Messages 9/6/2020

Hello, parent-folk of Troop 271,

Well, it’s time for another long missive from your Committee Chair (I’m sure you’ve missed getting them over the last few months). I hope you’re all nice and relaxed this holiday weekend and have time to read the whole thing carefully.


We had a great turnout for our fundraising discussion last week. Here’s what we decided:

  • Popcorn. We will sell popcorn via take-order and website only. Take-order forms are attached, and I will have some printed copies available at the next few meetings. For online sales, visit the Trail’s End website. If you’re new to selling popcorn or want more information, please reach out to Tim Stong or LaVonne Carlson.
  • Key Cards. Barb Caputo has a lead on selling Key Cards, which are similar but superior to Entertainment Books. It sounds like the Key Card sales could complement popcorn sales really nicely. We’ll get more info about those out to you soon.
  • Can Drive. It seems like nobody wants to return their own cans these days, and a lot of student-type groups are making good money off of can drives. We are looking into some details and tentatively planning a drive in early October.
  • Scrip. Don’t forget that you can order scrip and get money in your scout account from things you buy. See here for more details and to get started.


The 9/11 Community Day of Remembrance is going virtual this year. The event will be Live Streamed on the Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum’s Facebook page all day. There will be several live components throughout the day, such as the ringing of the bells, as well as some afternoon and evening speakers. In order to uphold the tradition of saluting from sunrise to sunset we are asking for submissions of videos and pictures of scouts and community members saluting the flag to share throughout the day. There are two ways to submit those videos and pictures:

  • Directly through Facebook in the discussion portion of the event, or
  • Via email to Please submit as an attachment directly to the email and not by sharing a link. Note: Please submit pictures with the file type .jpeg or .png and videos with file type .mp4 and .mov

If you would like to receive a commemorative patch for this event, please register for a time slot. This registration is open to ANYONE and is not limited to Scouts and Leaders.  Please register for a time slot and we will attempt to share your submissions live during that time.

If you have any questions please contact Luke Kelley at


With things as up in the air as they have been lately, we did not attempt to schedule a full year of outings. We did make (tentative) plans through December, however.

  • September 18-20: Fly Fishing in Baldwin, MI. Stay tuned for campsite details.
  • October 16-18: Backpacking on the Manistee River Trail. We’ll start talking gear at meetings in late September.
  • November 13-15: Modified Thanksgiving Feast at Yankee Springs.
  • December 5: City Hike (probably in Grand Rapids, unless it is possible to go farther afield by then).

Note that campouts will be different this year in two major ways:

  1. Only one boy per tent, unless the boys live in the same household. If we don’t have enough tents to accommodate all our boys under these conditions, we will consider allowing a boy to tent with a parent.
  2. Boys will cook for themselves or in family units. We will limit or eliminate sharing of food and utensils, and spread cooking out over several fires or campstoves as needed for good social distancing.


Our service coordinators are working hard to find outdoor and conservation-related projects that fit with our troop schedule. We are likely to be working with Grand Rapids parks on some park or trail maintenance. Stay tuned for more details.


Mayflower is still working out their principles and procedures for reopening. As long as they are closed and weather permits, we will meet outdoors. In inclement weather, we are exploring some other possible options. Watch your email for last minute updates about meeting locations!


I am working to restore, and will post our Covid-19 updates and other info there as soon as I can. If you’re in the habit of pointing prospective new scouts to our website, please let them know that it will be back up ASAP.


Meanwhile, if you haven’t joined our private Facebook group, Troop 271 Grand Rapids, please do! It’s a great place to get event updates, fun photos, and occasional articles of interest to our troop.

Wow, thanks for making it all the way to the end of this email. As always, if you have questions, comments, or snide remarks, please feel free to send them to me at or 616.634.7322.



Messages 8/24/2020

Hi, scouts and parents of Troop 271,

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m ready to start returning to (something similar to) normal. Let’s talk Scouting!

