Friday, May 03, 2002

Commish Corner
by Jeff Gill, Dist. Commissioner

A number of questions have come up lately about Youth Protection Training, which is one of Scouting's benchmark adult training requirements -- and the envy of many other youth-serving agencies. In fact, I've done "YPT" for a number of church and civic youth groups at their request, after they've heard how good our program is.

Basically, the full 90 minute YPT is a one-time requirement for the "trained" chevron with any leadership position. About 30 of you (in Licking District) completed that, or repeated that, up at Falling Rock during Spring Camporee. Jim Francis and I appreciated your interest and attention, and those who don't get their YPT cards at May or June Roundtable will get them in the mail. We discussed at that time regularly offering a "refresher" to review changes and developments in reporting requirements and Scouting procedures, but those will be for those who have completed YPT and won't replace the full training.

As always, there are three "exceptions." First and foremost, this still means that you may have to repeat the training for things like camp staff, Philmont leadership, Woodbadge, etc. Secondly, it is an annual expectation that each pack, troop, and crew will offer to the youth a presentation on child safety and abuse -- age appropriate material on video is available through the council office, and we hope to have copies in the district soon. Thirdly, Venturing YPT is the one entirely different training, since you're working with both young men and women ages 14 to 21. No one on the district level is currently certified to provide such training, but Steve Hoar has gone through it and finds it well worth the extra time.

And as always, if you have questions, call me at 928.4066 or e-mail, and we'll find the answers!

Monday, April 29, 2002

Hebron Crossroads
by Jeff Gill

Last Sunday under a threatening sky, a dozen kids rode their bikes out at Evans Park on Refugee Road for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. The difficult upwind struggle was made easier by remembering the cause they rode for.

"When you get tired and it feels hard, think of those kids at St. Jude's who are really struggling," Glenna Jones reminded the kids (and some brave parents!). "They're fighting cancer and leukemia and other illnesses that they can't just go home from." Clay's Cafe has been a regular sponsor of this event for some years.

Another thing that felt good about the ride was the pair of lead riders starting the St. Jude's Bike-a-thon off: Chief Carney and Sgt. Brooks of the Hebron Police on their patrol cycles. They did their best to serve as a wind break on the southern leg as the kids got going. The skies cleared and the weather alerts were canceled, but the winds just grew stronger. If you pledged one of these riders, you may want to think about doubling your contribution, because the kids really did pedal twice as hard to go around the perimeter track!

Tuesday, May 7 is a voting day in Ohio, and along with a number of county primary contests is our Lakewood levy for the local school district. Many of us in the area hope that the school board will be empowered again to offer full kindergarten programs, eliminate pay-to-participate, and give some raises instead of one-time year-end bonuses. We'll keep our quality teachers and staff for only so long while we're at 11th place out of 11 districts in Licking County. This columnist says: Lakewood Yes.

The Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society, with a museum in Buckeye Lake that includes displays of all area communities, including Hebron, is responsible for helping the Dept. of Natural Resources with the once a year visitation of Cranberry Bog/Island. When I lived in Newark, my predecessor at Hebron Christian, Morgan Wickizer, would always call to tell me when "the day" was so Joyce and I could come walk on the famous "floating island."

Officially called "Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve in Buckeye Lake," this 11 acre area along the north shore of the lake is a remnant of glacial times, a mat of sphagnum moss, cottongrass, and mud sedge that broke loose and rose to the surface in 1830 as the lake was created as a feeder reservoir for the Ohio-Erie Canal. Rare orchids, cranberry and pitcher plants, and round-leafed sundew grow wild there, along with other wild and endangered plants.

Sat., June 22 is the date of the "open house," which is selected to coincide with the peak blooms of grass-pink and rose pogonia orchids. It is only one day, because of the fragile nature of this shrinking ecosystem (formerly 50 acres, Cranberry Bog is now barely 11 acres of area). And only 480 people can visit between 8 am and 4 pm; demand has been so great in recent years that a lottery system has been set up to keep us from loving this natural wonder to death.

To visit our local "Brigadoon" of the Ice Age, send a postcard to ODNR Div. of Natural Areas, 1889 Fountain Square Court, F-1, Columbus, Ohio 43224. Put "Cranberry Bog" on the postcard, along with your name, address with zip, daytime phone number, and number of people in your party not exceeding 10. There's only one postcard per family, and you'll get confirmation of your time if selected in June.

That may seem like a whole lot to go through just to visit a bog, even one with boardwalks and meat-eating plants (well, insects anyhow), but everyone who visits comes back marvelling at how it really is like a trip through time. Consider joining this lottery with much better odds and a very worthwhile payoff!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a long-time bog walker. If you know of interesting places to get your feet wet or have other community news, call 928-4066 or e-mail