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.



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.

Scrip Details for Troop 271

Hi all,

First, many thanks to Elissa Stong, who has set up a Scrip account for Troop 271. If you’re not familiar with Scrip, it is a way to purchase gift cards for all kinds of stuff, from groceries at Meijer or Family Fare, gas, home improvement projects, clothes… there is a link below to all the vendors who participate. Each vendor then contributes a percentage of your purchase to the Troop. 100% of the money you raise this way will go directly into your family’s “scout account.”

Keep reading for more details from Elissa about how this works.


We have started a scrip program for the troop with Shop With Scrip. You will need the Troop enrollment code to sign up, which you can get from this flyer.

You can also use this flyer to learn how to sign up for Presto Pay. We will only be using Scrip Now (electronic/paper cards), no Plastic cards, as of right now.. We might in the future do a plastic card order. But it is too expensive in shipping to do all of the time. Also, all payment must go through the Presto Pay process, no cash or checks. All rebates will go back towards your Scout’s Troop 271 Account. I can run a report monthly/quarterly and let John know how much to add to your account.

To create a Scrip account, go to Easy Fundraising for Every Organization | Scrip Gift Card Fundraising and click on JOIN A PROGRAM. Follow the steps that follow, name, address, phone, etc…

You will be prompted to enter the enrollment code.

If you already have an account, you can have access to both accounts. All you have to do is log into your account, click on Dashboard, click on manage Non Profits, click on Join Another Non Profit.

You will need to decide which one you want as your Default account. But, when you are placing your order, you can change your non profit at the top of the payment page.

If you have more questions, Please feel free to call Elissa Stong at 616-214-5389.

Court of Honor, October Outing Change, and Other Important Messages

Oh boy, it’s another giant email from your Committee Chair! I will try to be as brief as possible, but there’s a lot going on. Thanks in advance for reading to the end.

Court of Honor this Thursday, September 27. If your last name starts with A-M, please bring a main dish; otherwise please bring a dessert. Plan to gather at 6:00, start eating at 6:15, and begin the Court at 6:45. We have a lot of awards and rank advancements to celebrate! In addition, we will have a troop-wide discussion of whether to go back to Gerber or choose our own adventure next summer. See the parent meeting recap for more details.

Native Garden Planting service project at the Bunker Center, September 29 at 9:00am. This will count toward conservation hours, plus, they are feeding us! See the troop calendar or your Weekly Newsletter for more details. IMPORTANT: you need to register on this website in order to download a waiver and be counted toward lunch plans.

October outing change of plans! Last week, the boys voted to go to STEMQuest at Gerber for their October outing. This will be an awesome opportunity to play with underwater drones, see an inflatable planetarium, learn about non-circular gears, disassemble engines, and so much more!* (And also make progress on a number of merit badges, of course.) Space is limited (only 39 slots remain as of 9/23)! It only costs $10/boy, plus a nominal fee for camping at Gerber. For this event only, please email me at to register. I will register your son/s as soon as you email me, until registration closes.

Merit Badge Counselors needed. We are especially looking for counselors for the following: Emergency Preparedness, Cooking, Camping, Aviation, Chemistry, and Nuclear Science. Please contact Star Santiago at if you are interested in any of these. Not sure how to be a Merit Badge Counselor? Don’t worry, we’ll train you! (It’s not hard.)

Popcorn sales. If your son is doing take-order sales, the order sheet is due October 18. Also, there are still a few show-and-sell slots available.

Concession sales at Van Andel Arena. As discussed at the parent meeting, we are looking into participating in concession sales to raise funds for the troop (and the boys’ scout accounts). Several people showed interest in this at the meeting. It looks like we would need about 10-15 parents to commit to 3-5 evenings over the course of the year in order to make this work. We are planning to contact a couple of Packs to see if they would like to participate, as well. Please let me know via email at if you are interested, or if you want more details.

Finally, be sure to check the Troop Calendar to be sure you have all the upcoming Troop 271 awesomeness on your schedule!


*More about STEMQuest:

Attend STEMQuest and you can:

  • Work on merit badges
  • Experience hands-on STEM explorations
  • Earn BSA NOVA Awards
  • Work with STEM Partners
  • BSA Troops… you can camp out at Gerber the night before!! 

Just a preview of the hands-on activities planned:

  • Build a (ROV) Remote Operated Vehicle and launch it in the lake
  • Learn about simple machines on the climbing tower
  • Build your own fold-scope and find invasive species at Camp
  • Create 3-D printed creations in the Muskegon Community College Fab Lab .
  • Build Magformer Creations
  • Play Virtual reality games with the VR Guy
  • Make slime and shoot rockets with the Geek Group
  • Explore demos and engine models from General Motors
  • Experience the DTE Energy Wind Turbine

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers can work on 1-2 requirements throughout the day to earn advancements…but ALL YOUTH are invited to attend – you don’t have to be a BSA Member to experience STEMQuest!

We add features every day, but here are a few already on the list….