We will have an all-troop planning meeting this Thursday, August 27 at 7:00 pm at Manhattan Park. All scouts and at least one parent per family should attend. We will discuss the following:

  • Changes this year due to COVID-19 (yeah, we’re not completely back to normal). This will include holding meetings outdoors as long as possible — so bring any creative ideas for outdoor locations you may have.
  • Outing plans for fall/early winter. Since the world is still in flux, it seems unwise to try to plan much past December. We also want to gauge the troop’s comfort level with overnight camping and shared cooking/meals. We will do our best to be creative and flexible and try to find options that fit with everyone’s comfort levels.

So bring your calendars, your camp chairs, and your Covid waivers (if you haven’t already filled them out). And as always, bring your best ideas for fun things to do this year!

See you Thursday,

Mrs Carlson

PS — The Committee will meet at 6:30 to discuss troop finances. (If you don’t know if you’re on the committee, you’re not on the committee. But all parents and adults are always welcome to attend committee meetings, so if you’re interested please feel free to join us!)

Questions, comments, and snide remarks may be directed to LaVonne Carlson,, 616.634.7322.

Summer Camp is Cancelled – What Now?

Well, it’s been a weird spring and no mistake. I’m guessing you know by now that summer camp has been cancelled. We’re all disappointed, but the safety of our boys comes first.

Having said that, we are in the early stages of exploring some possible fun that we can have as a troop during the third week of July. Options may include a partial week of camping, a few days of “day camp”, or maybe a backpacking trip or other adventure. We will, of course, follow BSA and local government guidelines. But beyond that, we’d like to hear from the parents of the troop about what you think you might be comfortable with sending your boys to. Please let me know if you have any thoughts on the subject.

The good news about camp being cancelled is that we will get a refund. Council will cut a check to the Troop, and then we will disburse the money back to you. Also, if we register now for summer 2021 we can be guaranteed this year’s price for next year’s camp. We are planning to do that, so


I know we are all looking forward to getting back to normal. Our Zoom troop meetings have been better than nothing, but it’s not really scouts without a rousing game of Capture the Flag every now and then. Especially for our younger scouts who have (understandably) not been participating as much online, we’re really hoping to see you all this summer and into the fall.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions. I haven’t been great at keeping up with email lately, so if I don’t respond quickly feel free to text me at 616.634.7322.

All the best,


Activities During Suspension of Meetings

Please note that we are acting to preserve the health and safety of our Scout families and our community by canceling all Scouting gatherings (meetings, committee meetings, greenbars, religious emblem meetings, service projects, and camping events) until at least 12 April 2020. This is not only to allow us to avoid spreading disease, but much more importantly it allows us to minimize the risk of hospital-required injuries (car accidents, falls, tick-bites, etc.) that would put you in a possibly overwhelmed hospital system. 

Please take this time to work as a family on your merit badges such as E-Prep or reading. Go online to locate the workbooks for various badges and start a few and simply fill out the workbooks to the best of your ability. You can contact Mr. O’Brien or Mr. Hillary at to help you contact (via phone/email) a meritbadge counselor to assist you. See the list below for a good place to get started.

Younger scouts can use this as an opportunity to work through their physical fitness points for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class or to earn their CyberChip or many other items. Pitch a tent in the back yard and camp with your family – if you do Mr. O’Brien will count that as a night of camping to make up for the lost March camping trip so long as you cook and sleep outside and do not use electronics for anything beyond pictures. 

Do your good-turn every day by helping your parents more than you usually would – this is a great opportunity to work on that cooking merit badge or cooking rank requirement! 

Be creative, work on your advancements, and if you are in doubt if a task will count towards advancement please do it anyway and then email Mr. O’Brien or Mr. Hillary at and we will help find a way to have it count! This is a special opportunity for Scouts and families alike to bond and grow, so take advantage of it!

Mr. O’Brien

Here is a list of some merit badges that can be completed at home. As you read requirements ask yourself: did I already do this for school since joining Troop 271? Do my parents know a person that meets any of the interview requirements? (Remember interviews are easily done via phone, as long as a parent or other adult can listen in to meet two-deep leadership requirements.)





