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A Most Unusual District STEM Weekend
This weekend for Scouts and Webelos interested in STEM subjects was very successful, and so we can expect a repeat next year and onward. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and event organizer Gordon Beattie made sure that there was lots of it all day Saturday and into Saturday night.
"Unusual" example #1: Consider a standard camporee station where Scouts show they know how to lash together a tripod, then go on to the next event. Contrast to this STEM requirement:
1. Lash together a long flat see-saw.
2. Lash a tripod as a balancing fulcrum and put the see-saw on top.
3. Place a big heavy concrete block at one end and a standard 6-pound brick at the other.
4. Get the see-saw to balance.
5. Use a tape measure and calculator to deduce how much the block weighs.
Sound easy? Not when your tripod keeps collapsing from all that weight. Also, the tripod fulcrum has a sharp "V" shape, so how do you ensure that the see-saw stays flat so the brick and block don't slide off.
"Unusual" example #2: Consider a standard camporee station where you start a fire with matches or maybe flint and steel. Contrast to this STEM requirement:
1. Get a 9-volt battery and a ball of triple-0 steel wool. Also some dryer lint and some popsicle sticks.
2. Apply a voltmeter to the battery terminals to ensure that the battery has enough capacity to start a fire.
3. Apply an ohmmeter to the steel wool to ensure that its resistance is low enough to start a fire.
4. Shove the battery into the steel wool to make it glow red hot.
5. Huff and puff until the lint catches fire followed by the popsicle sticks.
"Unusual" example #3: Consider a standard camporee where Scouts are told to leave their iPhones and Androids at home. Contrast to this STEM requirement to bring along such devices and download:
1. GPS app
2. Wi-fi Analyzer app
3. Go into the woods and gather a lot of mountain laurel stems
4. Tie the stems into a 2-foot square mat
5. Use twine to pull the left and right edges toward each other into a shallow U-shape
6. Line the inside of the curved mat with aluminum foil.
7. Take this home-made direction-finder antenna into the woods with your iPhone and try to find the 6 wi-fi transmitters hidden around the camp. Note the GPS coordinates of each one found.
Unit Rechartering for 2014 Will Start Dec 1
Most Scout Troops and Cub Packs are scheduled to renew their charters in January or February 2014. The paperwork can be time consuming, so getting an early start is a good idea.
The first step is to pick up your unit's packet, which contains this year's access code. If you missed the November 12 Roundtable pickup, either go to the Council office or make other arrangements. The online "Internet Re-Chartering" website will be open for business on December 1. Select "First Time User"; that is, your first time using this year's access code.
Registration fee increase this year!
January units are expected to submit their paperwork by January 26. Use the time between now and then to make sure you have enough money to cover everyone's registration fee, which went up this year to $29 per person. BSA National's fee has held firm for over a decade, but they finally had to raise it from $15 to $24. Add to that a $5 insurance surcharge needed to cover New Jersey's high rates.
You can also use the time between now and submission to review all the youth and adults on your roster for accuracy, such as phone numbers etc. You can add or delete youth and adults, and Scoutmasters can promote Webelos into the Troop, and promote 18-year olds into Assistant Scoutmasters. NB: Anyone added to your roster will also require a standard paper Application Form to be submitted.
Help for the perplexed
If you need personalized assistance in preparing the paperwork, three sessions have been scheduled where you can go for help: December 3 in Oradell, December 19 in Rochelle Park, and the January 14 Roundtable in Teaneck (details in your packet).
First Aid Rally for Boy Scout Troops
T302 in Kearny has hosted this event every year since 1999, with a general invitation to any Scout troop willing to participate and show off how well they know this important Scout skill.
November 20, 2013
Lincoln School gym
Beech Street, Kearny
The competition consists of three scenarios like this one: "Your patrol is hiking a few miles from your campsite when one of your members loses his footing on a slippery rock, falls, and..." The victim will have several injuries, and the judge will select one of the Scouts from your troop to lie on the floor and act the part of that victim. Your SPL will then take charge of the appropriate bandaging, splinting, and stretcher-bearing, while the judge takes notes and computes a score.
Even if your troop is 100% new boys with no experience whatsoever, prepare them as well as you can and let them compete. They will learn a lot from the other Scouts and leaders, and, more important, they will know how to prepare for next year's Rally.
Dave Lagerstrom, email@example.com
Two Membership Meetings
Members of the Three Rivers District Membership Committee were urged to attend the Nov 16 Membership Summit at the Council office. Senior District Exec Joel Lieberman said that it will be a strategy session for 2014.
Joel also described a second meeting on Nov 12, where Dr. Geoffrey Zoeller will give pointers to the TRD Membership Committee. Joel said, "We ask people to join committees to do things, but we rarely give them any formal training or guidance." He said that Zoeller "Will give them a blow-by-blow of what's expected and what they're empowered to do. He'll help us understand what he's picked up at Philmont." Joel said that Committee Chair Eric Makar will attend, along with Trish Songzoni, Tom Gingerelli, and Henry Hahn.
Scouts and Cubs Asked to Recruit Two Friends (and Get a Reward)
This message was broadcast by Senior District Exec Joel Lieberman on Nov 4.
All Youth members will now have a chance to join the District Chairman’s club
Beginning Nov 1 through December 15 all youth involved in all programs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing, can help support the message of Scouting by recruiting two friends this fall and receive a colorful patch with the District Chair's emblem and certificate signed by our District Chairman Pat Stamato.
