Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Scouter January 2005
Licking District Trailmarkers

"Bobbie Merritt",

A new year and a 75 year anniversary for Cub Scouting! That’s right, 1930 was the start of our younger Scouting program, now starting in the first grade with Tiger Cubs and working up through Webelos in fourth and fifth.

The blue beanie cap with yellow piping may be gone, but Cub Scouts are everywhere (and our largest single branch); if you get invited to a Cub Pack “Blue & Gold” banquet in February or March, don’t miss it! And thank a Cubmaster or Den leader if you get the chance, since they really “make the pack go” as the Cub’s Akela.

And if you don’t know who Akela is/was, this winter would be a great time to read Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” (I’ve heard someone may have made a movie or two out of it), which was used as an imaginative foundation for the Cub program, just as Kipling’s “Kim” was formative for Baden-Powell’s vision of Scouting itself.

Scout Sunday – February 6

The first Sunday in February, near the anniversary of the national charter for the Boy Scouts of America in 1910 on Feb. 8, is often a day when units meet to worship together in a church that charters them, or a convenient place of worship for other Scouting organizations.

That afternoon, helping packs and troops “make a day of it” if they would like, is the District Bowl-a-thon at Park Lanes in Heath. Each participant, youth or adult, needs $20 in pledges to bowl (more is fine, too!); 40% goes to the unit, 25% to the event costs, and 35% to Friends of Scouting (FOS) for Licking District. Contact Bill Burgess, 366-7768, or come to the January 4 Roundtable for forms.

If your unit hasn’t scheduled their FOS presentation for their Blue & Gold banquet, family night, or troop program evening, call Bill or Larry Lorance soon!

Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts – Mar. 13

A newer but still traditional part of the Cub program is the gravity-powered excitement of the Pinewood Derby. The district wide Pinewood Derby is scheduled for March 13 at Indian Mound Mall; more information will be available through the Roundtables Jan. 4, Feb. 1, or Mar. 1 at Central Christian Church on Mt. Vernon Road in Newark, 7:15 pm. The district elections will be immediately before the first Roundtable of the year, Jan. 4, at 7:00 pm, open to all chartered organization rep’s and at-large members of the district.

District Recognition Dinner – Apr. 17

It is certainly not too early to think about nominations for District Award of Merit, Scouter, or Rookie Awards. Bring your nominations to Roundtable, and more information will be in next month’s “Scouter” under Licking District Trailmarkers.

Looking WAAAAY Ahead

Bill Rissler, with Troop 11 at Central Christian, is working on a plan to provide a special camp experience for children of the 211th ONG deployed to the Middle East last month. More information on how you can help or assist will be in future issues as well, with Bill assembling a staff and setting some training weekends to prepare for the support and activities we’ll need to serve these children and their families.

Less unusual is Cub Scout Day Camp, but the unique opportunity you will have is to sign up your Cubs for this great activity early, at a double great discount! June 14th to the 17th at Camp Falling Rock, a Tuesday through Friday, will have a base cost of $40 if you register scouts in April. It gets higher with each passing week after that, but you don’t want to know how much: just start now to plan on getting your Cubs signed up in April for those dates.

And Looking Back . . .

The final results on School Night/Round-Ups from Fall 2004 from Bill Acklin is 275 new scouts for Licking District. We would have loved 300, and suspect from activity levels in our packs and troops that we may have 300 new scouts, but some registrations may still be in pockets and purses and briefcases. If you have unregistered youth in your pack, troop, or crew (Venturing for young men and women 14 to 21 is growing; look for the dark green shirts at a Scouting event near you!), please pass them along to your unit commissioner or call Bill Burgess at 366-7768. Let’s get ‘em insured, on the mailing list, and with the charter!

Our popcorn sales were great (no numbers as yet), and thanks to popcorn Kernel Mary Rose Lewis for her work this first year; if they’re selling popcorn, tho’, they’d better be registered – sign ‘em up today, and we may have our 300 after all.

More on the history of Cub Scouting in the months ahead: just follow the Trailmarkers! For your stories, send ‘em to

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Notes From My Knapsack 12-05-04
By Jeff Gill
Red kettles and ringing bells have long been part of the Christmas season; they are one of the best known fundraisers around, supporting the Salvation Army throughout the English-speaking world.
Our local Salvation Army post, which is both a provider of services to the poor and homeless and also a church with a congregation like all posts of this peaceful army, has a magnificent history of care and comfort in Licking County. Nationwide, the Salvation Army has one of the finest track records around for fair use and open accountability for all funds entrusted to them, going back a hundred years and more.
Which made it all the more newsworthy when Target, Best Buy, and Giant Eagle decided this year to ban the bellringers at their store entrances during the holiday season. In fairness to those stores, they all have a “no solicitation” policy to which, traditionally, they made an exception for the Salvation Army. So the change is, they would point out, not a ban but an end to making exceptions for anyone. Hmmm. OK.
Some have called for a barrage of e-mails and letters to the CEOs at corporate headquarters, complaints to store managers (who have no say in this, by the way), and even boycotts. For those who miss this Christmas staple of the shopping experience, there may be a certain sense to those actions, and for myself, having stood in the cold and rung the bells and worked with their programs to the point of being made an honorary captain in their army in West Virginia, my sympathy is with the “bring back the kettle” crowd.
There is another way of looking at this, however. These (insert insulting adjective here) CEOs may be doing all of us a favor, unintentionally.
First, they’re taking away our ability to kid ourselves that a few dollar bills here and there when convenient is really doing our part to spread Christmas cheer to the most desperate in our community. We can think of our kettle contribution as our own anti-Scrooge inoculation, but five to ten dollar bills don’t buy the goods and services they once did in our homes, so why would it be different for Major DeMichael on East Main Street? If you want to shop exclusively at kettle-friendly stores, fine; better yet, send a check to 250 E. Main, Newark 43055 and make it $20 or $50 or $100 . . . you know what you can do. Or make a donation through a virtual kettle at, where you can designate our area for your gift on-line.
And how’bout that on-line shopping, anyhow? If more and more people are shopping through the internet, then the kettles at the door are passed by less of us no matter where they go, and we need to learn new ways of giving.
Or even virtual cash is part of the changing landscape: with less cash changing hands, the fiscal model of “break a twenty at the register, give the change at the kettle” doesn’t work as well. Swipe your card to purchase, to buy dinner, in making reservations, and pass the bellringer without a qualm because you have nothing that goes in the slot on top, right? Even churches are having to rethink Sunday offering with the rise of a truly cashless society, with committed, regular giving the only kind that really is going to show up in the plate or on the financial secretary’s desk.
Will I miss the Salvation Army presence in Christmas shopping? Sure I will, but I won’t miss the good feeling of knowing I’m part of the solution, not part of the problem. Give consciously, give intentionally, and give generously, whether through your church, the Licking County Coalition for Housing, the Center for New Beginnings, or the American Red Cross (they’re all in the book). Those are some that have a solid reputation and that I know to do good, gracious work here in our area.
And smile at the bellringers you do pass; they appreciate it more than you know, even if you don’t have any cash to contribute that time around. Nothing is warmer during the Christmas season.
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and occasional preacher around central Ohio and Licking County. If you have news or notes to share for the knapsack, e-mail him at