Salute to Scouting
July 2020

This periodical communication seeks to highlight the great Scouters and chartered organization who call the Black Swamp Area Council home. Within this publication, you will find great stories about Scouting youth, Scouting leaders, and the organizations who enable these young men and women to do their best.

Family Motivates Local Scout Forward

Zachary Robinette from Troop 342 in Findlay, Ohio, has a pretty big goal before he becomes an Eagle Scout. He is working hard to earn 70 merit badges by the time he is done. Right now, he has 48 merit badges earned and he has been participating in many of the online courses. Zachary said the reason he is working so hard and set such a high goal is because he believes he can make it happen and his adopted older brother Zak Koehler, also an Eagle Scout himself challenged Zachary to earn more than he earned.

This goal he has set for himself has allowed for many memorable experiences, and even aided in him finding a future career path. While earning his Welding merit badge he realized that welding could be a career he could enjoy.  It also provided him with a connection with his Great Grandpa Jack.  His Great grandpa was a welder in the Navy during the Korean War, and later turned it into his career after the service.   Zachary's favorite Scouting memory came from when he earned his ATV Merit Badge while at Camp Berry. He shared with us" They were zooming around the trail and everyone was supposed to turn, but I went straight! HI then had to reverse and turn around to get back to the trail, leading to some extra take-home from the trek. “I was covered in mud from head to boots that day.”

While working towards this goal Zachary will be working towards earning his Eagle Scout rank.  For Zachary’s Eagle Project he is restoring the 1901 Fire Department Bell Tower in Wharton, his home town. The old building was torn down in 2017, but the Bell Tower remains. He has been working with his stepdad who is on the fire department and they plan on fixing the old tower as well as putting up a flagpole at the new Fire Station and Trustee building. 

Zachary will be attending Millstream Career Center in the fall for their welding program. After graduation Zachary plans on attending the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology and pursuing a career. He would also like to join the Volunteer Fire Department in Wharton.

Chinquapin District Virtual Pinewood Derby

After months of planning and designing their cars and delays and rescheduling because of COVID-19 restrictions, Scouts in Northwest Ohio finally got the chance to race their cars and compete for best of show in early June at the Chinquapin District Virtual Pinewood Derby.

Volunteers from Pack 75 began planning the event in January and acted quickly to turn the traditional in-person race day into a virtual live-feed competition. With help from district leaders and a local Life Scout’s technology savvy, production of the race was sent to Facebook live, then archived and uploaded to YouTube for later viewing.

To enter the Pinewood Derby, participants are given a block of wood to shape, sand and paint into the car of their own design and race them down a gravity-powered track. A computerized finish line and program keeps track of brackets, winners and even miles per hour.

“The fun of the derby is race day, but the magic of the derby is the journey and experience of kids interacting with family and adults to put their personality and effort into their own accomplishment of a completely unique race car,” said Senior District Executive, Erika Dutcher.

Race Coordinator, Paul Frank II added, “It teaches them responsibility because they have to work on their cars and follow the design rules if they want their car to pass inspection and race.”

Scouts only race against others in their grade level, or rank, creating five race heats and five sets of trophies for first, second and third place. Best of Show entrants sent in pictures of their cars and judges from the community were sent the images to vote for their favorites. First, second and third place best in show also received trophies.

For many parents, the best part of the derby is watching the kids’ faces as their car races and when they jump up and down after winning a heat. That challenge was solved by producing a live race where families could watch together, and Scouts still had that same excitement even though the race was virtual (see photo).

Congratulations go out to all the winners. Announcements of the winners and their hometown can be found here

Photo cutline

EVAN HAYES/ The Courier Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 319 led by Luke Casselman (second from left) salute as an American flag is retired during Sunday's flag retirement ceremony at the Veteran's Memorial on North Main and Center streets. Troop 319 and Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus held the ceremony together to retire multiple flags for Flag Day.

 'A Nice Day to Day to Retire a Flag' 

Written by Evan Hayes, Staff Writer/The Courier

Members of both Scouts BSA Troop 319 and the Knights of Columbus held a flag retirement ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Veteran's Memorial on North Main and Center streets.

Traditionally a part of the Troop's summer camp schedule, the ceremony moved downtown as part of a collaborative effort between Tom Streacker, Faithful Navigator of the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Assembly 839, and Troop 319's Luke Casselman, 13.

The two planned the ceremony for Flag Day, even more appropriate for Flag City U.S.A. The group used the memorial site's fire pit, built by 2018 Eagle Scout Grant Schroeder.

"One of the reasons we chose today was because it's Flag Day," said Casselman, Star Scout and coordinator of the ceremony. "It's a nice day to retire a flag." Casselman coordinated the project to fulfill a service requirement for his Life Scout rank.

The solemn ceremony gave old, worn flags donated by the community an honorable end. A troop color guard proceeded in with the U.S. and Troop flags to begin the ceremony, followed by a procession of Fourth Degree Knight s.

The flag is an honored symbol of a nation's unity, it's hopes, achievements, glory, and high resolve," Streacker said as Scouts stood at attention. 'The flag of the United States of America is such a symbol … of freedoms bravely fought for and hardily won ... of protection under the Constitution of the rights and privileges of all Americans ... of promises of fulfillment of all of their hopes and principles and ideals."

The first flag the group retired previously flew above the Knights of Columbus hall. Troop 319 Scoutmaster Tom Ramge led the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance, a final sign of reverence for the old flag.

Scouts then held up the flag while Casselman cut it into smaller pieces, separating the stars from the stripes. With that the flag became a piece of cloth, and Casselman laid the pieces reverently on the fire one by one.

Each piece was saluted and given a moment of silence. Scouts and members of the Knights of Columbus then continued to retire additional flags. The remaining ashes were to be disposed of honorably.

Troop 319 traditionally burns hundreds of flags during their annual summer camp. These flags are collected throughout the year from the community. Despite camp being canceled due to COVID-19, Scouts in attendance held the same high level of reverence during the ceremony.

"I feel like no matter where you are, you're still representing the flag when you're doing it," said Justin Schiefer, a Troop 319 Life Scout. "When I do it, I think this a pretty honorable moment that you're allowed to represent our colors of the flag."

Ramge and Streacker were Scouts in Troop 319 together as boys, and both hope the ceremony continues to teach the importance of honoring the country's national symbol to the next generation of Americans.

"What this is all about is basically these guys," said Ramge, motioning to young Scouts gathered around him. "We know what respecting the flag means, but these guys have to learn it."

Streacker hopes the event can continue for future years, and that the troop and Knights of Columbus can continue to collaborate.

“I was kind of hoping that this could be an event we could do every year. And the reason is that it does kind of join the two organizations."

Those looking to retire old, worn out flags should contact the Troop or local AMVETS post. For more information about Troop 319, visit the Findlay Troop 319 Boy Scouts Facebook page.