Christmas Ideas

Are you looking for Christmas ideas for your Scout? Here’s some stocking stuffers that won’t break the bank:

Merino Wool socks -wicks in all kinds of weather


Inflatable Solar Lantern

Small Backpacking Stove (Amazon carries one for less than $10 that work well)

A few S- biner clips (small carabiners)

Ultralight Nalgene Water Bottle (Rubbermaid makes one that works well)

Titanium Spork (or even a few plastic sporks)

Tenacious Repair Tape

Travel bottles for Cooking Oil, Condiments



Collapsible bowls like Fozzils or Sea to Summit (Walmart has some in the cooking aisle)

Microfiber Towel

Sea to Summit 3/4 inch accessory straps (These are narrow, lightweight straps)

Plastic Trowel (from the gardening section)

Bushcraft 101 book or even better the BSA Field Handbook

Compression Sack for sleeping bag


Martin’s Cash for Causes Program (a/k/a “Martin’s Cards”)

3212ceee-6dca-4b90-a2d4-941c5b6a43d8Continuing our conversation from last night’s parent meeting, here is an easy way to offset the cost of Troop activities and outings – at no additional cost to you or your family:

Our Troop participates in the Martin’s Cash for Causes program.  

Purchase Martin’s gift cards through the Troop and 5% of your purchase is deposited into your son’s Scout account.  It’s “free money” if you shop (or purchase gas) at Martin’s!

If you spend $100 per week on groceries or gasoline, your son will accumulate more than $250 per year in a Scout account in his name!

Kristen Bird runs the program for us, and any questions can be directed to Kristin at 443.286.4121.

How it Works:

  1.   To purchase cards:
    1. Kristen sends out a note to let the Troop know she is accepting orders for Martin’s cards.  Just let her know the value of cards you would like to purchase.
    2. Bring a check payable to Troop 883 for the face value of the card.   
      1. PLEASE NOTE:  You must pay for the cards before the order is placed.
    3. Kristin will bring the cards to the next Troop Meeting, or you can make alternative arrangements with her to pick them up.
    4. You use the full face value of the cards (just like a debit card) at all Stop & Shop, Giant, Super Giant, Tops, and Martin’s store locations.
  2. Five percent (5%) of the value of the card is deposited into your son’s Scout Account.
    1. The proceeds from the account can be used to pay for Scouting-related items for your son, including:
      1. Trips and outings
      2. Troop dues
      3. Uniforms
      4. Other reasonable, Scout-related expenses

Troop Historian Report – Antietam Hike

On September, 16, 2016, 14 Boy Scouts, six Webelos, and five adults participated in a camping trip at Antietam.

When we got to the campsite, it was getting dark. and we had to carry our supplies through acorn field and a little bit of woods to our campsite. We helped the Webelos set up their tents, and we all ate our cracker barrel around the fire.

We awoke early Saturday morning. Many of the patrols made hot breakfasts. We hiked 10 miles around Antietam battlefield. It was the battlefield’s commemoration of the battle at Antietam. We were able to talk to many reenactors, rangers, and watch live cannon fire.

When we got back, we played man hunt. Our campsite was perfect for it. Many of the adults took a nap. All of the patrols made awesome meals including spaghetti and meat balls, Asian chicken with mango and pineapple, and hamburgers cooked over an open fire with a fixings bar among other things. We relaxed by the fire and eventually went to bed. In the morning we broke down camp, had a Scouts Own service, and returned to Saint Joseph.

It was a perfect weekend with perfect weather!

  • Carter M. – Troop Historian

Antietam Hike and Sharpsburg

The troop hiked the history trail at Antietam this weekend. Starting at the campground, the troop took the Sherrick Farm trail through Bloody Lane  to the Visitor’s Center where an artillery and infantry demonstration was being held. A short jaunt over to Dunker Church and the Infantry encampment was next on the list. The hike continued through the West Woods to the Cornfield. The troop stopped here for lunch while listening to the history of soldier’s clothing and camping equipment from one of the re-enacters. Did you know that the Union jackets were padded? It helped to create a more soldierly profile. After lunch the troop passed the Mumma Farm, Roulette Farm, along the the Three Farms Trail back to camp.

After a rollicking game of capture the flag and a hearty dinner, the troop took a trip to Sharpsburg for ice cream at the nearly famous Nutter’s Ice Cream Shop. While there, a local man told the scouts about growing up in Sharpsburg, and the 40 acre lake that is underneath the town. He pointed out the way to the Sharpsburg Spring around where one of our Troop 883 scout family’s ancestors built the town. Overall, it was a great trip – for the history and the hiking.