Traffic Safety (especially for Scouts nearing or at driving age):

Dog Care:




Home Repairs:

American Heritage:





Scouting Heritage:


Crime Prevention:

Digital Technology:

Signs Signals And Codes:


COVID-19 Plan

Greetings, Troop 271,

Unless this is the first email you have opened after returning from an extended, remote backpacking trip, you’re probably heard plenty about the coronavirus / COVID-19. Our troop plan is currently to continue meeting until one (or more) of the following happens:

  • Our local council recommends that troops suspend meetings
  • Local high and/or middle schools begin closing
  • Our local government recommends that groups of our size suspend meetings

We will be sure to keep you updated if/when we decide to cancel regular troop meetings or outings.

Meanwhile, please use common sense! If you have reason to believe that someone in your family has been exposed to coronavirus, stay home. If someone in your family is sick, stay home. And if you are simply worried and don’t want to risk additional exposure, feel free to stay home. 🙂

Otherwise, see you tonight.

Mrs. Carlson

Messages 1/26/2020

Greetings, intrepid adults of Troop 271,

Wow, 2020 has gotten off to a busy start! First, I want to thank all of you who came out for the merit badge catch-up night last week. It was a huge success: there were 12 merit badges completed, the new scouts finished ⅔ of the requirements for Scout rank, and I believe one scout finished his Eagle project plan. There has been talk about making these catch-up nights a regular part of our troop activities.

And also, major kudos to those who came to the IHN service project on Sunday. I hear you went above and beyond the advertised need! I am so proud to be part of a troop that will take on an extra service project to help out our community.

A point of business: last fall, we planned the troop outings through February. Now that we should all have our spring schedule fairly well worked out, it’s time to plan dates for our spring outings. Keep an eye open for a Doodle Poll from Colleen Cleves to start the date selection process. Not sure what a Doodle Poll is? That would be a great question to bring up at the meeting on Thursday!

And now, an annotated schedule of upcoming events:

Thursday, 1/30: All Parent Meeting
We will start the meeting promptly at 7:00 with some general discussion about the troop’s current state of affairs, and we’ll talk about SUMMER CAMP. Then we will break into two groups: 1) an orientation session for our newer parents (this includes anyone with a scout below Star rank); and 2) a walkthrough of the Eagle process for parents of Star and Life scouts, led by our Life to Eagle Coach, Todd Powell.

Saturday, 2/8, 8:00-12:00: Service Project — Easttown Pancake Breakfast
This project doesn’t involve carrying heavy mattresses, and it does include eating pancakes and sausage. But don’t let that stop you from coming! Sign up for a two hour slot, or participate in the full four hours. See the Weekly Newsletter for more details.

Thursday, 2/20: Summer Camp Down Payment Due
$180/scout is due at this time
Total payment of $160/adult/week (or $33/adult/day) is also due
Checks may be hand delivered to LaVonne Carlson or John Mish at the meeting, or mailed to John Mish, 493 Arrowhead Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

Sunday, 2/23, 11:30am: Service Project — IHN/Family Promise Setup
This is our regularly scheduled IHN (n/k/a Family Promise) setup at Mayflower.

Thursday, 2/27, 6:30pm: Court of Honor, Location TBD
The merit badge catch-up night should have helped a lot of scouts get closer to their next rank. Ask your son what he needs to do to finish up, and encourage him to do it! We’ll have a potluck dinner to start the evening.

Saturday, 2/29: Outing to Cannonsburg
Spend Leap Day with the troop having fun in the snow! I, personally, am excited to try the new tubing runs they have this year.

Sunday, 3/1, 8:15am: Service Project — IHN/Family Promise Take Down
This is our regularly scheduled IHN (n/k/a Family Promise) take down at Mayflower.

Questions, comments, and snide remarks may be directed to LaVonne Carlson, 616.634.7322.

Messages 01/10/2020

The holidays are over, and you know what that means — it’s time to start thinking about SUMMER CAMP!!

But first, a few important announcements.

Mark your calendars now for an all parent meeting on January 31 at 7:00 at Mayflower (during the regular meeting time). We have a number of new families to initiate welcome into the troop, and it’s a good time for us more seasoned folks to reconnect and catch up on troop business. Please make sure at least one parent from each family is there.

We have had a request for some IHN help from a different church on January 26 at 8:00 am. East Congregational Church has found themselves shorthanded for their next rotation, and have asked if we can pitch in. Since this is outside our usual service scope, please email John Mish ( if you are willing to help out with this.

