Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 5-16-04
By Jeff Gill

We closed the basement door a few weeks ago. No big deal, right?
In the Gill household, we haven’t closed the basement door in seven homes over sixteen years: it’s how the cats got to the litter box.
We moved from seminary housing into a home in my parish in some part because we adopted a grey cat whom we called Gandalf. Actually, he adopted us at the close of a three day revival at the church, showing up each evening to greet arrivals at the door and meow goodbye each night.
The last night he jumped into our car, the last to leave the parking lot. Skipping a few mushy details, he briefly lived an illegal life with a litter box in the half bath until we went to our first home with a basement.
Before we left that house to move to Newark, Ohio from Indianapolis, I brought home another cat, a kitten actually who was about to be put down a well. This was a temporary adoption, until we found somewhere else to place Pumpkin. That was fifteen years ago.
Now they’re both gone, each quietly expiring in the last year from general debility and a final attack of overall collapse. My Lovely Wife and I have been together nineteen years on the 19th, and those darn cats have been one of the few consistent parts of a weird and varied life from Indiana to Ohio to West Virginia to Pennsylvania and back to Ohio again.
At some point, we’ll probably go back to being owned by cats, but for now, we’re closing the basement door and adjusting to black clothing without tufts of cat hair. Those two cats had us to themselves for a decade before we rudely introduced a small child into their golden years, which they accepted with the usual feline hauteur. The Little Guy has chased them into the basement for the last time, and we’ve learned some lessons together about sickness and illness and dying and gone. He’d be delighted now if we adopted the Gahanna Lion, or maybe a lizard. We’ll see.
Sometimes, in church, someone will ask for prayers for a pet, and it usually isn’t a child. Occasionally I’ll get asked about the status of non-humans in heaven, also more often by grown adults than kids.
Pastorally, I know that the love people have for their pets and that they experience, rightly or wrongly, as coming from their “companion animals” is a very real thing to them. Theologically, the comfort I believe we are promised in the Bible where “every tear will be wiped from our eyes and death will be no more” does not rule out cats and parakeets and Labrador Retrievers (though perhaps not in the same room, but if the lion can lie down with the lamb. . .); therefore, I don’t see why I should count them out, either.
What God has made is good, and what shows God’s love is of God. So I offer up the part of our family life these last sixteen years that was Gandalf and Pumpkin, and trust that what God has made, God will preserve. Rest in peace, guys.

Seven days after our thirteenth anniversary, the Little Guy came into this world. A friend pointed out recently that the great thing about “five” is that dad will never be this smart again until age 22 or so. From six on, daddy gets a little dimmer, just a bit dumber and a whole lot less omniscient with every passing year.
Personally, I think we may have gotten a jump on this process, as “Daaaaaaaa-ddeeeee” becomes more and more a declaration of “what part of how I want things to be don’t you understand?” We will celebrate a new year, more big boy teeth, and the blossoming of “I want to do it myself” in everything from getting dressed (a good thing) to lawn mower repair (not so good).
And my pastoral experience tells me it can be a whole lot of fun to be the fount of all wisdom again someday if I can just be patient enough. In between, I’ll just be the amiable goof I am, and stick with embarrassing the dickens out of him. What’s a dad for, anyhow?

Hebron Elementary PTO is getting excited about the Village of Hebron Crossroads Festival. Tickets are going out as a pre-sale for the eight rides that will be available at Canal Park May 28-30, Friday through Sunday Memorial Day weekend. Michael’s Amusements has been very helpful, and their “rainbow posters” are popping up around the area (very attractive, too, Mr. Albanese!); they will make tickets available through the PTO and flyers will go home with kids this week on details.
Many community groups will set up along the “Midway” next to the “Action Pest Control Pavilion” for Sat., May 29, with informational, entertainment, and food item booths between the ride area behind Hayman’s Dairy Bar and the Gazebo/Picnic Shelter end of Canal Park. We can still use some parking aides Friday night and through Saturday guiding folks off Main into the area Coughlin Chevrolet of Hebron is clearing out for us. Contact me if your group is willing to take a two hour block wearing an orange vest and pointing people to parking spots.
And of course: Watch the Booster next week for more details!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and proud member of Hebron PTO; if you have news or notes of local interest, or want to help park, call 928-4066 or e-mail

Monday, May 10, 2004

Licking District Trailmarkers June/July 2004

Rockin’ the Rock

If we could just get pro wrestler and movie star “The Rock” out to Wilkins Corners for a fundraiser, we’d have “Rockin’ the Rock with The Rock!”

