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,


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.

Messages 4/13/2019


Much as I would love to send out a nice, short email… we’ve just got too much going on to make that possible. So grab a cup of coffee and your calendar, and make notes of all the following.

There will be no Troop meeting this Thursday, April 18, due to Maundy/Holy Thursday services.


  • April 16: This Tuesday at 7:00, come join the Cubs of Pack 3301 as they hike in Manhattan Park. Share some Boy Scout awesomeness and recruit a few new kids to our Troop!
  • April 26-27: Camp Rota Kiwan and Aviation Merit Badge at the Kalamazoo Airzoo. Costs $28/scout and $15/adult chaperone. Bring a lunch for Saturday or extra money to buy junk food at the museum. Click here for more info.
  • May 17-19: Mark your calendars and sign up now for the Sleeping Bear Dunes outing. This one is a perennial favorite.
  • June 13-16: Hocking Hills Adventure! The votes are in, and the most popular activity choices are climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, and hiking. Alex O’Brien is double checking all the rules to be sure we are meeting BSA safety requirements. If you and/or your son are going, we will need BSA Health Forms (parts A, B, and C). If we have a health form from summer camp last year, it will cover this trip. If not, make that doctor’s appointment ASAP!
  • September 18ish-22: Mackinac Rendezvous, with a possible extra adventure to the UP. Registration info for this will be coming soon.

Summer Camp

  • The final payment of $180/scout ($155 for the second brother) is due April 25. Pay up before they start charging late fees!
  • There are also several boys who have not turned in their merit badge request forms. Please remind them to do so.

Service Projects

  • May 4: Mulching at Mayflower. Please come help our Chartered Org look beautiful! Bring gloves, rakes, shovels, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, push brooms, and leaf blowers (preferably gas powered or cordless).
  • June 21 & 22: Reed’s Lake Run. This is both a service project and a troop fundraiser. A lot of families already have vacation plans for this weekend, so if you’re not out of town, please prioritize this project!

Summer Camp Payment Dates

I know it’s hard right now even to believe that summer is a thing that exists. But it will be here before you know it, and if your son wants to go to Summer Camp at Gerber with Troop 271, here’s what you need to know:

When: July 14-20

How much: 

  • Total Cost is $330 ($305 for the younger brother, if you have more than one going to camp)
  • First Payment of $150 is due February 28
  • Final Payment of $180 is due April 25

You can turn in a check to LaVonne Carlson or John Mish at any meeting, or contact LaVonne to make other arrangements.

What: For those of you who are new to this, summer camp is a great time for the boys to hang out, build relationships, challenge themselves, and earn merit badges. We sleep in tents (or hammocks), shower occasionally, eat together in the mess hall (except on Wednesday–more on that later), and drink a lot of slushies. It’s a good time. We also need a few parents to join us, so if you’re interested in coming for some or all of the week, please let me know! Adults cost $160 for the week, and it’s pro-rated by the day for partial weeks.

The boys will be able to start signing up for merit badges in early March.

Also, please be aware that your son will need an annual physical before attending camp. Here is the link to the physical form. Be sure to have your son’s doctor fill out Part C!

If you have any questions or are interested in pursuing a “Scoutership” (scholarship), please let LaVonne or Erik know!

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?

Summer Adventure Plans

Greetings, Troop 271,

Thank you to everyone who came out for the Court of Honor on Thursday and participated in the discussion of what we should do with our summer.

Deciding on camping priorities

To recap: Our Scoutmaster has proposed that, instead of going to Gerber for summer camp as usual this year, we should consider creating our own summer trip. We set aside (for now) all discussion of where we would go and what we would do on our own, and focused more on simply deciding what, if anything, we want to do about summer camp.

Some of the key points that came up in the discussion included:

  • Creating a trip of our own would be an excellent opportunity to try something new and adventurous.
  • Camp Gerber’s programming hasn’t been as good in the last couple of years as it was in the past.
  • We would be able to choose which merit badges to work on, but the whole troop would be working on the same badges during the trip.
  • We would not have Eagle Quest for new scouts; however, older scouts could teach younger scouts most of the Eagle Quest skills.
  • There are other Scout camps in Michigan and throughout the US that we could try.
  • Gerber is dependent on regular campers for revenue; abandoning them this year may make programming even weaker in the future.
  • We would not be able to do OA ordeals on our own.
  • We don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other; we could try to do both.

