Thursday, October 30, 2014

November Calendar

UPDATED INFORMATION FOR NOV 4 and for the campout.

Here's what's on tap for November. Hope you're ready for another 25-mile bike ride, weather permitting . . . 

November 4: SERVICE HOURS! We're going to rake leaves for a few elderly folks in the neighborhood. We'll start at 6 pm and meet at 700 Tiebreaker Dr. Please bring gloves and a leaf rake, if you have one.

November 7-8: Campout at Beaver Dick Park followed by 25-mile bike ride (weather dependent). Meet at the church at 5:30 pm. For those who would rather not complete the 25-mile bike ride, the optional activity is to go on a 10-mile hike. Don't worry -- the Hiking merit badge is an alternate to the Cycling merit badge. Doing either will advance you towards your Eagle rank.

November 11: Josh Miller Eagle Court of Honor. Please wear your uniforms. Josh has asked that Troop 125 conduct the flag ceremony.

November 18:  Combined YM/YW activity TBD.

November 25: No scouts due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekend Camping/Bike Ride

Just a reminder that we're heading out to camp and complete our first 25-mile bike ride this Friday and Saturday.

We'll meet at the church from 5:30-6pm (a little later than usual to let one of our leaders have time to get out of an all-day conference at work). We'll camp at Twin Bridges campground north of Ririe, rather than at Driggs as planned earlier.

This will be our first cold-weather camp of the fall, so just as a reminder:

  1. Bring extra bedding. Bring a blanket with your sleeping bag, and make sure you've got a good pad to sleep on. You need as much or more padding underneath as on top to stay warm.
  2. Bring extra clothing, including a winter hat and gloves. We're not expecting rain or snow, but it's going to be chilly as we sleep and as we start our bike ride. I don't want to see any bicycle shorts, folks.
We'll ride our bikes through the potato fields and pastures of southern Madison County, from the Twin Bridges campground (on the Madison/Jefferson county line) north towards Lyman, then back south to Ririe to end at the campground. Jeff Miller has agreed to come along and drive a support vehicle to carry water and tools. If there's anyone interested in coming along, or camping out with us Friday night, let me know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Troop 125 Rank Advancement Plan

Thanks to their hard work at scout camp this summer, we don’t have a single active scout in Troop 125 with a rank below First Class. That’s an exciting position to be in.

The next step, obviously, is to work on the next rank – and for all of our scouts that means two things: Merit badges and service hours.

For both the Star and Life ranks, Scouts must complete six hours of service. Our next service opportunity will come this Saturday when we’ll go through the neighborhood collecting food for the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership as part of Scouting for Food. Scouts will meet at the Tiebreaker Church at 9 am. We should get in about an hour’s worth of service.

Two of our scouts have earned their Eagle or are close to it. My challenge to them will be to continue working on merit badges -- independently. You've shown the drive to earn your Eagle award, you don't need my foot in your back to continue.

As far as merit badges go, we’re working on them as well. Scouts in our troop need to earn between 1 and 4 Eagle-required merit badges to earn their next rank advancement. Here’s what we’re working on:

Cycling. We’ll go on our first 25-mile bike ride on October 25, leaving for most Scouts in the troop another 25-miler and a 50-miler to complete. Given the lateness of the year, it’s not likely we’ll be able to finish those rides before the foul weather comes. That being the case, we’ll pick up on that merit badge again in the spring.

Communication. Our troop goal is to see every Scout earn the Communication merit badge before the year is out.

Camping and Cooking. The troop is already working on the Camping merit badge, and we’ll throw the Cooking merit badge into the mix as well. While the Cooking merit badge is heavy on camp cookery, there is one requirement that is to be completed at home:

7. Plan a menu for three full days of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to be cooked at home.
a. When preparing your menu, follow the nutritional guidelines set by the food pyramid. All meals are to be cooked or properly prepared.

b. Using the menu planned for requirement 7, make a food list showing cost and amount needed to feed yourself and at least one adult (parent, family member, guardian, or other responsible adult).
c. Tell what utensils were needed to cook and serve these meals.
d. Prepare and serve a breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the menu you planned for requirement 7. Time your cooking to have each course ready to serve at the proper time. Have an adult verify the preparation of the meal to your counselor.

Once your Scout has completed this requirement, let me know, either by email ( or by sending a note to Scouts with your Scout.

Personal Fitness. The biggest challenge for this merit badge comes in tracking Scouts’ progress through three months of a physical fitness program, as outlined in requirements 7 and 8:

7.Outline a comprehensive 12-week physical fitness program using the results of your fitness tests. Be sure your program incorporates the endurance, intensity, and warm-up guidelines discussed in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents.

8.Complete the physical fitness program you outlined in requirement 7. Keep a log of your fitness program activity (how long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercise repetitions you completed; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Repeat the aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility tests every two weeks and record your results. After the 12th week, repeat all of the required activities in each of the three test categories, record your results, and show improvement in each one. For the body composition evaluation, compare and analyze your preprogram and postprogram body composition measurements. Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience, and describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness.

Fortunately for us, Sand Creek Middle School makes this an easy proposition. Any Scout taking a physical education course at the middle school is already having their progress tracked on the Presidential Youth Fitness Program for three months. I’ve discussed the program with Mrs. Patterson, the physical education teacher at Sand Creek, and agree the program and tracking works perfectly for these two requirements. At the end of the semester, please get a note or email from Mrs. Patterson for your Scout letting me know they’ve completed their tracking.

The good news is all five of these merit badges are Eagle-required, meaning we should be able to get Scouts to their next rank advancement and beyond before they move on to Varsity Scouts. It’s our goal to have scouts earn their Life ranks (one step below Eagle) before they turn 14.

Having parental help on the cooking requirements will be essential in completing this portion of our Scouting program.

Additionally, I’ve challenged the Scouts to come up with at least two additional merit badges they’d like to work on. We have talked about completing the Game Design and Automotive Maintenance merit badges, but I’d like to hear additional suggestions from the Scouts. An excellent resource for current merit badges offered by the BSA and their requirements can be found at

Because my Scouts requested it, I’ve put together a short list of “easy” merit badges they can work on. I call them easy because generally these are things they’re doing already:

Another merit badge I encourage the Scouts to work on is Home Repairs – but that requires that the work be done at home. Helping your Scout through this merit badge is my challenge to parents.

If there are requirements on this merit badge that are outside your handyman or handywoman skills, let me know and we’ll work with the Scouts on those requirements.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 2014 Calendar

This is a little late and a bit different -- well, a lot different -- than what appeared in the newsletter. But we're going to stick to this as best we can.


October 7. Barbecue at Tolman’s house to celebrate merit badge and rank advancement work at Island Park Scout Camp.

October 14. Troop planning – We’ll create individual plans to get each scout to their next rank advancement.

October 18 (Saturday). Scouting for Food. We’ll meet at the church at 9 am to collect food donations for the Idaho Falls Food Bank. 

October 21. Combined YM/YW activity TBA.

October 24-25 (Friday/Saturday). Mike Harris campout. Meet at the church at 5:30 pm. Bring cold weather gear and bicycles, helmets, jackets, gloves. We’ll do our first 25-mile bike ride on side roads and bike trails from the Mike Harris campground to Driggs, Idaho, and back. We’re looking for a father/mother or two who can come along either to ride bikes with the scouts or drive a support vehicle along the route.

October 28. Requirements catch-up day.