Monday, July 17, 2017

Enter The Boy's Life 2017 Say Yes To Reading Contest!

Write a one-page report titled “The Best Book I Read This Year” and enter it in the Boys’ Life 2017 “Say Yes to Reading!” contest.

The book can be fiction or nonfiction. But the report has to be in your own words — 500 words tops. Enter in one of these three age categories:
  • 8 years old and younger
  • 9 and 10 years old
  • 11 years old and older


First-place winners in each age category will receive a $100 gift card from Amazon.com. Second-place winners will receive a $75 gift card; third-place winners, a $50 gift card.

Everyone who enters will get a free patch like the one on this page. (And, yes, the patch is a temporary insignia, so it can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform shirt, on the right pocket. Proudly display it there or anywhere!) In coming years, you’ll have the opportunity to earn different patches.

The contest is open to all Boys’ Life readers. Be sure to include your name, address, age and grade in school on the entry.

Send your report, along with a business-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope, to:

Boys’ Life Reading Contest
S306
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Entries must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2017 and must include entry information and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Texas Badge



The Texas Badge is an extra badge that the boys can earn and wear as temporary insignia. In other words, it's a temporary patch that is usually hanging from the button or inserted into a plastic sleeve that is hanging from that button so that you may proudly display said awesome patch that they want to wear as part of their record of awesomeness!

Here is a handy-dandy visual aid for your insignia placement viewing pleasure.


But, I digress, back to The Texas Badge.  Printable here

How awesome that you can EARN AN AWARD just for learning some amazing things about this amazing state.

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Be an active Cub Scout or Webelos Scout registered in a Pack in Texas. (well, you've all got THAT covered, don'tcha?!  NEXT!
STATE SYMBOLS
  • Name the State bird (printable here.)
  • State flower (printable here)
  • State motto - Friendship
  • Sing or recite the words of "Texas, Our Texas"(here)

STATE HISTORY
  • Draw the six flags of Texas. Tell something important that happened when Texas was under each flag.  Here's a great resource to use. The flags they draw can be any size they want.
  • Name a famous Texas. Tell why that person is famous, and what you like or dislike about him or her.  There are a TON of these to choose from:  
    • Stephen F. Austin, Davy Crockett among hundreds of others. Try HERE or HERE
  • Visit a historical place in Texas. Tell about the important events, which happened there. If you go on the USS Lexington with us in September, you'll be covered for sure!

STATE CULTURE
  • Read a story about any Texas subject (fiction or non-fiction). Tell what you learned from the story. 
  • Find out about the Indians who lived near your community at any time. Tell about some of their history and customs. If you have already done any of these requirements for another Cub Scout or Webelos Scout award, you must do something different for the Texas Badge. For example, if you visited a historical place for another Cub Scout or Webelos Scout award, you should visit a different historical place for the Texas Badge.  Amazing resource here. 
Once your son has completed all of the requirements for the Texas Badge, complete the application and turn it into your den leader to validate the completion of the criteria for earning the badge. 

Great American Campout - Take the Pledge!



June 24 is the 13th annual Great American Campout sponsored by The National Wildlife Federation features 5,000 new reasons to pledge online to camp between NOW through the end of October 2017. So, if you can't camp on THE DAY... it's okay you can still pledge because we WILL be camping between now and October!  SO GO PLEDGE HERE NOW!  

This initiative is a summer long way to encourage camping which connects you with nature and wildlife.  I mean, think about it -- you can't fully appreciate it if you never are out in it!  Right?

It doesn't matter if you're camping in a tent, in a cabin, in your backyard, in a national forest or in an RV -- just GET OUT THERE AND CAMP between now and October! 

Jeff Probst, Executive Producer and host of CBS' Survivor and avid outdoorsman, serves as this year's celebrity spokesperson. The National Wildlife Federation's beloved wildlife ambassador, Ranger Rick, will help young campers join the fun and excitement with family-friendly downloadable camping activities, recipes, and books.

Richard Louv penned Last Child In The Woods. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. I fully believe that the more and more commercial driven, label seeking, persuasively marketable we have made ourselves, the further the disconnect between us and nature.  That's why we strive to keep the OUT in scOUTing. We need nature! The best thing you can do is to DISCONNECT from your screens and CONNECT outside! So, take the pledge to join us at least once before the deadline!

Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation states, "Reconnecting with nature inspires us to care for what we love and rekindles the conservation ethic that lives inside each of us. When you can be present in nature and experience a connection – when you look into a tree and see the eyes of a great horned owl staring back at you – it reminds us of our responsibility to take action and protect the things we value most."

Read more about the initiative HERE.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Summer STEM Camps

We are so lucky to be part of the amazing Longhorn Council for so many reasons. Not only do they have an amazing program schedule for scouts Council-wide all year long, but they also have an amazing summer STEM program for boys and girls in grades K-6.

For more information, click on the image below or contact the Longhorn Activity Center at longhornactivitycenter.org or by calling (817) 231-8537.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Cub Scouts Has a Great Purpose



One of the best gifts you can give your kid through Scouting is a whole new family... all of you!  Values that last a life time.

National Fishing & Boating Week

June 3-11 is National Fishing and Boating Week.  All over the country people are encouraged to get outside and get on the water.

Check out THIS LINK for all the details for events nationwide. A big perk of this week? FREE FISHING! Experienced anglers are encouraged to bring a newbie onto the water to experience the thrill of the catch.  Texas' free fishing day is Saturday, June 3.

There's information to teach you how to fish, find places to fish, and even get a fishing license online.

The best way to explore this national week is to get outside and get on the water!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June - A Scout is Brave


The BSA point of the Scout Law for this month is Brave -- by definition, the polar opposite of fear. Although, I believe that both can be equally crippling. Being brave doesn't mean you're not afraid... bravery is actually to continue to move forward despite being afraid and frankly, it's something quite different for each and every one of us. 

Bravery could mean something as simple as standing on top of the monkey bars to a Tiger scout or signing your name on the line to dedicate your life serving in our nation's military.  Bravery can be conquering Mt. Everest or having the courage to stand up before strangers to deliver a speech. It could be going away for the first time ever to camp without the creature comforts to which you've grown accustomed... to walking into the meeting of a brand new Pack and trying to make friends with people you don't know. 

Bravery is saying no to the wrong thing. 

Bravery can be having the courage to quit when you know the path by which you travel is not the one you intended.  Listening to that inner voice rather than the masses of people that you may have surrounded yourself with.. is very brave.



Being okay with being different... is brave. 


Bravery is... showing up... in every sense of the word.

{I do have to put a disclaimer here though -- don't let me allow ANYONE to confuse being brave with being stupid because the internet is FULL of people doing really, REALLY stupid things that don't equate to an OUNCE of bravery.} 

Thanks, I feel better now.

Every month in the Boy's Life magazine there is a feature called Scouts In Action.  Many of their stories highlight scouts all over the world who showed bravery.  Check out some of those stories the next time it arrives in your mailbox.  In fact, here's a link to the site with the previously published Scouts in Action pages from the magazine.

So taking on the idea of bravery... did you know that a Scout can face danger even if he is afraid... that's being brave.  Think of all the things people are afraid of.  I'll bet that one of the top fears on more lists than you could even fathom is... 


 !!  SNAKES  !! 

There are lots of people who believe that the only good snake is a dead snake but there couldn't be anything further from the truth. Snakes are beneficial to our ecosystem in more ways than you can imagine. The way to learn to be brave if you're afraid of them is by educating yourself to identify the venomous snakes you might come across so that when you see anything other, you can simply appreciate them (and... perhaps spray them with a water hose to get them to go away if you're still not a fan).

Shaun Hayes has one of my favorite Instagram accounts @tx_snakewrangler and he has given me permission to use his photos for this post.  They're beautiful and amazing and I'm so grateful for his love of herping which enables me to share with you ways to identify these creatures.  Because, the more you know...the more you grow! Please check him out on YouTube too right here.

Coral Snake
  • Coral snakes have one of the strongest venoms of any snake, but because of their small jaws they are not considered as dangerous as rattlesnakes.
  • The snakes are usually between 18 and 20 inches long. Some grow to be 3 feet long.
  • They can be as skinny as a pencil.
  • Their heads are small and look like their tails.
  • Their fangs are always out because they cannot pull them back into their mouths. 
  • There is a harmless king snake that looks so much like the coral snake that people made up a rhyme about their coloring. However, it is a good idea to never pick up any snake unless there is an adult with you. The rhyme is: “Red and yellow, kill a fellow; “Red and black, just stay back.” So, if the red bands touch the yellow bands, you know it's a coral snake.
  • Coral snakes live in a variety of habitats, ranging from marshes to woods and sand hills. They also like to sleep under rotting leaves. They are often found in suburban areas as well. 
  • They eat lizards and other small snakes. 
  • They lay eggs. Babies are 7 inches long when they hatch and are fully venomous. 
  • Most people who are bitten receive the bite when they pick up the snakes or step on them with bare feet.
Here is a photo of a coral snake. See if you can find the head. See how the red touches yellow? 