As discussion progressed, five options for next summer emerged:

  1. Gerber as usual
  2. Choose our own adventure instead of Gerber
  3. Try a different Scout camp or BSA destination instead of Gerber
  4. Do both Gerber AND a weeklong adventure on our own
  5. Do “enhanced outings” (4-5 day trips over long weekends) during the spring and early summer, and go to Gerber in July

The boys’ decision

We put this to a vote among the boys by ranking their top three options, and they voted overwhelmingly in favor of continuing to go to Gerber while also having a new adventure. Their first preference is to do both Gerber and an additional weeklong outing in the early summer; second is to do Gerber and “enhanced outings” in the spring.

Adult response

So, adults, now it’s up to us! I’d love to see us pull off some bigger adventures, but either of these two options will require a lot of extra planning (and probably fundraising) to pull off. And, frankly, it’s going to need some folks who aren’t already on the Committee to step forward and be willing to spearhead the organization (with plenty of Committee support, of course).

Here are some of the tasks I would envision the Adventure Planners doing (this is a sketchy list, to be considered as a starting point):

  • By October 31:
    commit to being an Adventure Planner (we’ll need 2-3).
  • By November 30:
    decide whether to do a weeklong outing or several shorter outings; establish dates; make sure there is enough commitment to participate from both boys and adults to make the trip/s feasible.
  • By December 31:
    work with the boys to decide where we’re going and what we’re doing; create a cost estimate so we can determine what fundraising (if any) will be needed.
  • Starting January 2 (you can have New Year’s Day off):
    plan logistics: reservations for travel and lodging, food options, etc…

Act this month

First things first: please let me know by October 31 (sooner, if possible) if you are willing to be an Adventure Planner. Once we have at least a couple people in place for that, we can move on to the next steps.

On a personal note, I would like to say that I am pretty excited about this. Camping, exploring, trying new things and testing limits a bit is such a huge part of what Scouting is all about. I’m looking forward to what the troop comes up with!

In anticipation,

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.

Summer Camp: Important Final Details

Greetings, parents of summer campers,

I know this email is long, but please read it carefully and take the appropriate actions. It’s the price you pay for having us take your kid off your hands for a whole week. ?


  1. We will meet at Mayflower at 11:30am on Sunday to load trailers and finalize rides.
  2. We will meet at the back corner of the middle lot,as the upper lot is still closed for construction. Be advised that Mayflower’s service ends at 11:30, so please be careful and respectful of pedestrians in the lower lot as you go through it to get to the middle lot.
  3. Your son should be wearing his Class A uniform, and he should be wearing his swimsuit under his uniform pants.

Drivers: The following people are definitely planning to drive to camp. If your name isn’t on the list but you want to drive anyway, we won’t stop you. We may load you up with an extra scout or two, however.

  • Constant—pulling the white trailer
  • Cleves—pulling the red trailer
  • Dedenbach—following the trailers
  • Carlson
  • Keil
  • Morgan
  • Rhein
  • Stong

Medications: If your son takes any prescription meds, please pack them in their original containers in a Ziploc bag with clear dosage and timing instructions. This year, we are asking parents to hand their sons’ meds directly to our camp medical officer, Dave Morgan, before we leave on Sunday.

Health Forms: If you haven’t turned in your son’s health forms yet, BE SURE you bring two copies, including copies of your insurance card, on Sunday. If you’re not sure whether you’ve turned your health forms in yet, call Erik (214-9144) to double check.

Gear: Your son should have four major items ready to load into the trailer when he arrives at Mayflower on Sunday:

  1. Plastic bin containing his clothes and the bulk of his gear, with his towel packed on top. You can find a Gear Checklist here. Please label the bin with his name and Troop 271.
  2. Sleeping bag (or sheets and blanket) and pillow wrapped together in a plastic trash bag. Please label the bag with his name and Troop 271.
  3. Folding camp chair. Please label the chair with his name and Troop 271 (are you sensing a theme here?).
  4. Backpack, containing LUNCH for the way up to camp. Please label the pack with his name and Troop 271. The pack should also contain a water bottle, labeled with his name and Troop 271 (definitely a theme going on). (Note: backpacks will not be loaded into the trailer.)