If you are a merit badge counselor for ANY merit badge, please come to the catch-up night on January 23. The idea is to get as many counselors as possible into one place at one time, so boys can show up and finish up those last outstanding requirements. We’ll also make sure there are people to help the younger boys with their advancement requirements.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Muskegon State Park outing on January 17-19. If there is snow, we’ll do winter sports. If not, we’ll find lots of other fun stuff to do! If you’re new to scouting and feeling a bit intimidated by the thought of camping in January — don’t be. Feel free to ask questions, and we’ll make sure you have the gear you need to stay warm. Please email Colleen Cleves at* if your son (and/or you) wants to attend. (You don’t have to stay for the whole weekend; come for as much time as you can.)

*Note that this is a new email address for Colleen. Don’t just grab the address that’s stored in your email!

And now, all about SUMMER CAMP:

If you’re a new family and your son hasn’t gone to summer camp before, I can’t stress strongly enough how important camp is as part of the scouting experience. When we ask kids what their favorite part of scouting is, summer camp is the most frequent answer. It’s a chance to play hard, work hard, earn a TON of merit badges (it’s a huge leg up on the Eagle process), learn a lot, and bond with fellow troop members. I highly encourage you to prioritize scout camp among your summer plans. (We will also need a few parents to attend for some or all of the week.)

Location: Gerber Scout Reservation, about an hour north of here — check out this video for an idea of what it’s like.

Dates: July 19-25

Cost: $330 total*
$180 due February 20
$150 due March 26

* The second sibling in a family gets a $25 discount. If cost is an issue, please let me know. The troop has resources to help you out. We never want cost to be a barrier to scouting experiences.

(tl;dr summary of upcoming events)

January 17-19: Camping at Muskegon State Park. RSVP to Colleen Cleves ( NOTE THAT THIS IS A NEW EMAIL ADDRESS.

January 23: Merit Badge and Advancement catch-up day. Please plan to attend the meeting if you are a merit badge counselor (for any badge).

January 26: IHN at East Congregational Church. RSVP to John Mish (

January 31: All Parent Meeting during the regular troop meeting. Please make sure at least one parent from every family attends.

February 20: Summer Camp down payment of $180 due.

March 26: Summer Camp final payment of $150 due.

Dues Increase and Other Messages


There will be no regular meeting this week, due to Halloween. But since you’re free on Thursday, you should all come to Jay’s Eagle Project on Wednesday, from 3:30-7:00, at the Bunker Center/Calvin Ecopreserve. (See Jay’s email for more info—the project will continue on Saturday and Sunday.)

For those who didn’t know, Ben Bridge had knee surgery this week. He’s in a big brace, and will be on crutches for a while. Send him your thoughts and prayers for a quick and complete recovery!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for Kid’s Food Basket by October 31. We will serve there in place of our meeting on November 7. If the slots are all full, just add your name to the waiting list—there will be plenty for everyone to do.

And finally, an important message from our treasurer, John Mish:

Every year the troop establishes our dues by reviewing past years’ costs for troop activities and factoring in insurance and registration fees paid to the national Scouts BSA and the Michigan Crossroads Council. This year the troop set the dues at $125 in early September.   

Unfortunately, in late September we learned that the national Scouts BSA registration fees and insurance costs would increase. Last week, we received an email confirming that the cost per Scout will increase by $27 and the cost per adult will increase by $15 for the 2019-20 Scouting year. These unexpected increases would result in about a $1,000 shortfall for our troop.

The troop committee met and decided we needed to explain the situation to you and ask you to pay the additional fees by Nov. 15 so that the troop will have sufficient funds to pay our re-charter fee when it is due in early December.

The two options are:

  1. Pay the additional $27 per scout, plus $15 per adult (if applicable)  OR
  2. Contact the treasurer ( and request that the additional fees be deducted from your Scout account if available.

We apologize for the change in dues; we did not foresee this increase in fees. Even with the increase, we believe our annual dues represent a good value for the quality program Troop 271 provides for Scouts. We thank you for your understanding and continued support of our troop.

Following is the formula we use for calculating dues, including the increases (marked by an asterisk).

