Friday, January 13, 2017

New patrols

At the troop's first meeting of 2017, on Monday, Jan. 9, its two newly formed patrols gathered under the leadership of newly elected patrol leaders to get better acquainted and to design their respective patrol flags, pictured here:

Newly elected patrol leader of the Armored Armadillos Patrol, Jacob,
with his patrol's new flag.

Newly elected patrol leader of The Patriots Patrol, Rusty,
with his patrol's new flag.

Assistant Scoutmaster Dagg reviews the requirements
for Snow Sports Merit Badge. 
Following the patrols' creative flag-design session, many of the troop's Scouts with prior snow skiing experience gathered with Assistant Scoutmaster Christian Dagg to review the requirements of the Snow Sports Merit Badge. The troop's upcoming annual ski trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., should allow these Scouts to complete several of the merit badge's requirements.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Troop concludes calendar year with annual court of honor

Troop 50 Scouts, leaders and families gathered for the troop's traditional December court of honor and Christmas party. As a result of our growing troop family, there weren't many empty seats in First Presbyterian Church's fellowship hall!

Master of Ceremonies Liam (podium) and
SPL Creighton (left) open the court of honor.
As part of his efforts to complete the requirements for Communications Merit Badge, newly selected Assistant Patrol Leader Liam served as master of ceremonies. After welcoming everyone in attendance and opening the court of honor with the Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath and Scout Law led by Senior Patrol Leader Creighton, and an opening prayer by Chaplain's Aide Aiden, those in attendance enjoyed a meal prepared by the troop's families.

Beck, one of the troop's newest Scouts, receives his Scout rank.
After reconvening the court of honor, Liam — assisted by SPL Creighton and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Louie and accompanied by Scoutmaster Andrew Baird — presented six rank advancements. Following the rank presentations, Liam recognized Scouts for earning nearly 30 merit badges — most of which were the result of the troop's Merit Badge Day the previous Saturday or the completion of partial requirements remaining from summer camp.

Scoutmaster Baird administers the oath of office to the troop's newly elected and
selected youth leadership, which includes (left to right): Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Everett,
Patrol Leader Jacob, Patrol Leader Rusty, Assistant Patrol Leader Liam,
Assistant Patrol Leader Michael, Lead Instructor Nicky, Lead Troop Guide Louie,
Senior Patrol Leader Josh, and Instructor Creighton

Scoutmaster Baird noted the troop conducted its semiannual troop elections the previous Monday, and as a result, introduced and installed the troop's newly elected and selected senior leadership. The senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, lead troop guide, and instructors form the troop's Leadership Corps. The Leadership Corps, along with the troop's two patrol leaders, form the Patrol Leaders Council, or PLC. Those youth leaders include:
  • Senior Patrol Leader: Josh
  • Assistant Senior Patrol Leader: Everett
  • Lead Troop Guide: Louie
  • Instructors: Nicky, Lead Instructor; Creighton, Instructor
  • Armored Armadillos: Jacob, Patrol Leader; Michael, Assistant Patrol Leader
  • Patriots: Rusty, Patrol Leader; Liam, Assistant Patrol Leader

Outgoing SPL Creighton with his recognition neckerchief slide

Scoutmaster Baird then honored Creighton for his term of service as senior patrol leader with a custom-made neckerchief slide and display case.

Michael checks out his Dirty Santa gift

Luke (center) attempts to shield from other Scouts the coveted
camp stool, which was stolen from him soon after.
After the conclusion of the court of honor, Scouts and some of the troop's adult leaders gathered for the coveted and highly contested game of "Dirty Santa." Although there were 28 individual gifts in play, the theme of the evening seemed to be flashlights, based on the half dozen or so that were secreted away in gift bags and wrapped boxes. A foldable camp stool was the first frequently stolen gift to be frozen.

The troop ended the evening by gathering gifts donated by Scouts' families for the City of Auburn's Public Safety Department's annual toy drive. This annual troop tradition is part of its yearlong community service efforts. Scouts and leaders walked dozens of items including sports equipment, bicycles, electronics, and other toys to the city's downtown fire station, where firefighters accepted the toys and posed with the troop in front of one of its fire trucks.

Since this was the troop's final event of the 2016 calendar year, the troop will resume its weekly meeting schedule on Jan. 9, 2017.

