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.

 

Cheerful Service

One of our favorite aspects to Venturing are the opportunities created to give back to our community.  The last week in September afforded us two opportunities of service.  Both service projects benefited important organizations positively impacting the Chillicothe area.

Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac

Friday evening brought us to the 2nd Annual Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac Fundraiser.  Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac provides sack lunches to the students of Illinois Valley Central School District who otherwise would go hungry during the weekend.  We played a handful of roles at the fundraiser.  A few of us bused tables and refilled patrons’ drinks while others of us took turns serving the meal and informing the kitchen of what needed refilled.

Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac

It’s always nice being the kitchen help, you get fed well!  To have the opportunity to serve the Weekend Snackpac program is really more of a blessing to the members of the crew than it is to the program.  There is such a large need not only in Chillicothe but throughout the country.  Children go hungry on the weekends but with the assistance of the Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac program fewer children are feeling the pangs of hunger.

Illinois River Sweep

The morning started a little dreary but soon the Saturday sun made an appearance at the Chillicothe River Sweep. We met other Chillicotheans at Cutright Park to patrol the beaches for trash and unwanted debris.  Crew 91 partnered up for the morning with members of Troop 91.  We combed the beaches and parks and were rewarded with bags and bags of trash. The highlight of of patroling would probably be the baby snapping turtle we found or the discarded headless cement swan.

Illinois River Sweep

There are endless opportunities to volunteer and serve in your local community.  For ideas contact your local food pantry, chamber of commerce, school district or pet shelter.  There’s no need to be bored when there are countless ways to lend a hand, a shovel or a smile.  Happy serving!

Illinois River Sweep

Scouting All Summer

When asked, ‘What are you plans for the summer?’ being a Venture Scout has its advantages.  Summers are awesome and hold the keys to the great unknown, if you know where to look.  One member of our crazy crew will have plenty of stories to tell from the summer of 2014.

Trevor is a Life Scout of Crew 91 and the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 50.  He has packed his summer to the brim.  Starting off the summer with a bang by participating in National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), moving into three weeks working at Camp Ingersoll and then catching the train to Philmont Scout Ranch for two weeks makes for one massive summer of scouting!

Mr. Trevor

For the fourth summer in the W.D. Boyce Council, NYLT has been opened to Venture Scouts.  Trevor is the second member of Crew 91 to participate in NYLT and we’re so excited to see what leadership ideas he brings back to the crew.  National Youth Leadership Training is youth-led by previous graduates of NYLT and seeks to integrate modern leadership theory with the strengths scouting has to offer.  Every participant will discover what a leader must BE, what a leader must KNOW, and what a leader must DO.

National Youth Leadership Training

The next three weeks will be exhausting and amazing all at the same time.  Trevor will be working as a ‘floater’ at Ingersoll Scout Reservation in London Mills, Illinois.  Camp Ingersoll is our council summer camp offering Boy Scout troops an incredible summer full of activities, rank advancements and the opportunities to complete Merit Badges.  Mr. Trevor will be floating around camp serving wherever duty calls.  He’ll be busy at the waterfront, in Scoutcraft and a handful of other outposts leading by example and learning what it means to serve others before self.

Ingersoll Scout Reservation

After trekking all over Ingersoll Trevor will be throwing together everything he needs for a two week adventure at the epic Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.  While at Philmont Trevor will serve as the trek Crew Leader while the group backpacks for 12 days through the mountains of New Mexico.  While there he will be able to put to practice the skills he learned at NYLT and the servant leadership he observed while on staff at Camp Ingersoll.

Philmont Scout Ranch

These are the best summers.  The summers that start off by learning new skills that move into serving others and then progress to leading a group of venturers through the backcountry make the most memorable of summers.  If anything, Trevor will be ready to take a real shower, crash into his own bed and share with others why scouting is really the best option for a jam packed, unforgettable summer.

 

Pomp and Circumstance

May always seems to be a flurry of activity.  Between weddings, and graduations and the occasional Venturing activity the month quickly fades into June.   We don’t know about you but is it hard to sit through graduations ceremonies without thinking of Scouting songs?  It is for us!  One particular song automatically starts rolling through the brain…My Turtle Swims Sideways.

Inevitably as soon as Pomp and Circumstance makes its way into the audience this little ditty comes to mind:

My turtle swims sideways

Your turtle swims upside down

My turtle swims sideways

Your turtle is dead!

Tank the Turtle

 In our little crew we have had quite the graduation season.  We have one crew member graduating from every level of education.  We cannot be more proud of all everyone has accomplished and cannot wait to see what their futures have in store.

 

Graduating from Chillicothe Elementary Center is our dear Megan.  Megan has been hanging out with the crew for the past 7-8 months as an unofficial member of the crew.  In order to be a full-fledged youth in any Venture Crew you must be either 14 years old or 13 and completed 8th grade.  Well, congratulations, Megan!  You’ve successfully conquered junior high and are heading off to high school!

