lone Scout Joey Barefoot
Canadian Lone Scout Joey Barefoot was awarded the 2007 Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association Conservation Award for his Eagle Scout leadership project "U Protect."
A panel of judges selected Joey for his commitment to improving the shorelines and waterways of the French River Delta. Joey's project involved removing metal, debris, trash, and the invasive species Purple Loosestrife from the waterways, while educating the community on the need to protect and conserve. Through Joey's leadership, 50 miles of shoreline were returned to a pristine environment.
The Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association recognizes one outstanding tourist outfitter annually for a commitment to conservation endeavors, but this was the first time a youth was recognized for his efforts. "Youth of today need to stand up and take charge of our future. As a Boy Scout, I have learned that although I wear the scarf of a Lone Scout, I am never truly alone, but stand in a community that cares and works together. I was born and raised here and my future is here. We must continue to strive to protect, thus, `U Protect'," Joey said.
Joey and his family own the Bears Den Lodge in Canada. To read more about the "U Protect" project, visit www.bearsdenlodge.com/uprotect.shtml.
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By David Loehden, Scoutmaster
Last February, Troop 222 of Penang, Malaysia, worked on the wilderness survival merit badge. The wilderness survival merit badge was worked on in four troop meetings and culminated in a three-day jungle survival campout at Sungai Sedim (Sedim River), Malaysia. As the merit badge counselor, the challenge was to make the wilderness survival merit badge interesting, challenging, and fun. The resources used were the merit badge book, the merit badge worksheet from www.meritbadge.com, Man Vs. Wild video clips from the Discovery Channel, and Mr. Kamarul, a jungle survival trainer at Sungai Sedim.
Man vs. Wild was recorded from the Discovery Channel and video clips were made that highlighted the skills and requirements for the merit badge. The video clips were embedded in PowerPoint presentations and used to instruct the Scouts at the meetings. Each meeting had a theme survival scenario: Rocky Mountains (forest), European Alps (snow), Costa Rican Rain Forest (wet), and Moab Desert (dry). Bear Grylls is the star of Man vs. Wild and must have been a Scout at one time. In the Man vs. Wild videos, Grylls goes over many survival situations that help demonstrate the requirements. He also goes over many of the Tenderfoot to First Class requirements, like navigating day and night without a compass, first aid, and lashings, to name a few. The Man vs. Wild video series is a good resource for teaching Scouting requirements in a fun way.
The Scouts had a great time learning about wilderness survival. The videos made it interesting for them and they used the content from the videos and PowerPoint presentation to fill in their worksheets. We also had as one of the inter-patrol games, a bow and drill fire-making contest between the patrols. The Scouts had to make a bow and drill and bring it to the meeting. The contest was to have each Scout in the patrol use the bow and drill to make smoke one at a time. This was a fun way to meet one of the fire-making requirements.
Our survival camp began as we arrived at Sungai Sedim right at dusk in a torrential downpour. Fortunately, there was a shelter and we were able to set up the tents in the shelter and cook our dinner. The next morning, the Scouts were taught by Mr. Kamarul, a retired Malaysian Army survival expert, on how to survive in the jungles of Malaysia. They were taught how to build shelters out of the feather palm, bamboo, and banana trees. Mr. Kamarul told the Scouts that the feather palm, bamboo, and banana were quick growing and very plentiful. He said to avoid using young trees, which can take a long time to grow. The feather palm was woven and used for the roof. The bamboo was used as the structure. The banana trunk is fibrous and strips of lashing ropes can be made from the trunk.
Each Scout made a shelter by lashing bamboo to a tree, weaving the feather palm and lashing it to the bamboo, and then using the banana leaves for bedding. They stayed in shelters, but unfortunately did not get a good night's sleep.
The Scouts also learned how to cook using young bamboo. They had to carve out the bamboo to make a long hollow tube. They put rice in banana leaves and stuffed it in the bamboo tube, then filled the tube with water. Mr. Kamarul then showed the Scouts how to collect dry tinder from dust of palms and bamboo, using old bamboo to make kindling, and collect larger pieces of wood to build a fire. A fire was built and the bamboo tubes with rice were cooked along with fish stuffed in a bamboo tube with ginger and garlic. After about 30 minutes, the rice and fish were cooked and the Scouts enjoyed an afternoon meal.
The rest of the afternoon, the Scouts worked on fire-building skills with flint and steel. We finished the day by swimming in Sungai Sedim. The Scouts then made dinner and we had a campfire with smores, of course. Then it was off to the shelters to stay the night. We capped off the trip the next morning with some rappelling down a 40-foot tower and a one-kilometer canopy walk, then packed up camp and headed home.
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