First Class Scout Emblem TROOP 96 Legion LogoVVA Logo
Co-sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America Big Bend Chapter 96
and American Legion Sauls-Bridges Post 13

241 Lake Ella Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32303-5572

April 1997 Newsletter

COURT OF HONOR All parents are invited to attend the COURT OF HONOR at the Hootch at 7:00 p.m. on April 9th. This is our formal recognition of advancement in Scouting. Please plan to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

TROOP REORGANIZATION Rumor has it that Andy and Blayne are hovering in the wings ready to get active again in an aptly-named Phoenix Patrol reincarnation under the awe-inspiring leadership of Keath. Can that be true...? Only time can tell! In the meantime, the Troop is expecting up to 8 newly "crossed-over" WEBELOS Scouts who will fall into a new Eagle Patrol with Mr. Koeteeuw (Sr.) as assistant Scoutmaster for new Scouts.

LEADERSHIP PREPARATION Scouting is about a lot of things... but through most of them runs a strand of leadership preparation. A large influx of new Scouts will forever change Troop 96. In hopes of maximizing good changes and minimizing chaos and confusion, during the next few months emphasis will be placed on preparing the Troops' junior leaders to meet the challenge. That challenge will increase considerably during the summer when both the Senior Patrol Leader and the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader will serve as staff at Camp Wallwood, and other Scouts will move up temporarily to fill their roles in the Troop.

APRIL CAMPING TRIP Pioneering is the theme for our April 19th-20th outing which is now confirmed for Hickory Hill, near Attapulgus, Georgia. Our genial host, "Squire" Campbell, is going to designate unwanted small and medium-sized trees that our Scouts can cut and turn into a number of useful items around our campsite. We also hope to begin more ambitious projects such as a signal tower and a "friction bridge" that can be continued into future camping trips. Funds for purchase of food for the trip are to be collected by the Patrol Leaders.

SCOUT STAFFS Hickory Hill has many really choice saplings for making a Scout Staff. Why would anyone want a Scout Staff? Well... Scout Staffs are really useful for hiking, especially on steep hills and even more especially if those steep hills are wet. A Scout Staff can keep a Scout vertical when he might otherwise become horizonal at an uncontrolled high rate of descent. And guess what we are going to be doing on what kind of hills on our very next camping trip...? We should eat really well on this trip because for the first time our cooking will be done by some of our most- senior Scouts instead of the newest. Mike Gallant volunteered and James Hamilton couldn't find any volunteers so he's stuck with the job.

MAY CAMPING TRIP Hiking and nature study will be our themes for our May 31st- June 1st outing to Torreya State Park. And any Scout that doesn't have a good Scout Staff with him is likely to skid face-down (or vice-versa) somewhere along the way... especially if the ground is wet at all. The trails at Torreya traverse numerous steep clay ridges and hills. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection charges $2.00 for Scouts and $3.00 adult Scout leaders for an overnight stay. Let's get our money's worth and see all there is to see at Torreya. We're going to start with a mile-and-a-half hike in carrying our camping gear down the Park entrance road (a requirement for the hiking merit badge), then we are going to set up camp and spend as much time as we can hiking and exploring in this unique natural area.

SCOUTMASTER'S MINUTE While I anticipate that a Troop newsletter will continue to be an important communication tool within the Troop, and there has always been a certain amount of communication flow through the junior leaders of the Troop in accomplishing essential functions, I hope that the relative importance of these two channels can change. As Scoutmaster I hope to maintain a newsletter, but also to route more essential information through the junior leaders. This is an ever-so-deliberate change in style reflecting three sources: (1) I'm not retired and I don't have as much available time to devote to Scouting as my predecessor, (2) although I too have an eye on detail, I don't intend to attempt to channel so many details of the Troop through myself, and (3) additional Scout training has given both me and Mr. Koeteeuw new insights on Troop administration and I believe that had he continued as Scoutmaster, Mr. Koeteeuw would have also turned in this direction.

It is my intent to foster a climate where the junior leadership of the Troop will have more charge of its direction and greater responsibility for handling details. I'm new in the Scoutmaster job. I'm sure that I will make mistakes at it. In turn, I encourage the junior leaders (within reason) to make mistakes. Mistakes are a measure of attempting new and challenging things. Mistakes are how we learn. NO! I don't mean making big, stupid mistakes that compromise safety, violate the Scout Law, or defy BSA policies. Those kinds of mistakes are not to be tolerated. Let us also avoid mistakes that result from inattention, lack of diligence, and other shortcomings of attitude or effort. Some very surprised Scouts in the Troop may find themselves living with consequences of such mistakes. When all is said and done, we all may have a greater appreciation of the Scout Motto: "BE PREPARED".

Richard White