Scout Blog

The following content has been cross-published on our Facebook page, the Huntsville Item, and other local news outlets.

Local Girl Scouts Plant 60 Trees

October 17, 2022 by Diane Neudorf

Girl Scouts are committed to helping the environment and making the world a better place. Local Girl Scouts participated in a national event called the Girl Scout Tree Promise, which is a commitment by Girl Scouts across the country to plant 5 million trees by 2026. The Texas A & M Forest Service provided trees and their staff demonstrated how to plant them. Girl Scouts from several local troops and their families planted 60 trees at Sam Houston State University’s Gibbs Ranch on October 8, 2022. There were a few trees left over that families could take home to plant in their own yards. Participants also had a chance to visit with the Forest Service staff and professors Sibyl Bucheli, Diane Neudorf, Chris Randle and Justin Williams from the biology department at Sam Houston State University to learn about tree identification and the importance of trees to other species in the Pineywoods ecosystem. Girl Scouts of all ages participated in the event. One Brownie said she enjoyed planting trees because it helped the planet and because trees are important for animals. Another Brownie enjoyed learning about the birds that live in our forests and how to age trees from counting their rings. One of the Cadette participants said she liked seeing the great participation from younger Girl Scouts and their families at the event. We have lost many trees in our area from the drought this year and hopefully planting new trees will help mitigate some of that loss. For more information about joining or volunteering with Girl Scouts contact Gina Murphy at gmurphy@sjgs.org.

Spotlight on Eagle: Seth Brown

September 28, 2022 By Bob Kane

The Eagles’ Nest at the Josey Scout Lodge welcomes Seth Brown, the latest Scout to have achieved Scouting’s highest rank of Eagle Scout. Seth started his journey to Eagle as a Bear in Cub Scout Pack 98 in 2013 and crossed over to Troop 98 in 2016 to continue his scouting adventure.

According to Seth his best Scouting experience was this past summer when he hiked the Philmont Trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He stated that the 39-mile trek was a challenge but worth it in the end. He got to work with older Scouts and one night on the trek the staff held an old fashion Ho Down which he enjoyed.

He stated he had two bad experiences on his journey to Eagle Scout. The first was in Cub Scouts as a WEBELOS when he attended a WEBELOS activity with another WEBELOS den and there was a miscommunication regarding a meal. The second was with his Troop when they stopped at the Carlsbad Caverns on their way to Camp Wehinahpay. The Scouts were given the opportunity to take a short cut to the elevators or take the loop trail to the elevator. Seth and his buddy Scout decided to take the loop trail without telling the adult leaders. This delayed the Troop which then required them to grab Subway sandwiches on the way to camp and eat them on the bus instead of eating at the restaurant at the caverns. Lessons were learned with both of those experiences.

Of the 59 merit badges Seth has earned his favorite was Game Design and his least favorite was Climbing.

Game design was his favorite as he got to complete this one at Texas A&M. He built a trivia game. The game building experience taught him how to figure out different categories and prizes for the game. Seth says the knowledge allowed him to create a card game a few years later which worked well with his friends. With a few more steps and research and development it may allow the game to be a reality in the future.

Climbing was his least favorite to work on due to his fear of standing on the edge which is similar to a fear of heights. He had to fight this fear as he stood on the edge of the climbing platform in order to complete this merit badge. One of the things Scouting does is to face our fears and put us on the edge in order to complete a task or even a merit badge.

Seth’s Eagle Leadership project was to replace a set of outside stairs at the First Assembly of God Church. He and the volunteers had to demolish the old stairs and then place new posts and stairs which are safer than the old set of stairs. This project required a lot of preparation on his part and a lot of hard work over several days for a group of volunteers. He stated the best part of the project was seeing it near the end by putting the decking on and owning the project.

The most difficult part of the project was having to know what to do when things did not go according to the plan and solving the problems as they occurred. One section of the stairs did not meet to the ground so 2 – 3 stairs had to be added to complete that area.

Seth is a senior at Huntsville High School and his plans in the future are to attend college and get a degree in cinematography or creative writing. He plans to pursue a career in the filming industry.

He plans to give back to Scouting by continuing this year with the troop and be a supporter of the Scouting program. Eventually he would like to enroll his children in the future and possibly be a leader.

Spotlight on Eagle: Donovan Palma

September 18, 2022 By Bob Kane

I would like to introduce you to the latest Scout from our area that has completed the Trail to Eagle Scout. Welcome to the Eagle’s Nest Donovan Palma from Troop 97. Donovan is a senior and he joined the Boy Scouts and Troop 97 in 2016.

Donovan achieved the rank of Eagle Scout on August 29, 2022 upon completion of his Board of Review. This is an extensive interview in front of a board of Scout Leaders and members of the community to make the final determination that the Eagle candidate has achieved everything required for the rank of Eagle Scout.

I was able to interview Donovan about a week after his achievement of Eagle Scout. He has had some great experiences during his time as a Scout.

Donovan’s greatest camping experience was attending the World Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Scout Reservation in West Virginia in 2020. He says it was a once in a lifetime experience. His worst camping was a District Camporee at the former Camp Coyote in 2017. It had rained hard all weekend and vehicles were getting stuck.

Donovan stated the best Merit Badge was Pioneering because he learned several different knots other than the ones required for the Second and First Class ranks. He also got to build different things such as bridges and at some time the knowledge learned may help you save a life.