But things are pretty cool as it is: Cub Day Camp booming and, that same week, Staff Training Week under a new summer camp director (good luck, Chris!) in June, and then a solid summer of long-term camping for units from all over Simon Kenton Council, including quite a few from Licking District.

Scouters, remember as you’re thinking about how far to go to get that last kid to go to camp: retention in Scouting more than doubles for kids who have a long-term camp experience. Put another way, the Scout who doesn’t go to camp this summer has less than a 1 in 3 chance in staying active through the next year in your unit.

Thanks to all the Scoutmasters and troop camping chairs who have made the extra effort already! Licking District has an almost 100% amount of troops signed up for a week of camp somewhere, in or out-of-council, and that’s as it should be. Thanks also to Bill Burgess, our DE, and folks like Mike Dalton and our OA chapter officers who are talking up camp around the units.

Our next SKC/BSA “Scouter” will come out in August, which means the next deadline is July 1 for material that many in the district will not see until mid-August, so plan your submitted material accordingly. For instance, we probably should have in this issue info about Scout stuff at the Hartford Fair or Ohio State Fair, but little of that is available in the last week of April! So keep lead times in mind (it helps us plan ahead, anyhow!), and send your news and notes to Jeff Gill at Thanks!

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Total County Awareness!
Our Goal for School Night for Scouting

Every youth (and parent) in Licking County should, at minimum, know how they could join the Scouting program appropriate to their age level, in their area.

Bill Acklin, chairperson of the Membership Committee for the Licking County District reports that the membership committee is busy with planning efforts for School Night 2004. The district’s goal is to reach out to the boys of Licking County and share the message of scouting, in particular Cub Scouting. The committee plans to divide the area into five zones, each with a School Night Coordinator to work with and support Pack leaders in this recruiting activity, with the Membership Committee providing overall support. Tim Bubb, Newark City Treasurer and candidate for County Commissioner has volunteered to serve as Chairperson for School Night 2004. We are hopeful that this team approach to School Night 2004 will better ensure that the district will achieve the goal of sharing the Scouting program with the youth of Licking County and make School Night 2004 a complete success.


Purpose: School Night is a concentrated effort held each fall to acquaint boys and parents about Cub Scout opportunities and programs and to register new boys and new leaders with existing Cub Packs.

Goal: We have not been reaching as many young perspective Cub Scouts in the area as we would like to share the Scouting message. We need the help of all existing Cub Packs and Scout Troops to reach out to the youth of Licking County to share the Good News about Scouting.

What can Packs and Troops do to help? Begin planning for this year’s program by identifying a School Night Coordinator for your unit. Review dates for School Night with your sponsoring organization and set a date with the local school(s). The following schedule outlines the upcoming District’s program for 2004 for your guidance.

What support will the District Membership Committee provide? The Membership committee will provide program literature and fliers, training for Unit Coordinators, school contact information and other support as needed.

School Night 2004 Tentative Time Schedule

March 2 Roundtable Introduce School Night 2004

March 22 Mailing Mailing to Cub Masters and Pack committee chairs announcing School Night 2004 and request to have units identify School Night coordinator to attend April 6 Roundtable

April 6 Roundtable Organize School Night w/Packs asking Packs to review dates for School Night with sponsoring organization and set date by May 4 RT

May 4 Roundtable Packs advise dates for School Night

May 15 Deadline for Packs to schedule date for School Night w/schools

August 10 School Night training for presenters and units by District Membership Committee

August 17 Fall Program Kickoff (Boy Talk model presentation)

August 24-September 2 Boy Talk “Warm Up—Information” fliers sent to boys home from school with boys’ other paperwork going to the home from school

August 24-September 9 Boy Talks and School Night rallies to be held

September 2 & 11 Packs turn in new boy’s applications and new leader’s applications (site TBA)

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Fall Program Kickoff
Newark Public Library Mtg. Room
Tues., Aug. 17 – 5 to 7 pm

Note in the “School Night for Scouting” lead-in schedule the annual Fall Program Kickoff. This event, for all Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, and unit program chairs, includes Popcorn Sale info, leadership training updates, and a chance to meet people with programs from all over Licking County who want to help your Scouts succeed.

From activity options at Buckeye Lake, Flint Ridge & Newark Earthworks State Memorials, Licking Park District or Dawes Arboretum, and the Ohio Nature Education folks, you can reach in one place people from one end of our area to the other. . .plus talk to almost any of our district leadership as the fall program year gets started.

Drop by, have some coffee or pop, and tour the tables, ask questions, and best yet get some answers, whether on charters, youth religious awards, or how to tie a one-handed bowline. See you there!

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