The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The month of December is always full of excitement for Crew 91.  There are so many wonderful service projects in which we participate.  We kicked off the Christmas season by lending a hand to our sponsoring organization, The United Methodist Men’s Club.

Venture Crew 91

Every year the Men’s Club in conjunction with the church hosts Christmas on 6th Street.  The day is full of crafts and vendors selling wares.  And not to be forgotten are all the delicious baked goods by the women of the church.  The event is held to help support the ministries of the church.  Members of Crew 91 volunteered in the kitchen, taking on our usual role of server, table buser and drink refiller.  The members of the Men’s Club have the kitchen down to a science and we fall into step with ladles and aprons in hand.

Venture Crew 91

The wonderful world of serving at the Chillicothe United Methodist Church are the friendly faces you come to know.  Almost every lunch or dinner served brings old familiar faces.  Serving food is a wonderful opportunity to catch up and get the latest news of the comings and goings of our little town.  This year we were joined by members of Troop 91.  It is easy to forget how young Boys Scouts are when you spend all of your time with Venture Scouts!

Venture Crew 91

Another wonderful organization to which we contribute is the Chillicothe Community Needs Agency (CNA).  Throughout the year CNA is meeting the needs of Chillicothe area residents.  From the past due electric bill, to helping the elderly replace broken and worn out appliances, to providing gift cards for groceries, and refilling pantries at Christmas time the CNA is a happening organization.

Our annual contribution usually takes the form of Christmas presents.  We LOVE shopping for the kiddos of Chillicothe at Christmas time.  This year CNA had a different need, a financial request.  When we approached the Community Needs Agency board concerning how we could best assist their organization they asked if we would contribute financially in place of Christmas presents.  As a collective we determined to use the funds set aside for Christmas presents and make a donation to be used as the CNA saw fit.  It is such a privilege to assist the Community Needs Agency in the services to individuals and families of Chillicothe.

This coming Saturday we will be participating in our all time favorite service activity of the year.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed we’ll join community volunteers at Illinois Valley Central High School to sort, assemble and deliver Christmas food baskets.  Throughout the month of December our local Kroger Grocery, area businesses, and the schools in IVC School District #321 have been collecting food donations for the Christmas baskets.

Venture Crew 91

Saturday morning we’ll be unloading carts full of donated non-perishable food items and preparing them for delivery.  It is just fabulous to see whole families, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, young children and Optimist Club members all come together to help serve those less fortunate.  A grand time is had by everyone as towers of green beans are assembled, potatoes are sorted into bags for individual families, and the Chillicothe Volunteer Fire Department picks up and delivers Christmas baskets.

Inevitably the day will be overcast, with a light drizzle turning into freezing rain while fingers and noses begin to freeze as the morning gathers speed. But no amount of gray skies and slippery sidewalks will dampen the spirits of the volunteers gathered at IVC to spread a little Christmas cheer to those who need it most at Christmas time.

What an incredible privilege it is to live in such a philanthropic small community as Chillicothe, Illinois.

 

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Saying Goodbye to 2013

We like to party.  Plain and simple.  Party we did right before Christmas.  We had a little snow and as a special treat one of committee members brought everyone a snowman.  The little card read as follows:

Money is scarce and times are hard. 

So I’m giving you this instead of a card.

Something to use, something to share. 

So bottoms up, just ’cause I care!

Merry Christmas!

Toilet Paper Snowmen

A few fancy games were played and most scrumptious food was enjoyed.  There can’t really be anything better than embarrassing yourself in front of your whole crew.  It’s a good thing we don’t embarrass very easily.  To get things started we played No Hands Cookie.  It is fairly simple really, you place any old cookie on your forehead and without using your hands you must get the cookie into your mouth.  Oh the many faces you’ll discover while trying to move a cookie across your face!

Eat the Cookie!

We take gift wrapping very seriously, as we should.  We wrap loads of gifts every year for the Chillicothe Community Needs Agency.  We took wrapping to a whole new level this year.  In teams of three with each team member allowed to use only one hand, teams had to wrap two packages complete with creased edges and bows.  There were points added for bows matching the paper, strict adherence to the one arm per person rule and bribing the judge.  The creative juices were flowing when figuring out how to cut tape with only one hand.