His Eagle Leadership Project was to build a total of 7 benches that was used for the Journey to Bethlehem Annual event Six of the benches were made for the audience to sit and enjoy the program Donovan made the seventh bench to be used in the jail during the presentation and afterwards was used as a fundraiser for the event where the audience would donate money to have someone put into jail by the Roman guards and the now jailed person would make a donation to get out of jail. This helped raise funds to keep the event going.

Donovan stated the best part was building the benches and that he really learned leadership through the project on how to explain and guide someone through a process of the project. The worst part of the project was completing all the paperwork required for the project.

His future plans are to attend college and major in engineering or architecture and to work in the construction career field. Donovan plans to give back to Scouting and especially Troop 97 as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster for now and when he turns 21 he would like to take on the position of Scoutmaster. He is thankful for all the adults involved in the Troop who have guided him through this journey to Eagle Scout and would like to keep the history and legacy of Troop 97 alive.

Girl Scouts Celebrate Their Love of the Outdoors at Huntsville State Park

September 13, 2022 By Diane Neudorf

Girl Scouts from Huntsville, Willis and the greater Houston area enjoyed a weekend of camping and fun activities at Huntsville State Park during Girl Scouts Love the State Parks Weekend, Sept. 9-11. Every year at this time, Girl Scouts along with their troops, friends, and families, celebrate their love of the outdoors by visiting state parks across the country. Girl Scouts are encouraged to spend time outside, enjoy nature and care for our environment through activities arranged by volunteers from various Girl Scout communities in cooperation with state park staff.

This year, 60 participants including Girl Scouts and their family members enjoyed weekend activities such as yoga, bird watching, fishing, hiking, geocaching, and orienteering. They also helped clean up the park by picking up trash around the day use area. Park interpreter, Ranger John, demonstrated campfire safety and shared a program about the alligators in the park. A highlight was two baby alligators that everyone had a chance to touch and take photos with at the end of the program. The Girl Scouts also had a chance to make and exchange SWAPS. SWAPS stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.” Girl Scouts traditionally exchange SWAPS with girls from other troops as small tokens of friendship, and the SWAPS are typically made to recognize a special event. This year’s SWAPS were crafted to look like miniature sleeping bags and compasses. Of course, no Girl Scout camping adventure is complete without a campfire, S’mores, and a sing-along! Girls took turns leading favorite camp songs and fun was had by all. For more information about joining or volunteering with Girl Scouts contact Gina Murphy at gmurphy@sjgs.org.

Cub Scouts Make the Hot Summer Cool!

August 22, 2022 By Tenderfoot Scout David Beaty II

Over this sizzling hot summer, our Huntsville Cub Scouts have been busy taking advantage of the sunshine. Scouting doesn’t stop for the summer! It is a year long program packed to the brim with fun! I checked in with the packs in our area to find out what exciting adventures they enjoyed over the break.

Cub Scouts had a great time this summer! Many Cubs attended Cub Scout Day Camp. Day Camp is a week-long Scout camp put on by BSA districts to provide kids with opportunities to work on their adventures and ranks alongside Cub Scouts from all over the area. At camp, there are games, crafts, and supervised shooting sports like BB guns, slingshots, and bows and arrows. Kids grow friendships with one another during this week of jam-packed fun!

It doesn’t stop there! Cub Scouts also worked toward the Summertime Activity Award. One of the requirements of this award is to participate with the pack during summer events. And boy, did the leaders make some plans! The packs participated in Scout Day at Minute Maid Park and got to walk the field before enjoying an Astros baseball game with their families and fellow scouts. Cubs explored the STEM Novas this summer, a program developed by BSA to encourage curiosity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Some packs put on craft and woodworking workshops for cubs to express their creativity through art.

Pack 98 Cubs got to learn about an actual wolf pack while visiting a wolf sanctuary and volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

Pack 96 was privileged to revisit history at the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum of Texas in July. The pack along with Troop 97 members had a pleasant picnic before ending the day at the Prison Museum here in Huntsville.

Pack 114 had an epic adventure at Mammoth National Monument in Waco, Texas! There, the cubs set their eyes on the fossils of ancient creatures that once roamed these lands. After proving to be good stewards of our National Parks, these scouts were sworn in as Junior Rangers.

The packs also had a blast bowling, skating, hiking at night, and gathering at the pool to beat the heat! This summer was so hot no wonder the cubs cooked up so much fun!


Adventure Awaits!

May 10, 2022 by Scout David Beaty II

I first started scouting about five years ago as a tiger in Cub Scouts. Cub scouting was awesome! We went camping a lot! Camping was full of fun, fort building, and den activities with my Pack. I always looked forward to the campfire where we sang songs, roasted marshmallows, and performed hilarious skits. Our cub den met together with our Den Leader every week to discuss plans, work on adventures, and be silly together! Cub scouts took trips to really cool places like the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas where we dug for diamonds and the SHSU planetarium where we explored space! We even got to camp overnight in the middle of the Houston Zoo! (Just so you know, lions grunt at night!) At cub camp every summer, I shot BB guns, sling shots and bows and arrows while meeting cubs from all over! Swim time, hike time, any time is scout time! Cub scouts was an epic experience.

