Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Scouter Davey Jones, RIP

September 29, 2013

Lewis & Clark Monument

I can’t say it much better than Sioux Council’s Scout Executive, on the recent loss of a long-time Scouter from Minnesota:

Scouting Friends:

It is with deepest regret that I share the news of the passing of Lewis & Clark Scout Camp icon and our Scouting friend, David “Davey” Jones. Davey passed away in his sleep on September 5th while on a fossil hunting expedition with a friend in Lusk, WY.

It is not over stated to say that Davey was a legend among Scouts who attended summer camp at Lewis & Clark. This past camping season was Davey’s 37th at the camp on the hills above the Missouri River. His legacy literally touched the lives of thousands of campers throughout the decades.

Davey’s impact on Scouting was not limited to summer camp alone. He was a stalwart presence in local Scouting in both the Worthington and Marshall, MN areas. His distinctive voice, the always positive attitude and the wealth of knowledge will be sorely missed by all.

In many college communities, Davey was renowned for his knowledge of, work in and support of paleontology. It is fitting that Davey’s last hours were spent doing what he loved.

Davey’s family wishes to express their thanks for the many kind words of condolence they have received from the Scouting community. Davey’s body will be cremated and a memorial service will be held in Spring 2014 at Lewis and Clark Scout Camp.

Family members have requested that anyone wishing to honor Davey’s memory can make contributions in his name to the Sioux Council, BSA.

Please keep Davey’s family, including his many beloved friends in Scouting, in your prayers in this time of loss.

Tom Smotherman Jr. – Scout Executive

Davey was displaced from his long-time home in Worthington, Minnesota, when the State widened a highway through town.  Turning lemons into lemonade, as Scouters are wont to do, Davey worked out a life estate at Lewis & Clark Scout Reservation outside Yankton, South Dakota.  He helped the camp build some much-needed facilities, as I understand it, and the camp helped him with a place to stay.  I can still hear him smile, raise his hand, and say “On my honor…” .



Erickson earns Eagle Scout Recognition

September 7, 2012

Local coverage by Rebecca Hudson, courtesy of the Murray County News

Three is a charmed number in many ways. For Ryan Erickson and his family, it represents the ultimate achievement to be had in the Boy Scouts of America: the rank of Eagle Scout. Ryan, along with his two older brothers Jake and Ben, has reached that goal and was officially recognized at a ceremony held Sunday afternoon.

A member of the scouting organization since he was 12 years old, Ryan says that he has worked his way through the various ranks on the way to the top achievement. “It was a lot of work,” he admits. As he worked his way through the requirements, Ryan says he got bogged down for two years working on the life skills badges.

“And I didn’t feel determined to get it [Eagle Scout rank].” But as he progressed and got older, he found scouting to be very rewarding. “I liked it a lot then I was 15 or 16 years old because it was more enjoyable,” he explains. “It’s been a lot of fun doing activities and learning a lot of stuff,” he adds.

Earning the coveted Eagle Scout award is no easy task. Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges and demonstrate Scout spirit through service and leadership. Planning, organization and management of an extensive service project is the final leg of the journey.

For his project, Ryan singled out a much needed landscaping renovation at the Shetek Lutheran Bible Camp. The perimeter of the main camp building had been overgrown with plants and weeds and posed a definite challenge for him. Undaunted, he went to work at creating a new design to replace the aging rocks and plants that had been there.

Last October Ryan, along with a select group of helpers, moved in bricks and plants and other materials necessary to transform the overgrown landscaping near the camp building into a tastefully updated makeover. In all, Ryan’s project entailed 137 hours of labor. VIP Floral donated all of the plants while the camp paid for the rest of the materials.

Though Ryan’s project work date had to be delayed a week because of some personal health issues, Ryan says that it ended up going much better than he had originally planned. “I got many compliments from people who have seen it and think the job was well done,” he says.

Ryan is now headed off to college at St. Cloud State University to pursue a computer science degree. But he will remain a lifelong Boy Scout, joining the ranks of nine local scouts who have preceding him in achieving the Eagle Scout rank.

Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men. The title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.”

The Eagle Scout Service Project is the opportunity for a Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of any religious institution, any school, or his community. The National Eagle Scout Association researched the total volunteer hours of the Eagle service projects ever done and it came a total of more than 100 million hours of service. Each year, new Eagle Scouts are adding more than three million more hours.

Ryan and his brother Jake both did their projects at a local bible camp, near our district Scout Camp on Lake Shetek.


Scoutmaster Minute—Wilderness in Our Backyard

July 15, 2012

SM Minute—Wilderness in Our Backyard

This week I drove up to the State Park.  The fish weren’t biting, so I took a hike.  About 20 minutes down a trail that wasn’t too steep, pretty easy as those things go, the trail got pretty darn close to the river’s edge along a wash out.  It was a good 30 feet down to the rocks and water below and if I hadn’t been watching my step I might easily have joined them.  At the same time, I noticed my cell phone had no signal at all, just like back at the trailhead.

