Messages 1/25/2019


I hope you all enjoyed your holiday with no emails from me. To make up for it, this one will be long—but as always, the more you read, the more you know.

The February outing date has been changed to February 1-3. Since we weren’t able to use our Pigeon Creek reservation in January, we have moved that outing’s activities to February (and had to take the dates that were available). Please let me know by Monday, January 28, if your son wants to go. We will be cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and possibly even building snow caves!

  • Summer Camp is closer than you think. It may seem hard to believe, but it’s already time to put a deposit down on our spots at Gerber. We generally assume that most boys will come to camp, but please let me know ASAP if your son is not planning to come this year. The dates are July 14-20.
  • Accounting email coming soon. Our treasurer has been hard at work to bring our troop accounting up to date. Keep your eyes open for an email telling you how your scout accounts stand.
  • Next Service Project: Eastown Pancake Breakfast on February 8. You can work from 8-10 or 10-12 (or do all 4 hours if you really want to), and eat pancakes! Please sign up through the Weekly Newsletter so we know how many to expect for each shift.

I also want to say a word of thanks to the people who have stepped up to counsel merit badges over the last couple of months. Chemistry is pretty much done (just make sure your son has finished getting his blue card signed off), Emergency Preparedness is going strong, and we will start Communications next week. Also, if your son is doing Personal Management, check in with him to be sure he’s tracking all the stuff he should be tracking!

Finally, a word about girls and Troop 271:

As we all know by now, the BSA has decided to allow girls to join the newly renamed “Scouts BSA.” The intent behind this was never to create co-ed troops; all boy and girl troops must have separate youth leadership and separate Scoutmasters. However, girl and boy troops are allowed to share some resources, such as meeting space and Troop Committees.

Although the Committee of Troop 271 is generally happy to see girls gaining access to the same awesome Scouting program we all love, we feel that it is currently in our best interest to keep our focus on our boy troop. We feel that trying to charter a second troop out of our Committee would spread our resources too thin to allow us to provide an excellent program to either boys or girls. Therefore, at this time, we have no intention of trying to establish a girl troop at Mayflower.

Please feel free to contact Erik, me, or any committee member if you have any questions about this or anything else Scouting related.


PS—to the person or people who are doing the snow dance: Go You!! Keep up the great work! However, maybe you could petition the weather gods for slightly higher temperatures for next weekend?

Messages 12/02/18

Season’s Greetings!

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Christmas caroling today. It was a lot of fun, and the Sisters really seemed to enjoy it.

Here is what you need to know about troop activities for December:


  • December 6: we will hold a brief Court of Honor at the beginning of the meeting. If your son is advancing in rank, please come to celebrate his progress! (no need to bring food this time.) Then, during the regular part of the meeting, we will start working on Chemistry or Emergency Preparedness.
  • December 13: regular meeting, continuing with Chemistry and E Prep. There will be a PLC/Greenbar meeting at 6:00.
  • December 20: Game Night! Bring your favorite board or card game (you know John will have a cribbage set) and come have fun. We may also have a Christmas movie playing, so send your suggestions in if you have a favorite. There will be a Committee meeting at 6:00.
  • We will not meet on December 27 or January 3.

Outing: Chicago City Hike, next Saturday December 8

  • Meet at Mayflower at 6:00 am, take the train from Michigan City to Chicago, “hike” around the city with stops at the Lego Store, the Christkindlemarkt, Navy Pier, and of course, Giordano’s Pizza.
  • Send your kids with $15 for the train, $10 for pizza, and whatever spending money they want to bring (and you want to allow). This is a great time for them to do their Christmas shopping!
  • Return to Grand Rapids around 9:00 pm.
  • Please sign up for this ASAP through your Weekly Newsletter!

Service Project:

  • Christmas Baskets at St Stephen’s
  • Saturday December 22 at 8:45 am
  • Get more details and sign up through your Weekly Newsletter.

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.


Summer Camp Deposit and YPT

Hi all,

A couple of VERY IMPORTANT announcements:

First, SUMMER CAMP DEPOSITS ARE DUE THIS THURSDAY. If your son/s are planning to go to summer camp this year (and I hope they all are), I need confirmation and $150/scout by March 1. If you can’t make it to the meeting on Thursday, feel free to mail me a check (made out to BSA Troop 271, mailed to LaVonne Carlson, 1719 Woodcliff Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506), or call me to make other arrangements (616.634.7322).

Second, the BSA has updated their YOUTH PROTECTION TRAINING, and everyone is required to re-take it.

Why? Because having strong policies that are consistently enforced is one of the best ways to prevent abuse from happening.

Who? Anyone age 18 or older who participates in Scouting. If you camp, drive boys to camp, lead merit badges, hang out at meetings… basically, if you get close enough to a Scout to sneeze on him, you need to do this training.

When? As soon as possible, but definitely before the next time you participate in an overnight event. July 15 is the latest deadline for our troop.

How? Go to and login, then click on the grey and red circle that says YOUth protection begins with YOU. After that, follow the instructions on the screen. The training takes about an hour. When you have completed it, be sure to print the certificate or save it as a PDF and send it to Tom O’Brien (

Then, while I have your attention, here are a few more messages:

I just received word that Mayflower is NOT planning to host IHN this rotation, so you can take that service project off your calendars. Stay tuned for Plan B… and keep Drew Crowley’s Eagle Project dates in mind (the next three Saturdays from 10-12 at St Stephens Gym).

Merit Badges for March will include Citizenship in the Community, led by Dave Morgan, and Game Design, led by Todd Powell. In the works for April are Wood Carving and Wilderness Survival.

The next outing will be March 16-18 at The Huts, the Rheins’ (beautiful) cottage on Lake Michigan. Adults can stay indoors. Sign up early to reserve the comfy beds!

Eagle Projects & MB @ Ford Museum

Greetings, Scouts and Adults of Troop 271,

As promised, here are some more details about some of last night’s messages.

  • Ethan Dedenbach’s Eagle Project work tomorrow (Saturday the 14th) will be at his mother’s house, not at Marywood. Please show up at 638 Gladstone Dr SE at 9:30 am (unless you’re selling popcorn at that time).
  • Andrew Morgan’s Eagle Project work will continue on Sunday the 15th at 1:00 pm at 2447 Berwyck SE.
  • There will be a Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge day at the Ford Museum on December 2. Boy Scouts will complete steps 1, 2c, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. Scouts will explore the new Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and learn important lessons of character and leadership taught through the example of President (and Eagle Scout!) Gerald R. Ford. Cost is $6.00 and includes lunch ($4.00 for adults). You can find more information on the Troop Facebook page, and you can register at this link.
  • And don’t forget to sign up for the Haunted Woods outing, October 27-29, through the link in your Weekly Newsletter!