Happy Memorial Day

The image above is called “Coming Home” and is today’s Google.com banner. It was created by Sabrina Brady, a teenager from Wisconsin, who won Google’s “Best Day Ever” design contest (click on picture for the full story).

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!  May we remember those who’ve paid the ultimate price on behalf of their country (and keep in mind those still serving far away from their families).

Don’t forget to sign up for Summer Camp

Just a reminder sign up for 2013 Summer Camp!

Here’s a copy of Mr. Getman’s earlier email about summer camp this year:

———

Time to start looking at Summer Camp for 2013. Yes, I know that we just had a burst of winter here this weekend, but Summer Camp is right around the corner! Warn weather, swimming, great food and great scouting events!

Please read the attached document carefully and bring your questions to the next Troop Meeting. We will have a sign up at the next meeting at the Church.  Please be sure to sign up!

Also we are encouraging Scouts to start saving or earning money at home to help your parents pay for camp.

Important Info

Camp Dates: 7/7/2013 to 7/13/2013
Approximate cost (will provide a final cost when we can determine answers to our incentive questions): $350 *
Check the date on your annual physical form and ensure you have one that covers the week at camp. If not, be sure to get your annual physical.

More info here: Troop 45 SUMMER CAMP INFORMATION 2013

* Twin Rivers Council provides limited Camperships for scouts who could not otherwise afford to go to summer camp.  More info at http://www.trcscouting.org/News/campership2013  and the application form is also in the Library section of this website. 

Advancement Meeting Wednesday

Troop 45 Scouts,

Though there is no regular troop meeting this week, we are planning to have a meeting Wednesday for scouts that want to work on advancement. We are hoping to have some Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters available to help you. 

Scouts, if you are interested, please send me an email as soon as possible to indicate what it is you are looking to work on.

We are double checking to make sure that we have the Fellowship Hall available on Wednesday. If there is an issue with that I will send an email cancelling this meeting. Otherwise it will be from 7:00-8:30pm.

– Mr. Lacey

Community News Covers Troop 45 Participation in Fourth of July Parade

Troop 45 float canoe was a crowd pleaser and caught the eye of the Community News.

The July 13, 2012 edition of the Community News had a front page article on Clifton Park’s Fourth of July celebrations, which included three photos of Troop 45.  If you missed the paper edition, it’s online here: Community News article.  As the piece says “…the Clifton Park Parade is a great example of small-town friendliness…[and] a love fest between those on the sidewalks and those going by.”

July 4th: Appreciating our Freedom – A Story

[The Fourth of July is a celebration of our nation’s birth. But it’s also a chance to reflect on the great fortune we all have to be Americans, and to appreciate the freedoms we all enjoy under our Constitution.

Among those is the freedom to assemble in peaceful groups and the freedom to associate with whoever we want. 

Imagine if you lived in a country where you didn’t have those freedoms. Where it was illegal to be a Boy Scout, and your troop was banned from ever meeting together.

That’s exactly what Svante Prochazka had to deal with – not once, but twice!

Mr. Prochazka was born in Czechoslovakia and grew up in a family interested in Scouting. His father translated the writings of Ernest Thompson Seton, one of the pioneers of Boy Scouts, into Czech. 

But shortly after young Svante became a Scout, his country was occupied by the Nazis, and Scouting was banned. At the end of World War II, Boy Scouts was allowed again briefly, only to be outlawed a second time when the Soviet Union took over Czechoslovakia.

He eventually emigrated from Czechoslovakia to the United States, where he became a successful scientist and inventor, helping develop special materials used in U.S. missile systems.

Troop 45 met Mr. Prochazka at the Coburg Village Flag Ceremony in 2011, and he spoke again at this year’s event about the history of Scouting.

The story below is his description of the brief window of freedom Boy Scouts had in his country.]

Becoming a Boy-Scout Leader

by Svante Prochazka

Mr. Svante Prochazka at the 2012 Coburg Village Flag Ceremony

A day in early June, 66 years ago, the phone rang in our home in Prague. My mother told me that a man with an unfamiliar name was asking to talk to me.