When we go into the backcountry, at least one member of our Scouting party has to be trained in Wilderness First Aid, which is specifically geared to first aid when you’re more than 30 minutes from help.  Now this wasn’t Philmont, or the Boundary Waters.  This park trail isn’t your backyard, but it’s not even that far off the pavement.  And it was more than 30 minutes from help:

  • 20 minutes back to the car
  • ?? to find a cell signal
  • At least 20 minutes back down the trail.

That all adds up to trouble.  But it’s trouble a Scout knows how to prepare for, react to, and survive.

It is said that Robert Baden-Powell was asked, “What exactly should a Scout ‘be prepared’ for?”  To which he responded, “Why, any old thing!’

Be prepared, for any old thing, any old place you go.

Scoutmaster Minute—An Indian Boy’s Training

April 15, 2012

SM Minute—An Indian Boy’s Training

Excerpts from Charles Alexander Eastman‘s 1902 book, Indian Boyhood.

Very early, the Indian boy assumed the task of preserving and transmitting the legends of his ancestors and his race. Almost every evening a myth, or a true story of some deed done in the poast, was narrated by one of the parents or grandparents, while the boy listened with parted lips and glistening eyes. On the following evening, he was usually required to repeat it… This sort of teaching at once enlightens the boy’s mind and stimulates his ambition…

It seems to be a popular idea that all the characteristic skill of the Indian is instinctive and hereditary. This is a mistake. All the stoicism and patience of the Indian are acquired traits, and continued practice alone makes him master of the art of wood-craft…

My uncle, who educated me up to the age of 15 years was a strict disciplinarian and a good teacher. When I left the teepee in the morning, he would say: “Hakadah, look closely to everything you see”; at evening, on my return, he used often to catechize me for an hour or so.

“On which side of the trees is the lighter-colored bark? On which side do they have most regular branches?”…

He did not expect a correct reply at once to all the voluminous questions that he put to me on these occasions, but he meant to make me observant and a good student of nature…

A bit about Mr. Eastman:

Charles Alexander Eastman (born Hakadah and later named Ohíye S’a; February 19, 1858 – January 8, 1939) was a Native American physician, writer, national lecturer, and reformer. He was of Santee Sioux and Anglo-American ancestry. Active in politics and issues on American Indian rights, he worked to improve the lives of youths, and founded 32 Native American chapters of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). He also helped found the Boy Scouts of America. He is considered the first Native American author to write American history from the native point of view.


Camp Wilderness: Going Home Again

July 8, 2011


Anyone who says “You can never go home again” has never been a Scout.

I grew up at Camp Wilderness—literally, I track my youth before, during and after Scout Camp.  Troop 222 spent our week under the trees in the Pawnee campsite at the Northern Lights Council‘s summer camp, just outside Park Rapids, MN.

This year, I was able to share my Scouting Home with my own Scouts in Troop 25 Sioux Council.  After 10 years in a row at our home Council camp, it was time for a change and the Scouts took me up on the offer of Camp Wilderness.

Some things were the same as I remembered.  The clear waters of Bad Axe Lake.  The lonely call of the loon. The undeniable ticks.

Many things were different, some better some maybe not so much.  There were some new campsites, a nice new campfire area built with landscape blocks, and a really cool log shelter by the dining hall.  The grub in that dining hall, however, was no where near as good as I remember.

I would recommend Camp Wilderness to any troop from anywhere.  The Camp Staff was great to work with and they tried hard to work with what is available.  And they offered wi-fi to leaders at the Admin Building, even if it was slow slow satellite internet.  It’s good to unplug for awhile, but it’s good to not have 200 spam back at work to go thru when you get home.  Camp Commissioners were more active than we are used to, and Wilderness offers a full agenda of Adult Leader Training.  Two of our Scouters completed Scoutmaster Training, including IOLS.

More importantly, Camp Staff worked with our Scouts to complete their merit badges as best they can.  Our Scouts jumped right into the lake for their swim test and all of the 2nd year or better Scouts completed Swimming Merit Badge (which we’ve struggled with down on the Missouri River).  The program areas aren’t too far apart so you spend less time hiking and more time doing.  I do prefer to have more group activities (like Troop Shoots) but what we had kept the guys busy without being overwhelmed.

Most importantly, everybody had a good time and wanted to go back.

That, to me, is what home is all about.


Ripley Rendezvous 2011

June 20, 2011

The Ripley Rendezvous is held every four years at Camp Ripley, Minnesota.  Several thousand Scouts gather from across the Upper Midwest and Canada for a weekend of camping, shooting sports, Scout-o-Rama-type midway displays and an awesome Arena show.  This is about as close as many of us will get to a Jamboree.  Kudos to the Minnesota National Guard and Central Minnesota Council for putting on this great event.  Looking forward to the next one!


Erickson earns rank of Eagle Scout

February 13, 2011
Eagle Scout Badge, Type 9

Image via Wikipedia

In this week’s edition of the Murray County News:

“It’s the basic goal of scouting when you start,” Jake Erickson reflects.  “It’s the last thing you go towards.”