Merit badges: If your son was at the meeting on Thursday, he should have received his merit badge schedule (don’t worry, I’ll bring another copy on Sunday). He can find more info about prerequisites, etc., on the Summer Camp 2018 section of the Troop website (

Did I miss anything? (Probably…) If you have any questions that aren’t covered in this email, please feel free to call me at 634-7322. Otherwise, I’ll see you on Sunday!


PS—Don’t forget to sign up to bring a dish to the Potluck on Wednesday!

Messages 6/2/2018

Greetings and salutations, good people of Troop 271!

It’s been a while since I’ve sent a massive update, and this one contains a lot of important information. Please read carefully (or at least skim all the headers) so your son doesn’t get left out of the fun!

BACKPACKING, June 15-17, Manistee River Trail.

The boys who were at scouts last Thursday were enthusiastic about the backpacking trip, but some of them were concerned because they didn’t have the needed gear. Don’t worry: between what’s available in the gear room and in the Van Liere’s attic, nobody should feel like their son can’t go backpacking due to a lack of gear. HOWEVER, I need to know by this Thursday, June 7, what you have and what we need to help you gain access to. There is a gear list attached to this email—please go over it carefully and let me know what you need.

I expect every person who is planning to go backpacking with us to have his pack fully ready (including food and water) on Thursday, June 14. We will inspect and weigh the packs and re-distribute items as needed. We discussed gear at last week’s meeting, and we will talk about food this week.

Let me repeat: Leadership needs to know by Thursday, June 7, what each person needs AND what each person has so that we can determine how much and what kind of gear we need to gather. I don’t want anyone to be unable to go due to lack of gear, but I will not spend Friday, June 14, finding you a pack because you didn’t let me know soon enough that you needed one.

TIE-DYING this Thursday, June 7

We will be tie-dying Scooby-Doo T-Shirts for camp this Thursday. Please have your son wear old, cruddy clothes and shoes, as the risk of stains will be high.


Thanks to everyone who responded with good ideas for parking the troop trailers during construction at Mayflower this summer. We have worked out an arrangement with the church in which we will just move the trailers from one lot to the other as construction progresses. If you are willing to be “on call” to move trailers this summer, please let me know!


So far, I have received health forms from ONE camper (thanks, Danny). You can find all the forms you need at Adults: don’t forget that the DHS Clearance Request takes some time. Now would be a good time to mail it in.


If you are in town on June 23, please make working at the Reed’s Lake Run a top priority! This is both a service project and a fundraiser for our troop, so we need all hands on deck.

Messages 4/28/18

Hi all,

A couple of very important messages:

First, there is a COURT OF HONOR this week on Thursday (May 3). Arrive at 6:15, dessert potluck starts at 6:30, program starts at 7:00. Please bring a dessert to share!

Second, SUMMER CAMP FINAL PAYMENT IS (PAST) DUE! I apologize for the confusion that resulted from my last email. To clarify: the total cost of summer camp is $330 (or $635 for two scouts from the same family). If you paid the $150 deposit in March (and didn’t pay the rest last week), you now owe $180 (or $335 for two siblings). Please bring your check to the Court of Honor on Thursday, or make other arrangements to get the payment to me ASAP.


Here are a few messages about interesting things going on at the Council level. Note: Troop 271 is not organizing/recruiting/registering for these activities. If your son wants to participate, please contact the person listed in the announcement details and/or register on your own.

Drone Day at GE: Because the Drone Day at GE was cancelled a couple weeks ago, they moved it to Sept 15. As a result of that, they have had some troops drop out due to scheduling conflicts. There are currently two openings available. If your son is interested, please contact Todd Powell ( before May 3.

The Wings Over Northern Michigan Airshow will take place June 16-17. FREE Boy Scout Campout (you bring food or purchase from vendors) and FREE entry into the event with two hours of service. Earn the aviation merit badge (when youth do the prerequisites). Details: Eric Clink (231) 675-2220. website

Troop 215 will be taking part in the unveiling of a new Roger B Chaffee statue on Saturday May 19. The organizer of this event would ideally like to have 100 boy scouts participate. The unveiling ceremony is 1-2pm. Scouts would gather around 11:30 or noon, encircle the statue, then clean up afterwards (police line). The organizer is getting pizza for the scouts. This takes place at veteran’s memorial park in Grand Rapids across from the Children’s Museum. Details: Bonnie Czuhajewski (616-466-6816).