It was only a few weeks after the end of World War II. The whole country was still in turmoil, but people were happy that the 5 years of the NAZI occupation of Czechoslovakia had finally come to an end, with relatively little bloodshed and destruction of the city. The lilacs, dogwood, locust and chestnut trees were in bloom, and people milled around in the streets doing their business and enjoying the day.

A familiar voice introduced himself and said that Boy-Scouts Group 18 was being revived. The group had become dormant during the German occupation, as the Germans were suspicious of any social assembling and had disbanded them. The original club space would be available eventually, he said, but it was not ready for a meeting.

“We have to meet this weekend and shall do it in the open,” continued my former troop leader, whom I had not seen since I was a 10 year old Cub Scout. “Take a bus on Saturday to Štĕchovice, and, at the terminal, take the road up-hill, walk for two kilometers and take the small dirt road to the left. There will be familiar signs that shall guide you to our meeting place in a clearing in the woods. Take a sleeping bag and all you plan to eat. There should be several of you. See you there…”

I took the bus with 5 of my friends and we arrived at our destination later in the afternoon. Emerging from the forest, we found a clearing with tents and a group of about 20 people in lively conversation. There was a great hubbub of welcoming, embracing, guessing forgotten names and recalling funny stories from our prior camping life.

Our camp leader eventually brought the socializing to a close, saying “Now everybody find himself a place to sleep and hurry into the woods to collect wood for the camp fire before it’s dark.” Shortly a pile of dry sticks grew near the fireplace bordered by stones. The small smoldering fire , now well fed by dry spruce and pine branches, soon leapt several feet high and attracted the whole crowd to form a circle around the flames. Everyone enjoyed the warmth of the crackling sparking fire. The flames dancing against the darkness exerted an irresistible and mysterious power that seemed to join us all together.

The night was cold, as early Spring nights can be. My home-made sleeping bag, sewn from scrounged around materials offered only mediocre protection against the chill. But one short cold night? No problem.

I was among several others who sat around the ashes of the campfire at dawn. Some leftover wood and few puffs of breath into the embers ignited the fire in no time. Our tea was ready shortly following the blush of dawn. What a pleasure!

Speaking with Troop 45 leaders

After a while Eda, the senior troop leader, emerged from the tent, asked for a cup of tea and sat with us, silently sipping the morning delicacy. When he finished he tapped my shoulder and asked me to come with him to his tent. I followed him and he gestured me to sit down on an improvised seat. He began to speak, not letting me say so much as “good morning.”

“Svante, this gathering is all work to bring back the Boy-Scout Movement in our country and we need you, “ he said. “I know you well, you will serve. There is no time left. I talk now almost daily with young boys and kids who come to my office to ask when they may enroll. These are great kids, who really want to become members. We have to get them for their sakes and ours.”

He paused for a few moments. I took a deep breath to say something, but my words did not come fast enough, and he continued: “You will be a leader of the group of BEAVERS, and will lead a group of 12 boys, between 13 and 15 years of age. Most are already registered. You were a Boy-Scout for two years before the war, and you do not need much instruction. However we shall make some available. Do come next Thursday to the old club rooms and meet your new Scouts!”

I finally gathered strength to answer. “Brother, I thank you for your trust. However, I’ll be a senior at high school next year and have to get ready for my finals. There is so much work ahead, so much lost ground to be made up for after the war years. I am afraid to waste any time.”

He smiled at me, and said the words that would link me to a group of my best friends for the rest of my life. “What you’ll do for the group will be anything but a waste of time. I was a teacher in high school for many years; you will do well in both assignments.”

Mr. Prochazka giving a presentation on the history of Scouting

The boys I met and guided through the following years became my best friends. The Beavers started a chain of adventures in hiking, skiing, canoeing, socializing, marrying and supporting one another through the tough times of the Communist regime.

[Svante Prochazka continues to be a proud supporter of Scouting, and still gathers annually with his friends and former troop mates, now scattered around the world.]