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Following instructions is important, especially when drawing what you cannot see.  Some were more capable at scribbling on the plate atop their heads while others shouldn’t quit their day jobs.  Using a paper plate and instructions read by one player we had to draw exactly what was read, a fire place with a mantel, a Christmas tree with a shining star.  Some even attempted to cheat!  Who would ever think of cheating to get ahead in a little old party game?  Let’s just say we are not hitting the road anytime soon as local artists.

Artists in the Making

We are hilarious, that’s all there is to it.  We had each other cracking up at our funny faces ‘eating’ cookies.  Laughed at each other’s strategic plans to wrap gifts with only three hands.  And enjoyed scoring each others paper plate masterpieces.  Just too much fun was had by all.  What can we come up with next?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Season of Thankfulness

Thanksgiving may have passed yet Crew 91 continues to be thankful.  This time of year is truly one of the crew’s most favorite.  There are so many ways we are able to serve our community and give back for all they have done for us and for others.

Christmas Shopping

We like to start off the holiday season by purchasing Christmas gifts.  Every year we volunteer at a local resale shop, Helping Hands, to raise money for us to purchase gifts for the less fortunate in our community.  This year we were able to shop for two families with five children in each family.

Christmas Shopping

There’s nothing quite like watching a group of teenage boys picking out and choosing the best gifts for 3-10 year old girls.  Needless to say they were much quicker in choosing presents for all the little boys who needed Christmas presents.  But in the end even the little princesses of the group will be opening splendid gifts Christmas morning.

Christmas Wrapping

There was quite the wrapping party after purchasing toys for 10 children!  So much ribbon and paper and tape made for a perfect start to the Christmas season.  Of course we could not have been in the Christmas spirit without singing along to Christmas classics.

Christmas Wrapping

In the coming weeks we will be out and about Chillicothe continuing to serve our community with cheerful service.  This Saturday we will be volunteering at the local Christmas on 6th Street held at the First United Methodist Church in Chillicothe.  We’ll be setting up tables for the perfect Christmas lunch of ham with all the trimmings, serving dinner and busing tables.  Come out and join us.

Christmas Wrapping

Then on December 21 we’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed at the annual packaging of non-perishable food baskets for the Chillicothe Community Needs Agency.  Starting at 7am we’ll be at IVC High School unloading, sorting and packaging canned food items for the Community Christmas Baskets.  When it’s all said and done almost 125 families will be receiving baskets just in time for Christmas dinner.

Christmas Wrapping

With so much to be thankful, providing a few hours of cheerful service is just one way to share our thankfulness.  Because in the end, giving is so much more rewarding than receiving.  We hope to see you alongside us as we help others enjoy this Christmas season.

Toe Tag, Night Hikes and Bannister Waffles

If  there is one thing Crew 91 knows how to do well it would have to be partying!  We’re like one huge, happy-go-lucky family.  When we get together there are always bound to be laughs that cause your abs to hurt, crazy games no one else plays and adventures into the night.

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This Christmas was no different and why would it be?  There were 30 Venturers and two honorary Venturers all packed into the OA Lodge at Camp Wokanda for a couple days following Christmas!  Apples to Apples was a riot.  The traditional Euchre game was full of hot air and big egos.  Our Finnish game of Toe Tag turned into a combo game of Toe Tag and Ninja.  Only a few hips and toes were left bruised.  🙂  But what kind of crew party would it be if there were no bruises?

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We played a wild game of Christmas Song Trivia.  Some of us know our Christmas songs and some of us should listen to the All-Christmas-All-Season-Long stations a little more faithfully.  We promise to not make your ears bleed with our singing of the classic, all time Christmas favorites.  Let’s just say we did not sound all that wonderful!  But we sure did have a good time and that’s all the matters.

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The night was complete after our annual Bannister Night Hike in the frigid fresh air.  This year was a bonus year…we didn’t get lost, no one was left behind, no one fell and we all made it back in one piece.  Those who were not brave enough to conquer the Bannister Night Hike will have to step up to the plate next year or else!  We sang to our hearts’ content while watching O’Brother Where Art Thou?  We giggled, some of us snorted and there was at least one RedGreen Laugh!