For years Jake Erickson has been thinking about, preparing, and working toward earning the Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout.  Now that dream has been realized and friends, family and fellow Scouts will celebrate his achievement in a ceremony in his honor this Sunday afternoon.

Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is not something that you sit down and do overnight, Erickson says.  “It takes years and years and years of work.  And you have to want it,” he adds. Erickson has been working toward his goal since joining scouting while a kindergartner at the age of six.  In the 5th grade he became a Boy Scout and along side his brothers, Ben and Ryan, as well as dad Steve, he began work on his goal of achieving the hghest rank possible in the organization….

At 3pm today we will honor Jacob Erickson at an Eagle Court of Honor.  As with most of our recent Eagles in Troop 25, Jake is now age 18.  He took it to the limit, but he got it done before the end of the Centennial Year of Scouting.  With the support of his Dad and brothers, and the help of his fellow Scouts and friends he got it done.  We’re proud of them all.


p.s. Jake did his Eagle Leadership Project at Shetek Lutheran Ministries, a great place for community, family and youth programs across the lake from our own Camp Shetek.  Check ’em out online at:


Northern Tier, If You Dare

May 10, 2010

I’m heading up North this week, not quite to the Boundary Waters, but close enough I wish I was.

The long-time triple-play of Scouting High Adventure has been Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Seabase in Florida, and Northern Tier High Adventure Base in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, Ontario and Manitoba.  These are soon to be joined by “The Summit” (Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve) in West Virginia, but for now we do with what we have.

My only regret from my Scout days was not doing Philmont, but I brought back enough memories from Northern Tier to last a lifetime (so far anyway!).  We put in at Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base east of Ely, Minnesota.  The guys (and gals) at Northern Tier know what they are doing and they can do everything but get you in condition.

The Charles L. Sommers programs are ideally suited for novice canoeists, but offer challenging routes for experienced travelers as well.

You may choose to visit beautiful waterfalls, travel into remote country, find the best fishing locations, visit ancient pictographs, or experience a combination of all of these.

If your Troop or Crew is up for more of an adventure, check out Atikokan or Bissett up in Canada.  Our District Advancement Chair still talks about his trip years ago with a Scout who is now a Council Exec.  Set your sights high and you’ll never know what you can accomplish.

My Troop put in out of Sommers on Moose Lake and did a one-week loop.  The root beer lady was still there when we went (too many years ago) but you will find your own special memories among the crystal clear lakes and towering pines.  It’s a good time for a First Class Scout or a fitting capstone for newly-minted Eagles.

Reservations are open now for Summer 2011.


Tall Tales

January 27, 2010

Come one, come all!  Join us on the Cub Scouts’ Bear Trail, in the Country group, as we tackle Achievement 4, Tall Tales.

“What we mean by ‘tall tales’ in the Bear Handbook are stories, customs, songs, and sayings from our American past…. American folklore is told in stories and songs, some true and some told in a way to make the story better.”

Requirement 4a: Tell in your own words what folklore is. List some folklore stories, folk songs, or historical legends from your own state or part of the country.  Play the Folklore Match Game on page 48.

Who wouldn’t want to read or hear or sing about Bigfoot and the Pony Express, Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan and New Mexico’s Pecos Bill?

How about Rip Van Winkle, Hiawatha, Charlie Parkhurst (who?), the Lost Dutchman mine, Johnny Appleseed, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and John Henry?

What IS the story with Zorro and El Dorado?  Barbara Fitchie and Old Stormalong are new to me.  But I’ve heard many a tall tale starring Ichabod Crane, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, King Kamehameha, and Casey Jones.  Why, we’ve even got a trail here in Minnesota named after that brave engineer of the Old 638.

Requirement 4b: Name at least five stories about American folklore.  Point out on a United States map where they happened.

Requirement 4c: Read two folklore stories and tell your favorite one to your den.


After 100 years of Scouting, the founders of this great movement have also entered into the realm of folklore.  Scouting magazine this month has some great short profiles of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Daniel Carter Beard, Ernest Thompson Seton, William D. Boyce, Green Bar Bill and more of the men who have made Scouting what it is.  I hope that in the next Centennial our own Scouts live on among the stories of their sons and daughters.

Have fun, folks!


Update: Fixed the map. This post still gets many hits off Google search. If anybody has ideas, feel free to comment!

Scouting for Food Week Proclamation

October 18, 2009


WHEREAS, Hunger remains a pervasive intrusion on the quality of life for millions of Americans; and

WHEREAS, Hunger is a problem we can do something about by working together; and

WHEREAS, For more than 90 years the Boy Scouts of America has been an organization committed to community service; and

WHEREAS, The Scouting program instills the positive values of citizenship, ethical decision making, leadership and helping other people as outlined by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law; and

WHEREAS, The Sioux Council of the Boy Scouts of America and its corps of dedicated Scouts and volunteer leaders will coordinate with other groups to conduct a Scouting for Food on October 24, 2009, in this community and throughout the country in a positive example of its longstanding commitment to service of direct benefit to the less fortunate among us.




IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the official seal of the City of Slayton this 5th day of October, 2009