Copperhead
  • Copperhead snakes get their name from their copper-red heads. 
  • They are pit vipers and have heat-sensing pits on their faces that help them detect prey. 
  • Copperheads have wide, muscular bodies with hourglass-shaped markings. 
  • They average between 2 and 3 feet long. 
  • They live in many different environments, including rocky areas, woods, and mountains; near streams, desert oases, and canyons. Nearer to humans, they also love to live in wood and sawdust piles, abandoned and overgrown yards, and old construction areas. 
  • Although they hunt alone, they are social and hibernate in dens with many other snakes. 
  • Copperheads eat mice and other small rodents, small birds, lizards, amphibians, small snakes, and insects. 
  • They use their pits to sense heat and track prey. After they bite large prey, they wait until the prey dies and then eat it. 
  • Adults sometimes eat only 10 to 12 meals a year if the meal is a larger animal. 
  • Babies are born live with fangs and venom as dangerous as an adult snake’s. 
  • Copperheads give no warning and will strike almost immediately if they feel threatened.

See how the pattern looks like Hershey Kisses? That's a characteristic indicative of one species of copperhead.


This is a broad banded copperhead.
Another view of a copperhead.


Rattlesnake
  • A rattlesnake’s warning sounds are hissing and rattling of its tail. 
  • Rattlers can grow to be 1 to 7 feet long. 
  • They have a distinctly triangular head. 
  • Every time a rattlesnake sheds its skin, another ring is added to the rattle on its tail. 
  • Rattlesnakes live in many different environments in North and South America. They can live anywhere from desert sands to grasslands, scrub brush, rocky hills, and swamps. They can live in high elevations, up to 11,000 feet. 
  • Texas has NINE native species of rattlers. I've only seen four in my life.
  • Generations of rattlesnakes can use the same dens for hundreds of years. 
  • They give birth every two years to live babies. 
  • They can live up to 30 years. 
  • Rattlesnakes eat small rodents, reptiles, and insects. 
  • Their strike is extremely fast. 
  • They eat about every two weeks. 
  • Most rattlesnake strikes on humans happen when the snakes are stepped or sat upon.
Diamondback rattle snake. The rattle...and diamond pattern give this one away, no?  There is an Eastern Diamondback and a Western Diamondback -- each has a coloration to help it blend in with its environment.

This is a massasauga rattler. Distinctive by the rattle (shocker) and the Pac Man pattern.

This is an Eastern Timber rattlesnake

Cottonmouth a.k.a. Water mocassin 
  • Cottonmouths are the only venomous water snake in North America, but they are also happy soaking up the heat on land. 
  • They have a triangular head and a thick body. 
  • They are also commonly called water mocassins. 
  • They are called cottonmouths because they open their mouths wide when they are threatened. The inside of the mouth is white, like cotton. 
  • They are pit vipers. 
  • Cottonmouths range from 2 to 4 feet long. 
  • They have dark vertical lines by each nostril and pale snouts. 
  • They can be found in swamps, marshes, drainage ditches, ponds, lakes, and streams or sunning themselves on land nearby. 
  • They swim with their heads out of the water. 
  • They eat fish, birds, amphibians, lizards, baby alligators, turtles, small mammals, and other snakes. 
  • Babies are born live in litters of up to 20. 
  • When threatened, cottonmouths will coil up, open their mouths, and expose their fangs.

See how white his mouth is? That's how they got their name. People try to say they're aggressive but you can see video after video of these and they stay coiled and rarely strike. I'm not saying they won't but they are not the monsters they are made out to be. Notice the sharp taper from thick to tail. Very good way to learn to ID these as they are not a slight taper like many snakes are. They go from thick to tail - BAM!
Another beautiful view of how they go from fat to end. Another reason, too, not to go sticking your hand in holes if you don't know what's in it. I zoomed in on this picture, below, too, because I want you to see the mouth and banded eyes. 



Juvenile cotton mouth - showing you some of the variations of coloration. Their tails also have a greenish tip when they're babies, too.