Crew 91 Graduates

Leaving Illinois Valley Central High School as a well-rounded senior is our enthusiastic Tanner.  Tanner has quite the scouting career starting as far back as a Cub Scout, moving into Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout and joining Crew 91.    Kudos to you, Tanner and best of luck as you attend Illinois Central College this fall!

Crew 91 Graduates

Not to be excluded from the excitement, Arielle graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Counseling.   Though too old to be a youth of Crew 91, Arielle made the transition to Associate Crew Advisor as soon as she was eligible.  Congratulations on a job well done for successfully navigating through the challenges of college life!  Best wishes as you hit the pavement!

Crew 91 Graduates

So the next time you’re sitting through graduation and cannot wait for Pomp and Circumstance to quit repeating itself, just sing a Crew 91 favorite: My Turtle Swims Sidesways.

My turtle

Have you ever gone fishing

The Boy Scout world is full if music.  What you consider music and really is music could be two separate ideas entirely.  However, singing off key or yelling at the top of your lungs is a common occurrence in scouting land.

Our crew is no different.  We chant, sing in rounds, perform little skits and break into song all the time.  You will be hard pressed to find an activity where some kind of music does not make an appearance.

Venture Crew 91

When we went to Philmont Scout Ranch in 2011 a whole bunch of us listened to country music.  A handful did not appreciate the finer qualities of country music and would bust out in:

“Barges are there treasures in your hold, do you fight with pirates big and bold.  Barges I would like to sail with you, I would like to sail the ocean blue.”

You sing Barges in a round and it was a sure fire way to stop the singing of country music – everyone would jump right in and finish the song  To this day Barges is the perfect way to change the song or subject.  Just as a side note, the anti-country music fellows has been converted!

If we’re not singing a round you might find us singing an action song.  There is nothing better than a little enthusiasm and jumping and ‘do as I do’ songs to get your crew ready for a night of excitement.  They’re also great for a lull in a program or for when you need to break up a training weekend.  One of our favorites is quick and simple:

“Have you ever gone fishing on a bright summer day with all the little fishies swimming in the bay?  With their hands in their pockets and their pockets in their pants all the little fishies do the hootchie kootchie dance.’

Or maybe you might prefer Gray Squirrel for a quick and easy action song. Many times you will find Gray Squirrel used when a member of a troop or crew forgets to bring a water bottle, their merit badge sash or the lunch.  The poor unsuspecting soul has to sing Gray Squirrel with all the motions and if everyone is nice they might join in the merriment:

                              “Gray squirrel, gray squirrel shake your bushy tail. Gray Squirrel, gray squirrel shake your bushy tail.  Crinkle up your little nose, stick a nut between your toes. Gray squirrel, gray squirrel shake your bushy tail.”

So matter the type of song, we’re game.  We may look silly but we don’t really mind.  It brings a smile to our faces and to those around us who think us crazy, we’ll let you in our secret…we are. 🙂

It’s Not Cold…

When we told our friends, family and co-workers we were going to go camping this past weekend we received the, “Are you crazy?” look.  You know the one.  It’s the look where one eyebrow raises, the mouth gapes open and a slight gasp for air follows.  Here in good ol’ Chillicothe, Illinois we are having all kinds of fun in the extreme cold.

The Camp Wokanda Face

The Camp Wokanda Face

But a subzero temperatures were not going to keep us from our annual cabin camping at Camp Wokanda.  There it is, the key word, cabin.  We don’t mind the cold but we’re not completely off our rockers!

Wash your dishes with a sock?

Wash your dishes with a sock?

The weekend was laid back and easy.  We snuggled in Friday night for chili, snacks, games and a movie.  A new member joined us for her first campout with the crew and here’s hoping we didn’t scare her away.  Sleeping did not even require the sleeping bag!

Service & Fun

Service & Fun

No need to get out into the frigid weather too early on a Saturday morning so we had a late start to breakfast.  Made our way to a little service project clearing felled trees and took a break to sled.  It’s slightly tricky to avoid trees, stumps and people.  We managed to survive and get back in time for lunch and the remainder of the service project.

Never a dull moment

Never a dull moment

Nothing too exciting but the weather was brisk, new friendships were made and most importantly we presented a crew member with the rank of Life Scout.  Times are always good when spent among friends, especially while ‘camping’ at Camp Wokanda.

Our new Life Scout!

Our new Life Scout!

What Now?

School is out and the summer is ahead of us!  The long awaited time has come to enjoy the bliss of summer and all it holds.  There are so many summer activities but the best activities are those in the water.  Since we live on the Illinois River why not spend the majority of the summer basking in the sun?  That is just what we are going to do.  As soon as the speed boat is cleaned and readied for the river we’ll be out and about racing up and down the Illinois.  We’ll be holding on for dear life as we’re flung back and forth on our tubes.  There will be King of the Inner Tube – a feat not easily won.  There will be brutal tidal waves and barrel rolling.  There is absolutely no reason to be board this summer…join Venture Crew 91 on the Illinois!  Are you game?

Ready for Summer