More importantly, on Dec 20 we will have a drawing for all members of the Chairman’s Club for an Amazon gift card. Entries must be submitted to Joel by Dec 18. To qualify, the two new recruits must be officially registered with the Council as of Dec 18.
Editor's note: One extra award will go to any Boy Scout aiming for First Class rank. He'll earn a completion for this requirement: "Tell someone who is eligible to join Boy Scouts... about your troop's activities. Invite him to a troop outing, activity, service project, or meeting...."
What if Your Local Schools Don't Allow Flyers?
If you can't distribute flyers, how about distributing invitations to a party? Here's some "crafty" advice passed on by Senior District Exec Joel Lieberman:
Dr. Geoffrey Zoeller, Patriots' Path Council vice president of membership/relations, and Northern New Jersey Council ADC for Training, made the observation that "some schools will not allow units to use traditional, council-generated flyers to be distributed for recruitment purposes. Others will only let such flyers be sent home in electronic form via a virtual backpack."
Many school policies allow for the distribution of written invitations, however, so that students can invite one another to birthday parties, special events, etc. Dr. Zoeller notes that "some crafty units are taking a different approach to recruitment and while still adhering to Board policies are instead creating formal 'invitations' as an alternative to prohibited flyers." It may seem like splitting hairs, but there is a definite difference between flyers and invitations in most Board Policy Manuals.
Why not create a formal looking invitation such as a Birthday Party style invitation and actually throw a party for new families and see what new recruitment ideas you can have fun with.
Not to mention boys like getting a personal invitation to any party!!!
You design it and the Council will help get them printed
Tom Gingerelli - New Assistant District Commissioner
Tom volunteered to fill a long-vacant opening in the Hudson County area of the Three Rivers District, starting with this broadcast to unit leaders:
I would like to take a moment to introduce myself, I have been recently appointed the position of Assistant District Commissioner for your Community, the A.D.C. position is a link between you and our professionals. I would like to make myself available to help you with any concerns you and your unit may have. Together we can bring the joy of Scouting back to all the boys in your area. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.
Part of Tom's job will be to watch over new units currently being formed, including the Cornelia Bradford School in Jersey City and St. Rocco's Church in Union City. Another unit receiving Tom's attention along with District Exec Oliris Ramos is Jersey City Pack 477, which recently added about 50 kids during their fall recruitment. Their current problem is recruiting enough adults to make the program work for all those Cubs.
Popcorn Pickup Dates and Times
Three Rivers units are expected to arrive on Saturday Nov 23 between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. The warehouse is also "open by appointment" on the prior Thursday and Friday evenings -- contact Debbie at Debbie.Meggett@scouting.org.
Pickup is at Bio-Reference Laboratories in Elmwood Park, NJ. Although the official address is 41 Slater Drive, that entrance will be closed. Instead enter from Market Street.
Units with the Best Popcorn Sales
Top units in Three Rivers District were:
Pack 245 - $14,000+
Troop 138 - $13,000+
Pack 168 - $10,000+
These numbers were provided by Council Popcorn Coordinator Anthony Chirdo, who also named the grand champion: Pack 17 in the Lenape Trails District with $29,000+. Anthony also has an iPod in his office waiting for pickup by "Cody B." of Pack 111 in Harrington Park. Cody's order form with all 30 lines filled in went into a drawing and came out a winner.
An Alert for Eagle Candidates Approaching 18
This message was broadcast on Nov 13
Advice to Life Scouts: Earn the Cooking Merit Badge Now!
The Cooking merit badge will be added to the list of Eagle-required as of January 1, 2014. The requirements WILL change, and if that worries you, then you should work very hard to complete that merit badge before the year-end holidays.
If you can complete all the requirements in the next few weeks, consider signing up for the Three Rivers District Merit Badge Fair on Nov 23, where you will find an authorized counselor who can help you earn the badge.
The way the Fair works is that you contact the counselor in advance, work out a time slot during the Fair when the two of you will meet, and then come and show him evidence that you have completed all the requirements.
Link to register for the Merit Badge Fair:
Link to see the requirements:
Link to download a worksheet that you can fill out for the counselor:
Operation Zero 2014 for Tough Scouts
Our next-door Patriots' Path Council sent out this invitation:
Join your fellow adventurers this February at Operation Zero, a high adventure winter camping expedition. This year's extravaganza will be held February 15-17, 2014 at Sabattis Adventure Camp in New York's Adirondack Park. Operation Zero sells out every year, so be sure to register soon so you will not be disappointed.
Operation Zero is open to all Boy Scouts and Venturers at least 14 years of age. Adult advisors are welcome too. Registration is limited to a total of 90 youth and adults. Round trip bus transportation is included. Free, mandatory winter camping training will be held on December 8, 2013 at Winnebago Scout Reservation in Rockaway, New Jersey.
Build and sleep in Quinzhees
Dog Sledding / Mushing
Snow measured in feet
Trained winter guides
Click here for details:
John Dorn 973-765-9322 x238
Awesomeness at the Scout Summit
BSA National sent this message on Nov 2 urging everyone to check out this You Tube video. The DudePerfect guys may not be Scouts, but they swished a lot of awesome basketball trick shots at the Summit's various venues.
By the way, the video is also a great way to tour some of the cool facilities that The Summit has to offer.
A Death - William Van Kleef, Sr.
Biff Van Kleef's dad died on Nov 6. Click here to read about his interesting life:
The obituary ends with "In lieu of flowers, kindly send donations to: Friends of the National World War II Memorial, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 304, Washington, DC 20003 or through their website https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1413021"