Just recently, I crossed over into a troop! I’m so excited because now I have new friends, longer distance camping and new adventures to look forward to. The BSA adult leaders are at our events for guidance and safety, however, we cook, clean, and lead ourselves. I am learning new skills from my troopmates and we all work together as we go through the Scouts BSA program. Instead of belt loops and adventures, we work to achieve Merit Badges. There are more than 100 merit badges that you can earn and its easy to find one that you are interested in. I am excited to work on the Moviemaking and Chess merit badges. This summer our troop is going to Camp Davy Crockett in Tennessee. There I will learn skills and leadership, achieve merit badges and meet even more friends!

Each scout works through requirements to achieve ranks. I just earned my first rank, Scout. Working towards tenderfoot is what I am focusing on now. It will take many camping trips, leadership roles and determination, but I know I can do it! Scout, Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class, Star, Life and then Eagle! I cannot wait to find out what that journey has in store. I have great friends, stupendous leaders, and the support of my family and community. Adventure awaits!

Josey Lodge Plants Memorial Garden to Honor Deceased Scout Volunteers

April 27, 2022

Scout leaders are, by their very nature, remarkably selfless. They give freely of their time, talent, resources, and often their pocketbooks, with little to no expectation of recognition or renumeration. These men and women have a positive influence on innumerable youth in our community and beyond. For many of them the commitment is lifelong, continuing to contribute to Scouting long after their own children are grown. Josey Lodge honors these volunteers, even when we have to do so posthumously.

The Josey Lodge Memorial Garden began with the widow and daughter of Pack 96 Cub Scout leader Patrick McHale. An active contributor to the Josey Scout Lodge community, Patrick recently passed away unexpectedly, and his widow and young daughter donated a gardenia to Josey Lodge in his honor. The gardenia is planted in the yard of the Caretaker’s Cabin at Josey Lodge and marked with a plaque dedicating it to Patrick’s memory, allowing us all to recognize the contributions Patrick made not only to his daughter’s Scouting journey but to other community youth as well. The family will assist in caring for the plant.

Other families who wish to honor deceased Scout volunteers are encouraged to contribute to the Memorial Garden. Information is available on our website at joseyscoutlodge.org/ memorial.

Scouting for Food in Huntsville

March 19, 2022 by Arrow of Light Scout David Beaty

Recently, Scouts from Huntsville participated in the annual “Scouting for Food” as a part of the Sam Houston Area Council’s “Spring of Service”, a new program that focuses on service projects that contribute to our communities. Scouting for Food originated in the St. Louis Area Council in 1985 and spread its momentum to include Scouts in Huntsville, Texas.

This past February, Pack 98 and Troop 98 went “Scouting for Food” in Huntsville neighborhoods. This was a two-part effort. On the first Saturday, the Scouts went door-to-door hanging flyers to notify the public of donation needs. The following Saturday Pack 98 Cub Scouts and Troop 98 Boy Scouts picked up the food from each door. Cold weather did not stop our community from donating 353 cans and 126 dry goods to help our neighbors. The Scouts took the goods to the SHSU Food Pantry and helped organize the donations.

To maximize food supply through-out the year, other Packs and Troops develop food drives in other months of the year. Pack 114 collects canned goods and non-perishables in April as Troop 114 collects around May. Troop 1934 hopes for a successful food drive in September. Other Troops and Packs in Huntsville participate in food collection and service to the community throughout the year.

Service is a foundation of Scouting. Scouts strive to help other people at all times and to do a good turn daily.


Girl Scouts Celebrate International Friendship

February 22, 2022

Recently the Girl Scouts of Huntsville celebrated World Thinking Day, which officially takes place on February 22 but may be celebrated any time in February. World Thinking Day is a shared holiday with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. It is a day of international friendship and a time to learn about causes that impact girls globally. Different troops in the Huntsville community created presentations on countries of their choice and they learned about the culture, traditions and scouting in those countries. This year there were presentations about Australia, England, Germany and Greece. The girls also explored the cuisine of the countries and they shared samples of food such as a German noodle dish called Spaetzle. Girls also made Valentines for the residents at Focused Care, a nursing home in Huntsville. The Girl Scouts were fortunate to have two international exchange students who are currently attending Huntsville High School visit the event and present information about their countries and their experiences living in America. Ndoumbe is from Senegal and Praise is from Tanzania. They arrived in Huntsville last August and they will leave in June after school ends. The students said they had a hard time leaving their home countries but that they have really enjoyed their time in Huntsville and the chance to make new friends. Ndoumbe shared that she missed the food from her home but enjoyed trying gumbo for the first time. One thing Praise found surprising when she came to Texas was that not everyone dressed like cowboys and the weather was very hot compared to her home in Tanzania. The Girl Scouts learned that, although there are differences in languages and culture, they also shared a lot in common with the students. For example, both countries have Girl Guide programs. The Girl Scouts enjoyed meeting the students and making new friends.

Troop 114 Welcomes Two New Eagle Scouts

January 27, 2022 by Bob Kane

Recently, 2 young men who have been friends for the past 7 years achieved Scouting’s highest rank of Eagle Scout. They are Koen Dunbar and Billy Moak. Their friendship started 7 years ago when Billy was invited to attend a Troop meeting by another Scout with Troop 114. He and Koen became friends through the many monthly campouts and both are members of the Huntsville High School Military Marching Band. The friendship grew not only through Scouting but also the many band activities they were involved with.

They both have memorable Scouting experiences. For Koen it was attending a week long course known as National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). This program integrates the most modern leadership theories along with the traditional strengths of the Scouting experience. According to the Boy Scouts of America, NYLT participants are engaged in a unified approach to leadership that will give them the skill and confidence to lead well. Through a wide range of activities, games, and adventures, participants will work and play together as they put into action the best Scouting has to offer.