Scouts  (assume 26 scouts)                          Was                                       Now

Annual Registration – National                    $33.00                                   $60.00*

Boys’ Life                                                             $12.00                                   $12.00

Michigan Crossroad Insurance                    $12.00                                   $12.00

Unit Liability Fee                                              $1.00                                     $1.00

Charter Fee                                                         $1.54 ($40/26)                   $2.31 ($60/26)*

Friends of Scouting                                          $25.00                                   $25.00

Merit Badges (10 per year @$3 each)      $30.00                                   $30.00  

Rank Emblem (1 per year)                            $3.00                                     $3.00

Total                                                                      $117.54                                 $145.31


Annual Registration – National                    $33.00                                   $36.00*

Background check and Scouting magazine                                             $12.00*                Total                                                                      $33.00                                   $48.00*               

2019 Popcorn Info

A message from our Popcorn Kernel, Tim Stong.

After their first $350 in sales, Scouts will earn 34% toward their personal troop expenses (campouts, etc.) for Take Orders and Take and Sell and 35% on all Online Sales. 

Take Orders

  • Take order forms can be turned in at the Oct 17th troop meeting and no later than the Thursday, Oct 24th troop meeting. 
  • Tim will take all money collected up front if available.
  • Tim has extra forms if needed, or you can download/print additional forms.
  • Final popcorn pickup will be the weekend of Nov 8-10th.
  • All deliveries and collected money are due by Nov 21st.

Take and Sell

  • You are welcome to arrange pick up at Tim’s house or pick up at troop meetings (if coordinated in advance). 
  • Tim’s address is 2731 Schindler Dr NW, GR, MI. This form will be used to document all popcorn check out/in.
  • To ensure I have accurate inventory for our final order, all unsold take and sell items need to be returned at Oct 17th troop meeting.
  • Funds collected for take and sell will be collected with take order forms.

Show and Sell (Booth Sales)

  • Sign up for Show and Sell here.
  • Booth Sales will take total sales divided by total hours worked to get an hourly rate. This rate will be multiplied by hours worked to determine each scout’s Booth Sales total, which will be added to take order and take and sell sales to determine 34% earnings. 
  • Donations will also be split on a per hour basis for each scout.
  • Any scout who works a 2-hour shift (or greater) without another scout will get credit for 3 hours instead of 2. Hopefully, we can fill all times with 2 scouts, but working by yourself is significantly harder and will be rewarded.

Online Sales

Setup is easy, and you can find a setup video here.


Tim is working on prizes for top two sellers for the troop. Additionally, there will be prizes for selling $350, $750 and $1000 levels. More info to follow.

Check out this website for selling tips, training videos and sales materials

If you have any questions, email Tim Stong at or call 616-541-3524.

Messages 8/13/2019

Wow, where did the summer go? I hope you all had a great one! But now it’s time to start thinking about the best part of the year: Scouting!

We will have our annual Outing Planning Meeting next Thursday, August 22, from 6:00-8:00 at Manhattan Park (430 Manhattan Rd, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506). The troop will provide hot dogs; please bring a side dish or dessert to share.

By now, you should have received a Doodle poll asking you to select dates for a few outings. We are attempting this method to help us organize outing dates around people’s schedules, so hopefully more boys can participate! At the meeting on Thursday, we’ll decide where we want to go on the dates we select, so come ready with fun ideas!

Our September outing is already set, of course: it’s a Mackinac Rendezvous year! Mac Rendezvous will be September 20-22. This is a really fun time and a great outing to join in on! 

Also, there has been some talk about leaving a day early to spend Friday hiking up at Tahquamenon Falls. (Yes, you would have to take your son out of school for a day.) We’d like to start getting a head count, so please let Colleen Cleves ( know if you are planning to go to Mac Rendezvous with the troop, and if you want to do the extra day at Tahquamenon.

In case you were wondering, the first official Troop 271 meeting will be September 5 at 7:00 at Mayflower Church. I look forward to seeing you there!

And while you’ve got your calendar out, please make note of the 9/11 Salute on September 11. We’ll set a loose time for the troop to participate, but you can go to the Ford Museum any time from sunup to sunset to join in this day of remembrance.