Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

We've been reviewing the methods of Scouting (there's eight of 'em, that support the three primary aims of the Scouting program -- if you want to see 'em again, click The last two weeks we've talked about the role "Uniforms" have as part of our core identity as Scouts.

As leaders of units, we all know that "Outdoor Activities" is the keystone of who we are, how others see us, and what brings many youth and adults into the program. Getting the pack or troop outdoors can feel like a big challenge, though, and like many big challenges may get put off -- and put off, and put off, until some units realize they've hardly had an outing in months.

The district and council provide four good anchors for "Outdoor Activities" through the year -- Fall Camporee, Klondike Derby, Spring Camporee, and Summer Camp -- and if you start there, you're on the right track. Just don't stop on the tracks! How can your unit add four more outdoor adventures in between those four anchor events? The Burr Oak Scouting Event, hikes in state parks, canoeing at Mohican or West Virginia, a swamp crawl at Crane Creek . . . whatever they are, four unit events and four participations in district/council activities in the great outdoors can keep you close to the Scouting vision.

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Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

In making sure your unit is following the proven successes of the Scouting program, the "aims & methods" taught to adult Scouters are a great guidebook to unit health. Last week, in speaking of "outdoor activities" as one of the eight methods for applying the Scouting model to your own unit program, we talked about the four key district/council seasonal outings, and the need to have at least four more troop outdoor adventures spaced between them.

When your unit is ready to push beyond even those eight outings, don't forget the method that was one of Baden-Powell's key insights into youth work: "Patrol method." In groups of 6 to 8, young men (this is mainly Boy Scouts I'm talking about now, but it applies broadly) can encourage and motivate each other, and evn more importantly, lead each other!

Consider a patrol campout the next time you're working with the Patrol Leader's Council on an outing plan -- encourage your patrols to find a location and do an overnight on their own as a patrol, without all the other equipment and activities that often go with a full weekend troop campout. With an adult responsible for keeping tabs on them (and in the era of cell phones that's easier than ever), a patrol on their own will learn things that the boys will never get in a larger setting, and bring back to the troop knowledge that will make your next outing even more productive.

Patrol Method -- give it a try!

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Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

"Patrol Method" is one of the basic ideas Baden-Powell took to Brownsea Island off England's coast in 1907. Letting the first troop of 22 boys organize themselves into four patrols of Bulls, Bears, Ravens, and Curlews, all of the events were challenges among and between those four boy-led groups.

Scouting "doctrine" has varied over the last near-century, but the idea of "six to eight" Scouts as the ideal size patrol, led by one elected out of their own ranks, has remained constant. Some troops have a frustration with size, saying that they don't have enough Scouts to have multiple patrols. Of course, the first answer is: "Go out and recruit some more!" That's not addressed to the Scouters, but to the Scouts themselves -- remind them how much more fun most activities are when you're racing another team or patrol against the clock, or seeing who's mastered more knots or lashings or first aid skills.

If all else fails, co-ordinate with another unit in your area to schedule activities and challenges between your two groups -- there are over 50 traditional Scouting units in Licking County, so someone is near you. But don't let your unit become one "big mushy" un-patrol, and don't let your competitions and contests become too individualistic. Patrol method is what works, and what the boys enjoy . . . and it naturally leads to . . . well, that's next week's topic!

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Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

What does the proper use of "patrol method" lead to? "Leadership development," of course!

Learning and practicing leadership skills as a youth is probably one of the greatest gifts Scouting gives, and one of the most remembered strengths of the program in the minds of those Scouts when they become adults. One of Scouting's greatest "selling points" in the community is our proven track record for helping every last youth in our program find their leadership talents and develop them.

Why do we say "proven track record"? Well, check out how many senators, representatives, cabinet secretaries, and other officials in Washington are Scouts (and Eagles!). Look at the astronaut corps in NASA, and see how thoroughly Scouting runs through their biographies. Consider your community, and find out how many judges, elected officials, and pastors have a fleur-de-lis in their offices.

An Eagle Scout gets a "bump" on the promotion track in all branches of the military, and that line on a resume has gotten who knows how many Scouts into the "to be interviewed" pile at leading corporations all across America. These folks aren't just being sentimental about being "outdoorsy" -- they're acknowledging the well-known fact that "leadership development" is what the Scouting program does best.

Monday, March 11, 2002

Choir Festival on Linnville Road
by Jeff Gill
Contributing Writer

Paul Hansen, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, is known for his willingness to play a guitar at almost any provocation, even in the middle of a sermon. But Paul knows that the whole "Lake country" area has a musical bent, and the new multipurpose building there on Linnville Road has good acoustics for a reason.