Koen said this experience would have been very strict but once he met the other members of his patrol and started the activities they became a family. He still is in contact with the members of his patrol from that experience.

For Billy it was a trip to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He spent the entire time there outdoors and saw several different things including some old carvings in the rock formations. This experience has initiated a pursuit into the field of Archaeology.

Each Scout striving to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout must complete a total of 21 Merit Badges of which 13 are required Merit Badges for the rank. The Scout will earn some of these 13 required badges as they advance through the ranks of Star and Life Scout. They must also take on leadership roles in their troop and plan, develop, and execute a leadership project that benefits their church, non-profit organization or their community.

Billy’s project was to build a series of camp chairs for the Lone Survivor Foundation to be used at their camp in helping Veterans reconnect and heal. He completed this with the help of Scouts, his father, and adult leaders.

Koen’s project was planning and erecting a reflective area in honor of First Responders at the Huntsville Police Department building. He and his dad built a bench with a memorial plaque. Koen and 11 Scouts laid a paver walkway to the area and planted flowers along the path. Officer Warner was his mentor with the project.

Now that both boys achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, they were asked how they plan to give back to Scouting. Koen and Billy both said they would register as an Adult Leader and work with the troop. Koen stated that in the distant future he would like to get his children involved in Scouting.

Both Scouts will be completing their senior year this year and have plans for further education. Billy has been accepted to attend Texas A&M where he will be a member of the Corps of Cadets, the band and major in Archaeology. Koen plans to attend Lonestar College to do the basics as he figures what he wants to major in and then transfer to Texas A&M.

Both Scouts plan to stay in contact with each other and plan to set up with their Scouting friends an annual patrol trek where they can be outdoors and have fun with their friends.

Troop 114 Treks Philmont

July 2021

This summer the older Scouts of Troop 114 took a trip to the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM. Older Scouts are those who are 14 and older and have at least attained the First Class Rank.

A total of 8 Scouts and 5 Adults left on July 1, 2021 and returned to Huntsville on July 13, 2021. There were 2 Crews for a trek which allowed them to hike about 65 miles. Even though it rained 10 out of the 11 days on the trail, the scouts didn’t allow the rain to slow them down. They were able to complete almost all of the planned activities which even included packing a burro they helped to carry some of their gear and food. Learning to take care of their new friends, Mr. Grumpy and Comet, the two burros was sometimes a challenge, but also a great learning experience for the scouts.

Both crews also participated in the following activities which included horseback riding where they saw a bear on the trail, 3D archery shooting, 12 gauge shotgun shooting, tomahawk throwing, a challenge course, visited the Indian writings site, worked at a blacksmith shop, rode and operated a railroad hand car and participated in chuck wagon cooking. The highlight of the trek was hiking to the top of Baldy Mountain, 12,441 feet in elevation. It was a beautiful sunny morning when they left, but it rained and hailed on the descent off the mountain.

Philmont Scout Ranch offers several treks during the summer for Scouts and Venturers to participate in. Besides Baldy Mountain, a crew may also take a trek to the Tooth of Time, a famous landmark along the old Santa Fe Trail. Both treks have activities for all to enjoy at their stopping points. It appears to be a lot of work but everyone has fun as they learn team building and confidence skills while enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors.

Girl Scouts Chasing Adventure

July 2, 2021

The Huntsville Girl Scout Community had its twelfth annual day camp June 15-18/21 at the Girl Scout house and Josey Scout Complex. A tradition for Girl Scouts in the Huntsville area, this fun camp often attracts girls from other communities. Mary Gedelian, long time camp director, loves giving this opportunity to our local Girl Scouts and fulfilling the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. The theme this year was “Chase Your Adventure”. With COVID precautions restricting participant numbers, there were 17 campers from Daisy to Senior levels and several adult volunteers. Activities included the opportunity for girls to earn their First Aid badges at all levels. There were visits from EMTs and Officers from Huntsville Fire and Police Departments who shared safety and first aid information. The girls each had a chance to make their own first aid kits to take home. Girls enjoyed outdoor cooking each day and learned how to use a Dutch oven over a campfire. Some of the treats they enjoyed included banana boats, brown bears and monkey bread. Archery, always a favorite activity at Girl Scout camp, was extremely popular with all the scouts and a few managed to hit a bulls-eye. The girls also earned a Huntsville Historical Trail Patch and learned about Huntsville history. This new patch for scouts included visiting several historical areas such as the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, the Sam Houston statue, Sam Houston State University, Oakwood Cemetery and Founders Park. Each camp day ended with a welcome chance to swim and cool off at the Huntsville Aquatics Center. Older girls (Cadette level and above) practiced their leadership skills and earned their Service to Girl Scouts pin for volunteering as aides to help younger girls at the camp. As is tradition the girls also worked on service projects during camp. The first was to set up two additional garden beds at the Girl Scout house for future troops to do gardening projects. The second service project involved sewing small pillows, which were donated to our local EMS and Police department to give to children who may be in distress and need comfort. When asked their favorite part of camp one Daisy scout said “I liked making the pillows to give to kids who need them”. One of the Cadette Aides said “working with younger girls to teach them about Girl Scouts and Huntsville's history”. Others said they most enjoyed archery and outdoor cooking and sharing recipes with their families. Thanks to all the volunteers who made another fun day camp for Huntsville area Girl Scouts possible.