Wanted to show you a SIDE VIEW of the head of a water moccasin / cotton mouth. See how the brown band runs fully along their eyes? That's another way to help you ID this species. 
If anything, nature shows us ways that camouflage and pattern mimicry help species survive and avoid predation.  For instance, the photo below shows two diamondback water snakes with a broadbanded water snake. These are constantly misidentified as cottonmouth snakes. I have personally seen more than one photo posted on Facebook (after they have been killed) by people SWEARING they're cottonmouths. I promise not every snake is a cottonmouth. 

Speaking of mimicry... I want to draw your attention to how these NON VENOMOUS snakes can flatten their heads to LOOK largely triangular (which people like to say is indicative of venomous snakes). Lots of snakes learn ways to appear big and bad so they're not messed with. Another reason to educate yourself. 



This plain bellied watersnake is frequently confused with a cottonmouth. See the vertical bars along its mouth? That's another way to identify this harmless, nonvenomous species.

Below is a video posted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help you see these species moving in the wild.



And if just watching this gave you the heebie jeebies -- thanks for being brave and making it to the end!  

National Trails Day



Saturday, June 3 is National Trails Day  

It's a day where everyone nationwide is encouraged to lace up their hiking boots, air up their bike tires, grab their kayaks, or even saddle up their horse and HIT THE TRAILS!



From the American Hiking Society's website: 
National Trails Day is the only nationally coordinated event designed to unite all muscle-powered trail activities with the goal of connecting more people to trails. Every trail beckons adventure and has a story to share with any person willing to discover it, and American Hiking Society believes these trail experiences can improve the lives of every American.  
Each year, on the first Saturday of June, American Hiking Society and the trails community invite Americans of all ages and abilities to find their own adventure and discover their unique story at one of the thousands of events hosted throughout the country.  
By coordinating a wide array of trail activities on a single day, National Trails Day attracts new trail users and helps connect existing trail enthusiasts with local clubs and organizations with the hopes of creating trail advocates and stewards. The task to protect and maintain more than 200,000 miles of trails in the U.S. requires a collaborative effort among trail clubs, organizations, government agencies, and most importantly passionate trail advocates and stewards.

There are lots of activities going on nationwide so if you won't be in town to join us Saturday for our outdoor experience with leader, Eric James, please CHECK HERE for something near where you will be! Check ScoutBook for Saturday's location, time and to RSVP so we know to expect you.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day

I share this post every year and will continue to as it serves as a genuinely poignant reminder of the freedoms we take for granted and the sacrifice so many have made to our country.  I want to wish all of our Pack 1910 family a Happy Memorial Day.

While many Americans will celebrate Memorial Day with hot dogs, hamburgers and a day off... let us not forget what this day is really all about.  Memorial Day is not about 20% off sales and lounging by the pool.  Memorial Day is a day of honor and respect for our fallen... and sometimes forgotten.  


Photo source
Price of Freedom
Photo source
From the US Memorial Day website, Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.


On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.  


 


I encourage all Pack 1910 families to engage in something meaningful this weekend to help instill in our Cubs a purpose for this day.  Let's raise a generation that doesn't forget. The National Memorial Day Parade takes place tomorrow at 1pm CST and you will be able to view it live here.  More on the parade can be found here.

Troop 1910 and Troop 32 in Keller will be assisting the Mt. Gilead Cemetery with a ceremony that I would like to invite ALL of our Pack family to attend.  There is plenty of shade, but please be prepared to bring your own chairs.  Any scouts please wear full Field Uniform.  There is usually quite an impressive but brief service and flag retirement... they've even had historical reenactors present as well in the past.  It's definitely worthy of attendance.  You may park in the church across the street. The address is 1352 Bancroft Road in Keller.  Again, the ceremony begins at 11 am.  The Rotary Club will serve hot dogs and light refreshments after the service.

We have added to our Pack Calendar a special entry on Memorial Day.  At 3pm -- no matter where you are, what you are doing or whose company you are sharing -- please stop and take a moment to gather your family and friends together to remember those who have fallen in service to our great nation.  Memorial Day is more than a cookout, it's a time to be in thought for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice as well as their families.  The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3pm, local time, wherever you are. Unite with Americans everywhere to show that we have not forgotten that freedom isn't free.  We are the home of the free BECAUSE of the brave!  

Here is a Memorial Day Tribute you could watch with your family.  