While the boys crashed on the main floor the girls froze upstairs in the newly completed loft and we started the morning off right with the highly popular and ever in-demand Bannister Waffle breakfast.  All in all a really fabulous couple of days spent with the ever crazy and wild guys and gals of Venture Crew 91!

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Even Nachos Have Christmas Spirit!

So last night we worked our final Bradley Braves game before Christmas.  And man what a night.  The night started off with some Jackson 5 singing some Christmas carols and the boys not singing so beautifully.  Though our merry band was only five strong we rocked Stand #9!  Never before were the nachos stuffed so quickly while brats and hot dogs lined the grills.

 

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Our man Tyler brought along Christmas hats for all of us to wear and the Christmas cheer filled the stand.  We got a few strange looks and we might have even landed a few extra tips for our Christmas spirit.  Even our lovely CenterPlate manager, Edna, got in on the Christmas excitement. 🙂

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Though we may not sing beautifully and people thought us funny for sporting Christmas attire ~ that’s what makes us Crew 91.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a more fun-loving, easy going, quick-to-laugh group of Central Illinois guys and gals.  What a great way to spend a Wednesday night!

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So Much for Which to Be Thankful

In one short week we will be celebrating Christmas.  This is a time of year that is always full of excitement and anticipation.  And this year is no different.  Venture Crew 91 is looking Merry-Christmas-Candles-218077forward to the day after Christmas and the party we’ll be having at Camp Wokanda in Mossville.  We have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas.

We were able to share some of our wealth with the families of Chillicothe by purchasing and wrapping Christmas presents.  We shared the wee morning hours with three dozen other volunteers, sorting, organizing and packaging food stuffs for Chillicothe Community Christmas Baskets.  We delivered packages to a family who couldn’t make it to the high school.  We’re going to spend a wonderful day and a half with our Crew family following Christmas.

Our Crew is truly so very blessed and we love to share our blessings with others and this year is no different.  This year we will be stopping to think of our extended Scouting family and keep Pack 170 from the Connecticut Yankee Council in our thoughts and prayers.  Pack 170 lost two brave little Tiger Cubs at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  And as we celebrate Christmas this year as a Crew family we will make sure to pause and remember all for which we have to be thankful, friends and family

May you be richly blessed this Christmas.  And may you bask in all the things for which you have to be thankful.

Merry Christmas!

Crew 91

 

Alco, Monicals and the Bauer’s House

There is no better way to spend an evening than shopping at ALCO, eating pizza at Monical’s and destroying the Bauer Family’s living room all in the name of Christmas!  That is exactly what we did tonight.  Every year the Chillicothe Community Needs puts together Christmas baskets with food and presents for local families who need assistance at Christmas time.  And Venture Crew 91 participates every year and it is possibly our most favorite service project of the year.  This year we also decided to support the St. Edwards Giving Tree.

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To pay for our Christmas gifts we work at a local second hand store, Helping Hands.  We volunteer one week out of the year and then the groups who work during that week receive a portion of the proceeds.  And each year we decide to give back to the community with the funds we raise at Helping Hands.

This year we bought Christmas gifts for 18 local children and this Christmas there should be a handful of very excited children.  What 10-year old boy does not like a Nerf gun for Christmas? Our thinking, if we still like to play with Nerf guns at our campouts what little munchkins wouldn’t like an arsenal of Nerf toys of their very own?  And of course we picked out our classic favorite toys by Fisher-Price and Melissa & Doug.  And we want to make sure our skateboarders are safe so we made sure to pick out spiffy helmets.

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No Christmas gift wrapping party is complete without pizza so we invaded our local Monical’s and stuffed ourselves before heading back to the Bauer’s living room.  There was no portion of the living room untouched by wrapping paper, stuffing, tape, scissors and loads and loads of gifts!  It was fabulous.  And we lucked out this year – there were no injuries experienced on this Christmas expedition.  You try wrapping skateboards and helmets…very tricky if you ask us!

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Good times were had by one and all!