New Order of the Arrow Members

May 18, 2021

Josey Scout Lodge is excited to congratulate Huntsville’s newest Order of the Arrow members: (L to R) Korban Daniel, Jayden Gay, Samuel Gray, Shawn Rainer, Koen Dunbar, and Billy Moak.

The Order of the Arrow is the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America. The Order of the Arrow (OA) recognizes Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. Members are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long-term resident camping, developing leaders, and providing cheerful service to others. OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich, support, and help to extend Scouting to America's youth.

The Order of the Arrow (OA) was founded by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council, Boy Scouts of America (Now known as the Cradle of Liberty Council). It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934.

Colonneh Lodge is the Sam Houston Area Council's Order of the Arrow Lodge. The lodge is named in honor of General Sam Houston; who was called Colonneh, meaning raven, when he lived with the Cherokee Indians. The lodge totem is the raven.

Once each year, a unit (troop, crew, or ship) may hold a unit election to elect youth members to become members of the Order of the Arrow. Both youth and adult Scouts and Scouters can become members of the Order of the Arrow (OA), but only youth members are elected. Adult leaders in the unit under the age of 21 are considered youth members for OA purposes, including unit elections. New members are voted on by every youth member of the unit present at the election - not just the OA members.

Huntsville Girl Scouts Recognize Adult Volunteers

May 7, 2021

The hardworking volunteers that make Girl Scouting possible in our Huntsville community were recognized recently at a picnic at the Girl Scout House on the grounds of Josey Scout Lodge. The adult volunteers enjoyed lunch and a relaxing afternoon. Special recognitions were awarded by Jennifer Norris, the Community Leader for the Huntsville area. Also in attendance to help with the awards were Volunteer Experience Manager for Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Dimionique Woods and Troop Community Engagement Manager, Angela Conley.

Daisy Girl Scout leader, Amber Gates, was given the “Jump Right In” award for being an active and dedicated leader in her first year of Girl Scouting. As a new leader Amber has found fun and creative ways to keep her troop engaged in the last year. One of her favorite activities enjoyed by her troop was a recent visit to a local fire station. Amber said the excitement among the girls was contagious and the fire fighters provided an educational and fun program for her Kindergarten-aged troop.

The Innovation Award went to troop leader Jennifer Arthur who found new and innovative ways for her troop to sell cookies this cookie season. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, her mixed troop of 3 Brownies and 2 Juniors was very successful, selling over 3000 boxes of cookies this year!

Mary Gedelian received the Helping Hand Award. A 23-year veteran in Girl Scouts, Mary is a leader with two older girl troops in town and is also helping a new Brownie troop get started this year. She is also very busy with Council activities including planning a Girl Scout trip to Costa Rica in 2022.

Congratulations to Girl Scout Ambassadors Madyson Vaughn and Brittanie Kosak who will be graduating from High School this year. The girls received their Girl Scout honor cords for graduation and we hope they will continue to serve their communities as adult volunteers in Girl Scouts in the future.

Jamie Arlt was awarded the Appreciation Pin, a national award from Girl Scouts USA, for all the work she has done since joining the Huntsville Girl Scout community. Besides being a troop leader, and a past Community leader she has worked hard at organizing events in our Girl Scouting community, and the council at large. She is currently our Product Sales Manager and Recruitment Team Leader for the Huntsville area.

Special recognitions and gift bags were also awarded to the many troop leaders and troop cookie managers who help make Girl Scouting a success our region.

Girl Scouts Attend Letterboxing & Basic Compass Skills Event

April 29, 2021

The grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum was overflowing with Girl Scouts on April 10, 2021. They attended a community event to learn the skills of orienteering and the hobby of letterboxing. Letterboxing is a fun outdoor activity where participants follow clues to find hidden letterboxes. It is similar to geocaching but no GPS is needed. Likened to a treasure hunt, participants use clues, which may involve the use of a compass and various landmarks. The letterbox contains a unique stamp, an inkpad and a log. Once discovered, the finder will stamp their own personal stamp in the letterbox log and use the stamp in the letterbox to document the find in their own personal journal. They will also report their discovery online at the letterboxing website (www.atlasquest.com). Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts had the opportunity to make their own stamps and personal journals. They also followed clues to find a letterbox on the museum grounds. There are about 20 letterboxes in and around the Huntsville area. Meanwhile, the Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts learned the basics of compass reading. They practiced using compasses and played games to help improve their orienteering skills. The event was a huge success with 45 Girl Scouts in attendance from the Huntsville area as well as some attendees from Conroe and Cypress.

Eagle Spotlight: Zachary Rebstock

April 3, 2021

Our newest Eagle Scout to introduce to you is Zachary Rebstock from Troop 98. He completed all requirements and had his Eagle Board of Review on March 6, 2021.

Zach started his journey to Eagle when he was 10 years old in 2014. He initially joined a Troop in Madisonville, then later transferred to Troop 98.

His most memorable camping trip was to Camp Alexander in Colorado. He says the weather was perfect. Zach’s mom said that is where he got the most scars. While at Camp Alexander they had a Polar Bear Plunge at 7:00 am. Those who wanted to earn this award would go to the lake when it was 43 degrees Fahrenheit air temperature and jump into 45 degrees water temperature.

Zach says his best Merit Badge to work on and earn was the Pioneering Merit Badge. It helped him to learn his knots and lashings. He has not had a problem tying any knots or lashings since he completed this merit badge.