Leave No Trace Trainer Course


WHEN:  October 7-9, 2016
WHERE:  Downs Memorial Park, Pasadena, MD
WHO:  Course Director: Beverly Goetz




This course is designed to train Boy Scouts (age 14 and older), Venturers, and Adult Leaders to serve as Leave No Trace Trainers for Scouting and the 
wider public.  
(For a Scout to serve in the position of Leave No Trace Trainer,
he must complete the Leave No Trace Trainer Course)
The youth leaders of a busy outdoor adventure program must be able to apply Leave No Trace to a variety of activities in differing environments during all seasons of the year, all done in the company of Scouting youth and adults with varying levels of outdoor skills, self discipline and commitment to an outdoor ethic.
Additionally, the course will provide participants with a deeper understanding of Leave No Trace to help individuals make and guide others in making good choices to minimize recreational impacts to help protect the wonderful outdoor locations they choose to enjoy.
Individuals planning trips to National High Adventure Bases, Camp Staff members, Unit Leaders, and those in District or Council training positions are urged to attend.

What it Means NOT TO “Live” the Oath and Law

One of the amazing traditions of the Olympic Games is that athletes – even from the days of the ancient Olympics – put aside any political concerns and compete against the world’s best athletes.  At any Olympiad, there are stories of athletes who – despite the fact that their respective countries might be at war with one another or who might have opposing political views – become friends.  The TV commentators are usually quick to point this out when athletes enter the closing ceremonies – not by country but as a mixed group. The symbolism is that the athletes entered the stadium for the opening ceremonies as separate countries, but they leave as friends.

It doesn’t always work out that way.  You have probably seen this story coming from Rio:

RIO DE JANEIRO — An Egyptian athlete who refused to shake his Israeli opponent’s hand after their judo bout has been reprimanded and sent home from the Rio Olympics, officials said Monday.

The International Olympic Committee said Islam El Shehaby received a “severe reprimand” for his behavior following his first-round heavyweight bout loss to Or Sasson on Friday.

When Sasson extended his hand, El Shehaby backed away and shook his head, injecting Middle Eastern politics into the Rio Olympics. The referee called the 34-year-old El Shehaby back to the mat and obliged to him to bow; he gave a quick nod and was loudly booed as he exited.

Judo opponents typically bow or shake hands at the beginning and end of a match as a sign of respect.

El Shehaby, an ultraconservative Salafi Muslim, had come under pressure from Islamist-leaning and nationalist voices in Egypt before the Rio Games to withdraw, but competed anyway.

The IOC, which set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the incident, said the Egyptian’s conduct “was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.”

The Egyptian Olympic Committee also “strongly condemned” El Shehaby’s actions “and has sent him home,” the IOC said.

The IOC also asked the Egyptian committee to make sure that all its athletes “receive proper education on the Olympic values before coming to the Olympic Games.”

Immediately after the bout, the Egyptian Olympic committee had called it a “personal action” by El Shehaby, adding that he had been “alerted before the match to abide by all the rules and to have sporting spirt during his match with the Israeli player.”

Sasson, who lost in the semifinals but later won a bronze medal, had said he was not surprised by El Shehaby’s actions because his coaches had warned him he might be refused a handshake. “This was his decision,” he said.

Similar incidents have happened before at judo competitions between Israelis and Arabs.

Egypt was the first country in the Arab world to sign a peace treaty and normalize relations with Israel after decades of war.

What it Means to “Live” the Oath and Law

We adults talk a lot about helping Scouts to “live” the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.   Sometimes, the Scouts “get it” and other times, it proves to be a challenge for us leaders to help the Scout make that connection.  

During the Olympic Games, there are often good and bad examples of the values we try to instill through the Scouting program.

Although this first example is not during the Olympics in Rio (I just saw it for the first time yesterday), it bears repeating – if nothing else because American tennis player Jack Sock did the right thing.   Here’s what USA Today had to say about this encounter:

In a Hopman Cup match  [in January 2016] between American tennis player Jack Sock and Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt, a ball was called out on a Hewitt serve. Hewitt went to take his second serve, when Sock stopped him and told him to challenge the call.

“That was in if you want to challenge it,” he said.

Hewitt, who plans on retiring after this year’s Australian Open, was visibly shocked by Sock’s words, but then agreed to challenge the call. The chair umpire pointed out that Sock had already conceded the point, but decided to have some fun with it. They went to the board, and there it was — in. The crowd erupted in applause, and Hewitt went on to win the match.