Friday, May 19, 2017

Bridging Potluck

The culmination and celebration of a year of hard work is something Pack 1910 scouts look forward to.  Our annual bridging celebration and potluck is definitely one of our most anticipated events. It is THIS SUNDAY!

The Scouts will begin with a graduation ceremony where they bridge to their new ranks in the prayer garden of the United Methodist Church of Keller at 3pm.  So, please have them present in their full field uniform.  They will be presented with their new neckerchief, slides and handbooks.  



Then, it’s time for some food and fellowship at the Scout House!   

Image result for what if it's raining

IN THE EVENT OF RAIN OR IF THE GROUNDS ARE TOO SATURATED, WE WILL BE MEETING IN THE FAMILY LIFE CENTER (THE BIG GYM) FOR BOTH THE CEREMONY AND THE MEAL. AN EMAIL WILL BE SENT OUT BY 2PM WITH THE EXACT LOCATION OF THE EVENT.  

A gentle reminder that this will serve as the last Pack Meeting until September. Other posts have been made on the upcoming summer events we have in store! Be sure to save the date for those.


Be sure to check your e-mail (and/or spam folder) for the Sign-up Genius that went out regarding sign-ups for potluck items if you haven't already. In order to make this great event EVEN BETTER, we need a little help from everyone.  So, thank you in advance for stepping up and helping the Pack go!

  • Sunday, May 21 at 3pm
  • Check your e-mail by 2pm to ensure you know WHERE we will be setting up due to the potential for rain tonight and tomorrow. (This will ensure you know if you need to drop your potluck items off at the Scout house or simply bring everything to the Family Life Center.)
  • Ideally, United Methodist Church Prayer Garden for Bridging then a short walk to the Scout House for the potluck and fellowship.  
  • Scouts should arrive in full field uniform
  • Please remember to bring drinks for your family
  • Don’t forget to bring your camp chairs if we are able to bridge in the Prayer Garden
  • Sign up for one or more of the slots to cover needed items for the potluck
  • Did I mention to bring drinks for your family?
  • Oh yeah, and chairs, too
  • Last but not least – Don’t forget to bring your cameras!

If you have any questions, please contact April or your den leaders.  Thanks to EVERYONE for a great 2016-2017!



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017-2018 Pack Calendars

Image result for calendars

The Pack calendars for June 2017 - May 2018 have been uploaded to our Pack's Google Drive. 

The year at a glance can be found HERE or by clicking the image below.


The MONTHLY calendar can be found HERE or by clicking the image below.



While we don't have everything listed, it's got the majority of our big events for the upcoming scouting year.  The den events, obviously, aren't on here but we want to make sure that you have the dates for the BIG THINGS so you can SAVE THE DATES NOW!  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!



Happy Mother's Day to all the Akela Moms out there in Pack 1910!  We owe you so much for not only putting up with the stinky, smoke-laden camp-out clothes to the finding of lost whatchamacallits...

...from the rides back and forth to den and Pack meetings to the planning of advancement

...from the selling of popcorn and chocolates to volunteering for those little jobs that mean so much

...from the smiles of support and encouragement to the mentoring of tomorrow's leaders

...from the snacks to the last-minute projects


...from the sewing of patches to the labeling of awards
...from the collecting to the leading


... from the depths of our hearts... THANK YOU AND HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY


Happy Mother's Day to the Lion moms who have jumped into this new program because you knew it was something your little cubs would benefit from! You're already taking steps to ensure that this is the best program for him! We appreciate you!



Happy Mother's Day to the Tiger moms who have jumped into this program fearlessly and helped turn this into something their boys want to be a part of!  We appreciate you!


Happy Mother's Day to the Wolf moms who are learning their way more and more through the program and start to realize the importance of Pack participation!  We appreciate you!


Happy Mother's Day to the Bear moms who are learning now that we the program is designed to lead these young Cubs into the steps of independence.  Staying ever so close... but allowing them more opportunities to grow in the wild!  We appreciate you!

And... last but not least...

Happy Mother's Day to our Webelos moms who are now learning to step back and let the boys experience the program as it was meant to be... supervised learning by doing. They're on the precipice of learning to lead each other.  Just like the superheroes of the past, you've equipped them with the right equipment in their toolbelt by effectively letting the program teach them to be self-reliant!  We appreciate you!

Simply put, we just couldn't do it without our MOMS!!  I read a quote somewhere that said, "God couldn't be everywhere, so he created mothers." May your day be blessed!