For more photos from the court of honor, please visit the troop's online photo album.

Scouts mount 'escape' after annual Merit Badge Day

On Saturday, Dec. 10, 23 of the troop's Scouts attended the troop's annual Merit Badge Day — each with his sights set on earning one of four merit badges being offered:
Although the Eagle-required merit badges are more academic in nature, the two elective merit badges allowed Scouts to roll up their sleeves and get their hands a little dirty. That was certainly the case for the Scouts working to earn Welding Merit Badge, since they had the chance to don protective headgear, wield a torch, and actually complete some welding projects. Most Scouts who pursued the two elective merit badges completed them during the merit badge workshop. Eagle-required merit badges usually include a little homework, as in the case of the two offered on this Saturday. Scouts will now attend public government meetings, research their local community, and prepare speeches and other communications projects — depending on the merit badge concerned — to complete those remaining requirements. Scouts who completed merit badges received them the following Monday at the troop's annual Christmas Court of Honor and Party.

Many of the Scouts attending Merit Badge Day "escaped" the fact of sitting in "class" most of the day by heading to Auburn Escape Zone for some afternoon fun. There, they split into two groups and applied a little teamwork to escaping their assigned room by solving puzzles, finding clues, and unlocking problems to escape their room — well, at least one team, led by newly selected Patriots Patrol Assistant Patrol Leader Liam (pictured on top in the photo to the left), did!

For more photos from Merit Badge Day, please visit the troop's online photo album

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Flying through Army aviation history

Troop 50 Scouts and leaders celebrated the Veterans' Day weekend by centering its monthly campout around a visit to the U.S. Army Aviation Museum—which also served as the site of the troop's first out-of-town outing after its founding in 2012.

The U.S. Army Aviation Museum, located at Fort Rucker in Enterprise, Ala., maintains a collection of more than 160 military aircraft, including one of the largest collections of military helicopters in the world. Scouts has the opportunity to browse the approximately 50 beautifully restored, historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft displayed both inside the museum and on its surrounding grounds. Since first opening in 1968, and since moving into its current facility in 1989, its public galleries have offered a retrospective of the Army's involvement in military aviation, as well as provides the the human side of Army Aviation by featuring photo galleries, memorabilia and photo essays that capture the human spirit of the Army's proud aviation heritage.

While most Scouts opted for a self-guided tour (which included visits to the museum's flight simulators and gift shop), a few Scouts dropped in periodically for the museum tour directed by the troop's resident historian, Scoutmaster Andrew Baird. Actual and replica aircraft document the beginning days of Army aviation with the Wright brothers and the early combat aircraft of World War I, up to the highly technological machines such as the AH-64 Apache and the UH-60 Blackhawk flown by Army aviators today.

After touring the museum and enjoying a picnic lunch on the museum's grounds, the troop made its way to its campsite at Blue Springs State Park in nearby Clio, Ala. Scouts had the opportunity to enjoy some downtime after setting up their tents before beginning dinner preparations as the early sunset cast the campsite in darkness by 5:30 p.m. While it was dark, local fire bans due to extreme drought conditions forced the troop to conduct its "campfire" program around a Coleman lantern. Campfire master of ceremonies and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Louie persevered and provided everyone in attendance a program full of skits, songs, and fellowship.
ASPL Louie serves as master of ceremonies for Saturday evening's "campfire" program.

It's unclear if the fact that the days are getting darker earlier had any impact on how early the Scouts retired for the evening. However, by 10 p.m., most Scouts (and leaders) were settled in for the evening's cooler temperatures, which dropped to roughly 50 degrees.
Sunday morning's devotional service
Scouts were slowly bounding out of their tents by 6:30 a.m. Sunday as they readied breakfast and began packing their gear. Before departing the campsite for the return trip home, the troop gathered for a Sunday devotional service, Chartered Organization Representative and Troop Chaplain Michael Tullier. With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, the scripture readings and discussion centered around being thankful in all circumstances—during the times we find ourselves extremely blessed, as well as the times we are challenged and the valuable lessons we learn during those times.
At the troop's monthly Patrol Leaders Council meeting the following Monday, the troop's youth leaders noted that, while the museum left a little to be desired for some Scouts, everyone enjoyed the campfire program and the campsite location..
For more photos from the campout, visit the troop's online photo album.