His hardest merit badge was Citizenship in the Community. There he had to learn about his community, and a non-profit organization in his community and then do a presentation along with 8 hours of community service with the non-profit organization. He also had to learn and discuss community issues and attend a city council meeting.

Zach initially had an Eagle project planned to build garden beds for the Waterwood Community Gardeners. The garden club decided to not pay to have water lines run out to where the garden beds were to be placed, so this project was not started.

Zach then approached the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum of Texas for a project idea and they had a slant back armored HUMVEE that needed to be cosmetically restored. Zach and his team got to work sanding and placing plexiglass in the doors where the windows were missing and attached covers for the gas tank and over a connection for an antennae. They also filled in areas where the fiberglass was deteriorating.

The original plan was to use paint brushes to paint the vehicle. Zach decided to make the extra effort to spray paint it so it would look better. Zach prepped the HUMVEE for spray painting, placed wind barriers around the Vehicle and commenced to spray paint the vehicle Desert Tan. Zach learned through this entire process that leadership is the process of leading and not directing.

In the future Zachary plans to continue volunteering and helping the Boy Scouts of America wherever possible. Who knows - possibly at summer camp teaching archery.

Zachary will be attending Southeastern Illinois College on an Archery Scholarship and learn Outfitter Wildlife Conservation. Once he has completed this program he would like to go through a linguistic program and do missionary work overseas.

Eagle Spotlight: Lincoln Oberg

March 17, 2021

We all know that several occasions were put on hold or altered due to the pandemic. Weddings, Graduations, Birthdays, Anniversaries and yes even Eagle Courts of Honor were changed or postponed until we could get back to some normalcy.

James Lincoln Oberg, who goes by his middle name Lincoln, was one of several Scouts who had completed their requirements, Leadership project, Scoutmaster’s Conference and Eagle Scout Board of review but could not have their ceremony last year due to most of us being in lockdown.

Lincoln started his Scouting journey to Eagle as a Tiger Cub in 2010. His best camping trip was a canoeing trip at Brazos Bend where there is a watchtower that stands on posts that are not driven into the ground. Also he got to see an alligator with her babies.

His best Merit Badge to work on was Personal Management because he learned to set up and track his finances. Lincoln says this is an important life skill to learn. His least favorite Merit Badge from a practical experience was Fingerprinting.

Lincoln’s Eagle Leadership Project was to build and place 8 picnic tables for the Lakeview Methodist Camp located in Palestine, Texas. There was a minor change to the original plan. The order of materials was fulfilled and shipped. Upon starting to assemble the tables, it was discovered the wrong screws were shipped with the order. Instead of putting the project on hold his Uncle Will McCollum happened to be there to assist and had the correct screws for the project. He traded out the wrong screws for the correct screws and the project proceeded to completion.

During the Leadership Project process, Lincoln said he learned patience and how to deal with people who have trouble listening to instructions.

Lincoln had his Eagle Court of Honor earlier this month at the Josey Scout Lodge. He said he was relieved to finally have it but it was worth the wait to enjoy it with family, friends and fellow Scouts.

Lincoln plans to give back to Scouting as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 114 until he ages out of the Scouts BSA program. He plans to eventually become an Assistant Scoutmaster or Scoutmaster in the future.

Upon completing his high school education, Lincoln plans to attend Texas A&M and major in Architecture. Upon completing his degree he plans to work in this field and eventually start his own firm.

Eagle Spotlight: Tristan Lawson

March 10, 2021

Tristan Lawson, the son of Terry and Jill Lawson, is a member of Troop 114, and met his Eagle Board of Review on November 30, 2020.

Tristan joined Scouts in 2014 when he, his father, and grandfather were sitting at the Taco Bell across the street from Josey Scout Lodge. His dad pointed to the Lodge and noticed the boys going there. Tristan went over to the Lodge to see what was going on and joined the Troop.

When asked what his best camping experience was, he said, “Every campout that it did not rain I don’t remember, but those where it rained I remember because we had to improvise.” He states his worst camping experience was the Boundary Waters because his last hour in the canoe on the water he was swamped by a motor boat speeding by.

Tristan completed the following merit badges on his journey to the rank of Eagle Scout: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness, Life Saving, Environmental Science, Personal Management, Swimming, Camping, Robotics, Small-Boat Sailing, Fish and Wildlife, Basketry, Emergency Preparedness, Radio, Family Life, Leatherwork, Archery, Collections, Fire Safety, Textile, Rowing, Rifle Shooting, Canoeing, Backpacking, Automotive Maintenance, Kayaking, Insect Study, Electricity, Energy, Snow Sports, Pets, Railroading and Hiking. The best merit badge for Tristan was Winter Sports at Camp Hale; it was neat to do “snow” skiing in the summer. The worst merit badges were Personal Management and Personal Fitness due to the paperwork involved for both of them.

Tristan’s Eagle Leadership Project involved refurbishing a military ambulance that is on display at the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum.

Tristan is also an active member of the Texas High School Bass Fishing Team and the Future Farmers of America. Upon completing high school, he plans to attend Universal Technical Institute in Houston to become an automotive technician.

Eagle Spotlight: Benjamin Hendricks

March 8, 2021

Benjamin Hendricks started Scouting in 2011 because “it was something my older brother was doing and I wanted to see what the fun was all about.” He is currently a member of Troop 98.

His best camping experience was at Enchanted Rock. “It was a trip with excellent weather. The boulder was amazing to go through.” Ben did not mention any bad camping experience.