Merit Badges

  • Environmental Science, Electricity, Automotive Maintenance, Space Exploration, Aviation, Engineering

NOVA Awards

  • Out of this World, Whoosh!, Tech Talk,  Shoot!, Science Everywhere

Don’t miss out – Register today! Call or email LaVonne to sign up.


Parent Meeting Recap

Greetings, adults of Troop 271!

Thanks again to all of you who turned out for the parent meeting last week. It was good to see so many new faces, and to reconnect with some more familiar folks, too. The boys are planning an exciting year of scouting, and I look forward to working with all of you over the course of the year!

Below is a recap of some of the key points we covered at the meeting. If you weren’t there, please read it carefully. If you were there, please let me know if I forgot or misrepresented anything. ?

Please volunteer for something!!

Like anything else in life, the more you put into Scouting, the more you’ll get out of it (and the more your son will get out of it). Thanks to Colleen Cleves signing up to be the Outing Coordinator, most of our key committee positions are filled. (We could still use a Recruitment Coordinator, though—talk to me if you’re interested.)

There are a lot of ways you can help out with varying degrees of commitment. Our Scoutmaster issued a challenge to parents to participate in at least one outing during the year. You can take that to the next level by signing up as an Outing Planner for one or more campouts, too. You can also be a Merit Badge Counselor—you don’t have to be an expert in the field, you just need to be willing to guide the boys a bit as they learn. And we always need parents who are willing to just come and hang out at meetings: we often need adults to sit on Boards of Review, to provide two-deep leadership in the gear room, or just to be present during activities when the Scoutmaster is doing a Scoutmaster conference.

Not sure what all of these things mean, or what they involve? I am planning to hold a parent orientation session in early October (date TBA). This will be ideal for parents who are new to the troop, but will be a great refresher for some of you old hands, as well. (As requested, we will take some time to review the various forms of technology the troop employs.)

Dues and Fundraising.

Dues this year are $110 per Scout, and are due September 30. This covers the basic individual costs, such as BSA registration, insurance, merit badges and other patches, etc., and a $25 donation to Friends of Scouting. The popcorn sales commitment this year is $350 per Scout in sales, or $120 “direct donation” to the troop payable by November 30.

You can get more information about dues and popcorn on this sheet. You can also sign up online for group Show and Sells.

The Troop Committee is also looking into some other fundraising opportunities to help defray the cost of Scouting (and possibly to help fund a bigger adventure). Stay tuned for more details as they emerge!

Questions about dues may be directed to our Treasurer, John Mish, Questions about popcorn may be directed to our Popcorn Kernel, Tom Sykes, at

Summer Adventure Possibilities.

Our Scoutmaster has proposed the possibility of, instead of going to Gerber Scout Reservation next summer, developing and going on a Troop 271 adventure. A couple of proposed ideas include a trip to the Badlands, a trip to the Upper Peninsula, or whitewater rafting in Virginia. At the parent meeting, we discussed some of the pros and cons of skipping summer camp in favor of doing our own thing. There are points in favor of either approach.

I would like to submit that, ultimately, the boys should choose which option they prefer. However, if they choose their own adventure, we will need *additional* adult support to organize, plan, and participate in the adventure. We will have a full troop discussion and vote on this question at next week’s Court of Honor. Please talk this over with your son and think about how much time you are willing and able to invest in order to make an adventure a success!

Thanks for reading to the end! Please remember to go to Remington Field instead of Mayflower tomorrow, unless it’s raining. Sign up for this weekend’s outing through your Weekly Newsletter, and plan to help Dan Delano out with his Eagle project. Next week’s Court of Honor will be a potluck starting at 6:00: A-N bring a main dish; O-Z bring a dessert.

Popcorn Final Orders Due and other messages

Good morning! (or evening, or whatever time you’re reading this post…) Here are some important messages from Troop 271.

POPCORN FINAL ORDERS AND RETURNS ARE DUE THIS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26! If you have popcorn checked out and you do not return it by Thursday, you will be responsible for paying for it (whether you manage to sell it to someone else or not). If you cannot make it to the meeting on Thursday, please contact Alison Lovell to make alternate arrangements for orders and returns (

We still have plenty of volunteer opportunities available. It’s as true for parents as it is for Scouts:  the more you put into scouting, the more you’ll get out of it. Do you like working hands-on with the boys? Talk to Erik about becoming an ASM, or talk to Star about counseling a merit badge or two. Would you prefer a job that mostly involves sending emails and making phone calls? Talk to LaVonne about serving as the recruitment coordinator. Is there something that you think should be happening in the troop, but isn’t? Talk to any of the leaders and we’ll gladly help you start it!

Don’t forget to check the Troop Calendar for upcoming events, and don’t forget that you can request login permission to the Troop Website to gain access to all kinds of useful forms, documents, and a searchable archive of all these messages! (Just click the Join us link.)