I want to emphasize that Hewitt won the match.  Who knows what would have happened if Sock kept his mouth shut and let the game continue without doing the right thing. The outcome might have been different.  Sock might have won the match.  We will never know what would have otherwise happened.  

Personally, I won’t remember in a week who won this match, but I will remember for a long time the sportsmanship Sock displayed.

2016 U.S. Olympic Team Boasts at Least Six Eagle Scouts

Posted on August 3, 2016 by 

At least six members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team competing in Rio de Janeiro this month are Eagle Scouts, the National Eagle Scout Association has confirmed.

Before they wore red, white and blue uniforms for Team USA, these men — two swimmers, a race walker, a marathoner, a triathlete and a beach volleyball player — wore the red, white and blue Eagle Scout badge on their Scout uniforms.

They’re living proof that a young person has time for success in Scouting and in sports.

Let’s meet these Eagle Scouts.

Casey Patterson

Casey Patterson, Beach Volleyball

Date of birth: April 20, 1980

Eagle Scout earned: Sept. 25, 1997

HometownNewbury Park, Calif.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Patterson and teammate Jake Gibb will be seeded sixth at the Olympics, giving them a real chance to compete for a medal.

When to watch: Patterson and Gibb begin play Aug. 6 with a match against Qatar. Coverage starts at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

How to watch: Beach volleyball coverage will be spread across NBC’s many networks: NBC, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network. Find a TV/livestream schedule here.

Ryan Held

Ryan Held, Swimming: 4×100 Freestyle Relay

Date of birth: June 27, 1995

Eagle Scout earned: Dec. 16, 2010

HometownSpringfield, Ill.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Held made the relay team as the third-fastest individual swimmer in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Team Trials in June. Six swimmers will travel to Rio and vie for the four spots on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team. The four who will swim in the finals on Aug. 7 won’t be announced until that day.

“They’re going to put the four fastest guys on the relay, and whoever they believe is the four fastest guys, that is who’s going on,” Held told his local newspaper.

When to watch: Both the qualifying heat and the final medal race in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay are held Aug. 7. Coverage of the heats begins at noon Eastern. Coverage of the final begins at 9 p.m. Eastern.

How to watch: Swimming coverage will air on NBC. Find a TV/livestream schedule here.

Sean Ryan

Sean Ryan, Swimming: 10K Open Water

Date of birth: Aug. 13, 1992

Eagle Scout earned: July 19, 2010

HometownChattanooga, Tenn.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Ryan finished fourth in the 10K swim at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. He finished 15 seconds behind the champion, meaning he’s within reach of a medal in Rio.

When to watch: The men’s 10K, at the picturesque Copacabana beach, begins at 8 a.m. Eastern Aug. 16.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

John Nunn

John Nunn, Track and Field: 50K Race Walk

Date of birth: Feb. 3, 1978

Eagle Scout earned: Aug. 12, 1992

HometownSan Diego

Olympics experience: Third Olympics (2004, 2012)

Outlook: Finished 37th in the 50K race walk — his career best — at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. At more than 31 miles, the 50K race walk is the longest Olympic event. Unlike running, race walking requires one foot to be in contact with the ground at all times.

When to watch: The race begins at 7 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 19 and will end about 3.5 hours later.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

Greg Billington

Greg Billington, Triathlon

Date of birth: May 30, 1989

Eagle Scout earned: June 2, 2007

HometownSpokane, Wash.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Ranked 37th on the Olympics qualification list, Billington was the was the top American finisher at the Rio de Janeiro qualifying triathlon, placing 15th.

When to watch: Coverage starts at 10 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 18.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

Jared Ward

Jared Ward, Marathon

Date of birth: Sept. 9, 1988

Eagle Scout earned: Sept. 28, 2006

HometownKaysville, Utah

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Qualified for the 2016 Olympics by placing third in the marathon at the U.S. Team Trials, held in February in Los Angeles. Ward finished the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 13 minutes.

When to watch: The marathon kicks off the final day of the Olympics. Coverage begins at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 21.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

Did we miss any?

It’s possible an Eagle Scout Olympian slipped through the cracks when NESA compared its database to the list of Olympians.

Missing or mistyped information in the Eagle Scout list could mean we missed an Eagle Scout who will compete in Rio.

So if you know of any Eagle Scouts members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team that I haven’t listed here, leave a comment below.