Ben completed the following merit badges for the rank of Eagle Scout: Art, Fingerprinting, Chess, Animal Science, Crime Prevention, Swimming, Personal Fitness, Mining, First Aid, Veterinary Medicine, Entrepreneurship, Genealogy, Electronics, Inventing, Orienteering, Wilderness Survival, Music, Lifesaving, Citizenship in the Nation, Communication, Programming, Citizenship in the World, Climbing, Family Life, Athletics, Camping, Space Exploration, Environmental Science, Scout Heritage, Citizenship in the Community, Scholarship, Traffic Safety, Personal Management, Soil and Water Conservation, Aviation and Cooking. He said his favorite merit badge was Cooking because, “I got to plan and prepare meals for a hike. I did not know I could do that.” On the other side of the coin Ben said, “My worst merit badge was Personal Management due to all the paperwork, but it is the most beneficial to learn.”

His Eagle Leadership Project was for the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Ben and his team of volunteers cleared debris and Indian Mallow (an invasive species of plant) that was blocking a natural spring on the grounds of the museum. Upon completion the spring was flowing and the area was cleaned to allow visitors to enjoy this area of the grounds of the museum.

Besides school and Scouts, Ben is very active with the Huntsville High School Military Marching Band where he plays the snare drum in the Drum line; he has recently been named Drum Major for the 2021-22 school year. He is also involved in the Huntsville High School Drama/Theater and just completed the play “Check Please” in which Ben had the lead role. He is an active member of the Student Council and is a Representative of the Freshman Class Council. He is active with the First United Methodist Church Youth Ministry and is a back-up drum-set player for the Praise Team and the Youth Ministry Band. Ben is also an Ordeal member of the Order of the Arrow and is presently working towards his Brotherhood in the Order.

Ben’s future plan upon completing high school is to go to college and earn a degree in Law.

Eagle Spotlight: Brayden Castleberry

March 8, 2021

Brayden is a member of Troop 114, and met his Eagle Board of Review on November 30, 2020. He joined the Boy Scouts in 2008 because his cousins convinced him to join. His most enjoyable camping trip was to the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico; his worst was to Camp Hale due to the ticks.

Brayden completed the following merit badges on his journey to the Eagle Rank: First Aid, Personal Fitness, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Environmental Science, Crime Prevention, Fingerprinting, Cooking, Emergency Preparedness, Hiking, Dentistry, Scouting Heritage, Communication, Personal Management, Camping, Family Life, Fishing, Reptile and Amphibian, Insect Study, Energy, Graphic Arts, Fire Safety, Oceanography, Photography, Digital Technology, Weather, Rifle Shooting, Backpacking, Automotive Maintenance, Welding, Animal Science and Radio. He said en enjoyed Welding best “because of a shocking experience with the welder.” Brayden’s Eagle Leadership Project was building and installing heavy duty picnic tables for two of the Huntsville Fire Department Stations.

Brayden currently works at Discount Tire so between Scouts, School and work he is not involved in extracurricular activities. His future plans upon graduating from High School are to attend Trade School for Plumbing.

Daisy Troop 103115 Shows Christmas Spirit

January 2021

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 103115 showed their Christmas spirit by preparing hand decorated gift bags for the residents at the Cornerstone Assisted Living Center in Conroe. The bags had personal items such as socks and toothbrushes as well as candy and puzzle books. The girls prepared the bags during one of their regular troop meetings this month. Daisies are the youngest members of Girl Scouts (Kindergarten and First Grade). The San Jacinto Girl Scout Council, which includes Walker County, is offering free memberships during the month of December. New members can join for free via gssjc.org/freemembership.

December BSA News

December 2020

With the weather getting cooler and the Holidays just around the corner, members of the Boy Scouts of America who reside in Huntsville have been very busy this month.

On Saturday, December 5th, several of our units participated in the Huntsville Lions Club Christmas Parade. Troop 114 along with Scouts from the other units in town provided the Honor Guard for the parade. Cub Scout Packs 98 and 114 each had a float entered into the parade. The theme this year was “Every Day Heroes”.

Troop 98 Scout Zachary Rebstock started his Eagle Leadership project of cosmetically refurbishing a 1982 Humvee at the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans museum.

Cub Scout Pack 114 at their monthly Pack meeting besides recognizing the Cubs for their achievements and Rank advancements, they also performed a service. Each cub brought homemade cookies which they set out and made snack bags that were taken to the Huntsville Memorial Hospital for the Emergency Room staff and the First Responders.

These are just some of the Scouting fun in the area. If you have a youth interested in joining, visit joseyscoutlodge.org/join to learn more.

The Scouts here at Josey Scout Lodge wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hopefully a Happy New Year.

Congrats Eagle Scout Will Pitts

December 4, 2021 by Bob Kane

William Pitts started his journey on the Scouting Trail as a Tiger Cub with Pack 98 in 2011. After working his way through the ranks of Tiger, Wolf, Bear and WEBELOS he earned the Arrow of Light in February of 2016. Will then joined Scout Troop 98. Once in the Troop he earned the Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks where the youth learn the basic skills needed for the outdoors. These requirements combined with service projects and leadership responsibilities guide youth on their journey to the Rank of Eagle Scout.