The next Committee meeting is this Thursday, October 26. All parent and adults of Troop 271 are welcome to attend. The agenda will be:

Approval of Minutes from the last meeting

Scoutmaster Report

Treasurer’s Report and Popcorn Update

Service Project Update

Outing Coordinator’s Update

Roundtable Report

General Messages 10/6/17

Howdy, parents of Troop 271, here are some messages for you:

• Group show & sell times are full! If you still want to do a group show & sell, contact Alison Lovell ( and ask her if she can reserve a time for you at Woodland Mall.
• If you are planning to sell on your own, please keep in mind that the FINAL DATE FOR ORDERS AND RETURNS is OCTOBER 26.
• If you are planning to do the popcorn “buyout,” your payment of $120/scout is due OCTOBER 26.
• If you have not yet done so, please let me know whether you are planning to sell popcorn, do the buyout, or a combination of the two. You can find more details here.

The Fall Court of Honor is next Thursday, October 12 at 6:00. We will have a potluck dinner. If your last name starts with A-E, bring a main dish; F-R, bring a side dish; S-Z, bring a dessert.

Upcoming dates. For more details, please see the Troop Calendar:
• October 7: Ethan Dedenbach’s Eagle Project
• October 8: Andrew Morgan’s Eagle Project
• October 12: Court of Honor
• October 16: Ethan Dedenbach’s Eagle Project
• October 19: PLC/Greenbar at 6:00
• October 20-22: Youth Leadership Training outing in Lowell (all youth are welcome to attend). Please sign up ASAP if your son wants to go.
• October 26: Committee Meeting
• October 27-29: Haunted Forest outing at Rota-Kiwan Scout Reservation near Kalamazoo
• November 4: Conservation Service Project
• November 10-12: Thanksgiving Outing (?)


I Say POP! (you say corn)

First, a huge THANK YOU to Alison Lovell (Gehrig’s mom, for those of you who don’t know) for courageously taking on the role of Popcorn Kernel! If you were at the meeting on Thursday, this message is a summary of information you already know—just skim to the Important Dates part. If you weren’t at the meeting, please read this carefully and feel free to ask questions.

The per scout popcorn sales commitment this year is as follows:

Popcorn Sale Cash Supplement
$350 (or 3 group Show & Sells*)
$250 (or 2 group Show & Sells*) $35.00
$125 (or 1 group Show & Sell*) $80.00
No sales $120.00

*based on projected sales of $250 per Show & Sell

You can fulfill your fundraising requirement in several different ways:

  • Simply pay $120 cash
  • Participate in group Show & Sells (see this signup sheet)
  • Do individual take-order sales (we’ll have sales sheets available at the meeting next Thursday)
  • Do individual Show & Sells (contact Alison at to make arrangements)
  • Any combination of the above

Please keep careful records of your sales, including online sales! We will make every effort to keep good records, but we can’t guarantee that no mistakes will be made.

NEW THIS YEAR! If your scout sells more than $350 worth of popcorn, 34% of the extra sales will go into his “scout account,” to be used for his Troop activities. So, for example, if your scout sells $800 worth of popcorn, he will receive 34% of $450, or $153, in his account. (total sales – $350) * 0.34 = amount added to scout account


This Saturday, September 16: Next order due to Council. If you plan to do individual Show & Sells, please let Alison know and give her a rough estimate of what you would like her to order for you. (See below for details of what is available this year.)

October 26: Final returns. If you do not return any unsold popcorn in your possession by this date, you will be responsible for full payment to the troop. And we will hound you for it, believe me.

October 26: Final orders due. If you have done take order sales, you need to turn in your sheets to Alison by this date so she can place the order for you. And don’t forget to mark the prize/s your son wants!

NEW THIS YEAR: Reload/Return Wednesdays. Alison will go each Wednesday as necessary to gain additional product for show and sells and at anyone’s request. They don’t have all product available there, but they have most of it.  Please let Alison know at least 3 days in advance what you would need so that she can call in advance if necessary.

And finally, here is the product that is available this year:

  • Chocolate Lovers Collection – $60
  • Cheese Lovers Collection – $30
  • Salted Caramel (tin) – $30
  • Chocolatey Caramel Crunch – $25
  • Premium Caramel Corn – $20
  • Unbelievable Butter – $20
  • White Cheddar – $15
  • Classic Caramel Corn – $10
  • Popping Corn – $10

Any questions? Please contact Alison at for clarification and details. And don’t forget to get your Show & Sell orders in ASAP!



9/11 Salute, Parent Meeting, Popcorn & More


I warned you, did I not, that September would start with a bang! Here’s what you need to know this week:

9/11 Salute at the Ford Museum, Monday at 6:00pm. 6:00-6:30 is our “official” troop time, but you can go any time from dawn to dusk. Just make sure you let Erik and/or LaVonne know you were there so they get you on the list of people to receive the cool patch.

PLC/Greenbar meeting, Thursday at 6:00pm. All boys who are currently in leadership positions need to be there.

All parent meeting, Thursday at 7:00pm. We’ll discuss POPCORN, this year’s outings, and more. Be there or forfeit your right to complain.

First Popcorn Group Show & Sell, Saturday, various times. Sign up now for your favorite slot at this link!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know.