So the folks at St. John's are offering to host a Choir Festival on Sunday, April 14, from 3 to 5 pm, for church choirs and praise teams from Jacksontown, Hebron, Buckeye Lake, Thornville, and Millersport. Many churches have musical groups that work long and hard on interesting and technically challenging pieces that are only heard once or twice in the Easter season; the plan for this festival is for everyone to get to sing those pieces again for an appreciative audience of their peers, and for anyone in the community who wishes to attend.

With two or three anthems apiece, and participation from chancel choirs, children's choirs, handbell choirs, or contemporary praise teams, the diversity of music and the common interests of the presenters should make for a great afternoon of music and fellowship.

St. John's can provide in the gathering space a piano and a Korg keyboard, and refreshments afterward. All churches in the communities named received in the mail and through Church Women United a flyer about this event, but if your church is interested, they simply need confirmation by March 31. Call Carol Hill at 323-0735 to express an interest or to get further information.

The last Lake area choir festival was about five years ago, and the time seems ripe for us to join together again.

Please plan to come and listen and perhaps even sing along on April 14 at 3 pm.

Hebron Crossroads
by Jeff Gill

"Have you ever seen copies of the Hebron Tribune?" asked Mary Alice Dernberger. So began a story that went from a hospital bedside to our Hebron Municipal Complex to the old library building and back again, ending with Mary Alice getting a pacemaker and renewed good health, and a new lease on life for some important pieces of Hebron history.

Thanks to Pat Walters of the Hebron Public Library, village manager Mike McFarland, and councilmember Jim Friend, but mainly thanks to Mary Alice's insistence, we've secured the volumes that contain clippings and whole copies of publications that open up a window to part of our community history. The timing couldn't be better, as our history is starting to take some dramatic new turns!

It turns out that the former Municipal and Civic Improvement Association (with some members still active in the community but no meetings to speak of) had been involved in helping get the fledgling Hebron Library a building. What is now the "old" building was being vacated by Park National Bank for their new building across the street, and John Alford (of blessed memory!) helped arrange the gift of that building to the Hebron Community Foundation, represented by current councilmember Bob Gilbert's mother in a photograph found in a scrapbook alongside a volume of Hebron Tribunes. 1959 and 1960 are all that we have, and may be all that were printed of that local paper. David S. Dernberger is a lead columnist in the first issue of the Tribune, with his four-digit phone number listed, and certainly no e-mail address! David, who was likely a very well-spoken five years old then, is now retired from Meritor and back in town from some years overseas in Sweden and England. His wife Vivian is now the voice on the phone for the Kirkersville Chapel of Henderson-VanAtta-Johnson, which would have been the Emerson Funeral Home in those long-ago back issues.

There will be much to share with you from these volumes, now being properly cared for in the new library and village offices, where they can be viewed by the public, but must be carefully handled due to the natural deterioration of newsprint over 40-plus years.

As Mary Alice and I talked about what had been "re"-discovered in these scrapbooks, she also told me about raising her family on the old Heimerl farm. Driving back to Hebron last week, I went to look for some of the traces of the lane and buildings, and saw that Dominion Homes has erected their "Lake Forest" subdivision sign on the eastern border of the old farm along the 79 bypass, and near the old 79 entrance to where the farm buildings used to be, a crew was busily planting stakes and marking the lanes of the forthcoming Lake Forest streets, behind the old Williams Restaurant site.

Then, over the weekend, the property transfers in the Saturday Advocate show that Kroger has purchased the land where they have been announcing their plans to build adjacent to AmeriHost and the location of Buckeye Outdoors' 43,000 square foot new building.

Coming up next weekend, Palm Sunday, Licking Baptist Church will open a new era in their history rich congregation's life with a new, spacious worship center and classrooms just southwest of where Blacks Road meets Beaver Run Road, northwest of the village limits. The congregation will "baptize" their new space on the 24th, and on Good Friday, March 29, at 7:00 pm they will welcome area churches to join together in a Community Good Friday service that Pastor Lonnie Aleshire and I have been talking about for some time! This is an opportunity to mark Good Friday prayerfully and also show your support for another great part of our Hebron community.

And Palm Sunday is a special day for us at Hebron Christian Church, as we mark (actually, mark the day after) our 135th anniversary as a congregation serving the Hebron/Union Township community. New history is made even as we continue to celebrate our past history here by the Hebron Crossroads!

Finally, Kathryn Lockwood will be setting up her Easter Egg Tree for the
Hebron Elementary kindergardeners this weekend. They'll be trooping by the
corner of North and Seventh Streets to see her annual display on Monday and
Tuesday, Mar. 18 and 19. This splash of color and sign of spring is
well-known and greatly anticipated in Hebron, and we're just glad she
didn't set up before the big windstorms last weekend! We'll have more about
area Easter activities in next week's column.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a peruser of old newspapers and scrapbooks, far too many of which are in his own mis-named "files." If you have current stories of historic events or just something happening next week, call him at 928-4066 or e-mail