Then Will started working on the requirements for Star, Life and finally Eagle. This involves completing a total of 21 merit badges in which 13 are required for the Eagle Scout rank. Will completed a total of 34 merit badges along his journey. Here is the list of merit badges he has completed: Astronomy, Athletics, Camping, Chess, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Climbing, Communications, Cooking, Crime Prevention, Environmental Science, Family Life, Farm Mechanics, Finger Printing, Fire Safety, First Aid, Fish and Wildlife Management, Genealogy, Geology, Lifesaving, Metalwork, Music, Nature, Orienteering, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Rifle Shooting, Salesmanship, Sustainability, Swimming, Veterinary Medicine, Welding and Wood Carving.

Will has not stopped on completing merit badges. He is currently working on Hiking and Art. Additional Merit Badges completed by Will count towards him earning Eagle Palms awards.

Once Will earned the rank of Life Scout he had to do a Leadership project where he had to develop a plan for a project to be done for the Troop’s Charter Organization or other non-profit organization or Community center as long as it benefits the community. This is the Eagle Leadership Project. He had to plan the project, get the approval of the beneficiary of the project, approval from the Scouting District Representative, collect funding if needed, the materials, tools and the volunteers to help execute the plan to complete the project.

Will’s project benefited the First United Methodist Church’s (FUMC) Youth Ministry Band. He planned and built a stage for the band and it is used for rehearsals in preparations for Sunday Services.

I asked Will two questions, which were also asked during his Eagle Board of Review that was on June 25, 2020. Due to restrictions placed on the community due to Covid-19, Will received his Eagle Scout Rank in a ceremony on November 8, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church.

“What was your most memorable Scouting Experience?” Will: “My most memorable experience was the Boundary Waters Trip with Troop 114. There we got to just go and enjoy nature and fish with no schedule. It was a joy being out in nature.”

“What was your worst Scouting experience?” Will: “Working on the Sustainability Merit Badge.”

After reviewing the requirements for the merit badge I understand why it would be a bad experience for a young man. It requires a lot of discussion and planning regarding the sustainability of our natural resources and how one can work to improve the sustainability of these resources in their home and community.

Will is also very active in his church and school. Will is a member of the FUMC Youth Ministry Band and a trumpet player and section leader for the Huntsville High School Military Marching Band. He also is a member of the Huntsville High School Tennis Team. Will is also a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and is a member of the Wool Judging Team. He has also been elected into Scouting’s Honor Society known as the Order of the Arrow and is an Ordeal member. He is currently working on the next level of the order Brotherhood.

Will’s plans are to continue Scouting until he turns 18. He is currently a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and is helping the younger members of Troop 98 strive to achieve their goals of reaching the rank of Eagle Scout. His long term goals are to go to college to earn a degree in Business and to earn his certifications in Welding. He plans to give back to Scouting by becoming a Scout Leader for either Troop 98 or wherever his adventures in life take him.

Scouting is Alive in Huntsville and Walker County

November 2020 by Bob Kane, with contributions from local Scouts

You may not have noticed much action around the Josey Scout Lodge since March when all large gathering places were closed due to Covid-19. As there was little to no action taking place at the lodge due to covid-19, our Scouting Units have been active for the past 7 months behind the scenes.

The units started doing virtual meetings with their unit leaders and worked on several adventures, rank requirements and merit badges from the comfort of their homes. Due to state parks and Scout camps being closed virtual overnight camps took place.

As restrictions were being lifted the Scouts started doing some in person meetings usually at a local park or outside the lodge while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. Day events allowed more social interaction and allowed the Scouting youth to do what they enjoy most having fun.

During these past 2 months, Scouts have been working on doing more and more around the lodge and for the community. There have been 2 service days at the lodge where units have each signed up for 2 different months throughout the year to come and do services projects and clean up in and around the lodge. Some units have done service for their Chartered Organizations.

I personally started working with a unit on the Hiking Merit Badge and we ventured out on their first hike of 5 miles. Now they are planning the next hike which will be 10 miles.

There are 7 units here in Huntsville. 3 Cub Scout Packs, 3 Scouts BSA Troops, and 1 Venturing Crew meets each week mainly from August through June. During June and July they would have attended day camp, summer camp or a high adventure program. This past summer the units worked on virtual campouts that National had set up during the summer months. The National Order of the Arrow Conference was changed from an in person event to a 3 day virtual event. One unit held a wilderness survival overnighter on one of the leader’s property which allowed Scouts to work on requirements for the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge.

One Scout wrote about his troop and what they did during October. “In the month of October, Huntsville’s Boy Scout Troop 114 has continued to provide instruction, adventure, and valuable memories to the young men in our community. During troop meetings, for example, the scouts began working on the Radio Merit Badge, which has opened up the possibility to explore the topic further if the scout so chooses. The troop also canoed nine miles down the Neches River near Lufkin. On this excursion, the scouts were able to experience nature and observe the wildlife of the Pineywoods region. Lastly, two Eagle Scouts in Troop 114 had their Courts of Honor, where they were finally able to receive their Eagle badges and be honored for this great accomplishment in front of their friends and family. Even through a pandemic, Troop 114 is still striving to be the next leaders of our community and nation.”

Girl Scout News

November 2020

Girl Scout Troop 103113 completed their Bronze Award project recently. They built a butterfly garden outside the Girl Scout house. Each girl devoted 20 hours for the project which included research, seeking donations for the building materials and plants, building the beds, planting and plant care, and painting signs and decorating the garden. The garden will serve the scouting and Huntsville community for years to come. Donors of materials included Home Depot, the Walker County Master Gardeners and the Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society.