Campfire Chronicles – A Newsletter for Investors Who Start the Spark of Scouting – May Edition

Focusing On Sustainability While Scouting at Home

“As an American, I will do my best to be clean in my outdoor manners, be careful with fire.
be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation minded.”

The Outdoor Code.  It’s as integral to Scouting as the Scout Oath and Law.  Despite Shelter in Place (SIP) orders, Scouts are still engaged in this type of learning.  Since mid-March, when the SIP order was imposed, local Scouts have participated virtually with online merit badge classes.  Scouts are staying busy learning by taking Art, Public Health, Photography, Family Life and others. Each week the council offers new web conference classes taught by subject matter experts and Scouts are snapping them up, with over 130 scouts participating in council classes to date. The fun goes beyond the council and district efforts, with many of our Troops are also organizing their own merit badges classes for their troops!

To celebrate Earth Day and Scouting’s mission to be considerate in the outdoors, the council hosted Sustainability & Gardening merit badge. Scouts are learning to plant flowers and vegetables while working on the Gardening merit badge. They also learn about seed germination and study pollination to understand the science of gardening. In Sustainability merit badge Scouts learn to conserve energy at home and think about how their food, housing, and consumption choices impact
society at large. They plan to use the Earth’s resources more wisely.

For our Cub Scouts, our Digital Den Meetings taught Scouts about Leave No Trace and how to make a birdfeeder to support the wildlife in their backyards.

While Scouting at Home are Scouts able to still able to fulfill their Outdoor Code pledge?  With some creativity, absolutely!

Two Brothers Earn the William T. Hornaday Award, Scouting’s Highest Conservation Award.

It’s been called one of Scouting’s rarest, most prestigious honors. It’s rare that any Scout earns a Hornaday Award, but this family has two.  Two brothers in Monterey County, Trevor and Brendan, have both earned it.

The Hornaday Awards are a series of awards presented for service and ecology. Far more Scouts earn the rank of Eagle than earn a Hornaday Award. The program is designed to encourage learning about natural resource conservation and the environment. The Award is presented at different levels- bronze, silver, and gold.

Trevor earned his award first. Trevor’s project sought to make his community a better place through improving the habitat at MEarth for Monarch butterflies, other animals, and insects.  It included sheet mulching a new butterfly garden outdoor classroom and making nature trails in the area.

To sheet mulch, a biodegradable barrier, like cardboard, is used to remove unwanted vegetation due to the loss of sunlight. Sheet mulching is used to kill weeds, but the weed matter decays beneath the barrier and the cardboard will also decompose which adds nutrients to the soil. Additionally, it generates a healthy ecosystem without using pesticides.

“MEarth is a nonprofit organization located adjacent to Carmel Middle School in Carmel, CA. MEarth’s mission is to educate and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders.”

One year later Brendan completed his project. It came as a result of the Governor’s 2014 declaration of water emergency. During the emergency Monterey County residents were all asked to decrease water usage, which Brendan leveraged to make his community more sustainable. He also collaborated with MEarth to create a sustainable garden bed example for the community. During his project he, dug ditches, created swales, and installed irrigation at MEarth’s new perennial flower bed. In this flower bed he planted bulbs and native plants and covered it with a layer of mulch to retain moisture in the soil, creating a model example of soil and water conservation for Monterey County.

Creating swales and installing irrigation conserves soil and most importantly, water. Swales are shallow trench ditches dug into the dirt and are designed to slow down and capture runoff water spreading it across the landscape into the soil. Instead of water pooling above ground or running off, swales direct it downward into an underground reservoir. This improves the agricultural areas and collect water that otherwise would be unused. Slowing and spreading water reduces erosion and helps retains water where it is needed. This underground reservoir naturally also attracts microorganisms and leads to creation of organic matter which can better withstand both floods and drought. Also, drip irrigation improves water conservation because it allows only the required amount of water a plant needs in order to survive in the environment. It does not waste water and instead saves massive amounts of fresh water.

Thanks to encouraging advisors, both Scouts earned the Bronze level Hornaday Award. Despite its high esteem, few attempt to earn a Hornaday Award. In some years, fewer than 50 nationwide submit an application for a medal, says Tim Beaty, chair of the national Hornaday Awards committee. The workload likely intimidates many who are interested. On average, it takes about two and a half years and at least 1,000 man-hours to complete. Such an intensive endeavor calls for consistent support, and a drive to make their world a better place. Some Scouts, like Brendan and Trevor, have that drive.

Pack 608 Scotts Valley Cub Scouts in Action to Help Their Community Combat Covid-19

Helpful.  It’s a foundational principle of the Scout Law and central to be a good citizen.

Mr. Lui, the father of a 3rd grader in Pack 608, has learned that when you have access to a resource in need, you share, while, Committee Chair John Rozwadowski says that there is only so much you can do with online meetings. Put the two together and add in a personal relationship with Sheriff Jim Hart and you have a plan.

In a recent den meeting, the Scouts were wondering what they could do to help. Through his business connections, Mr. Lui could get medical grade masks.  The two then contacted Sheriff Hart, who they knew from the community, and offered a donation… a donation that was needed.  The Pack had to limit the number of Scouts participating in the gift exchange.  The Sheriff’s Department was happy to send out many officers.  In the end, Pack 608 was able to donate 2,000 masks.

Captains of USNS Mercy, the hospital ship docked in Los Angeles, are Eagle Scouts

Capt. Rotruck (above) commands the hospital aboard USNS Mercy, while Capt. Olmsted (below) commands the ship itself. – Picture courtesy of Bryan on Scouting

Talk about helpful at all times…  One runs the ship; one runs the hospital operations.  Los Angeles is lucky to have the USNS, and these Captains, stationed to help the COVID-19 fight. Capt. Rotruck (above) commands the hospital aboard USNS Mercy, while Capt. Olmsted (below) commands the ship itself. Both are Eagle Scouts.

Read more at the Bryan on Scouting blog….

Dig Into Social Media and Help Local Scouting

Play along with Scout Bingo.  Participate with a Bingo volunteer or start your own.

You can help some of our volunteers who are playing Scout Law Bingo.  Please consider supporting a Scout for a month with a $25 donation.  All 12 points of the Scout Law add up to $300 which is the cost to support a Scout for a year.  Search your Facebook friend base or look through friends of SVMBC and play along. You can find a link to the Council’s Facebook page here.

Would you like to start a Bingo Card yourself.  Click on this link to the council webpage for instructions.


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