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 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*               

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.

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!

Messages 3/10/2019

As we all (should) know, Mayflower is unavailable to us this week due to IHN. Shawn May has kindly offered to open up Seymour Church, at 840 Alger St SE, to us on Thursday. PLC/Greenbar will meet at 6:00, followed by a regular troop meeting at 7:00. See you at Seymour!

The next camping trip will be next weekend, March 15-17, at Three Huts on a Cliff (near Muskegon). This is a great outing for our cold-weather-adverse adults to join us on, as there are indoor sleeping options available. So far, we only have 7 scouts committed—please sign up if you’re planning to come (use the link in your Weekly Newsletter or reply to this email). We’ll be learning and practicing semaphore, enjoying spectacular views, and singing songs around the campfire (or not).

The next service project will be the IHN teardown next Sunday at 8:30am at Mayflower. If you aren’t camping, you should be serving!

The next Court of Honor is March 21. Mark your calendars and get ready to eat fabulous desserts and celebrate all that our boys have accomplished since the fall.

Summer Camp merit badge registration forms will be coming home this week. Please help your son/s choose wisely (but make sure they some fun, too). If it’s your son’s first time at Gerber, please talk to one of the adult leaders for information about Eagle Quest and other merit badge issues to consider.

Adventure planning continues to progress. Keep your eyes open soon for a signup sheet for various activities, so we can begin to narrow our options.

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.

Messages 11/2/18


It’s November already (how did that happen?), and we have an exciting month of cooking, camping, and service lined up for the troop. Here’s what’s coming up:

November 3: Max’s final (we hope) Eagle Project workday.
Meet at Whistle Stop Preschool at 2:00pm to do some painting.

November 9-11: Thanksgiving Campout.
WE NEED ADULTS TO HELP COOK TURKEYS FOR THIS! If you’ve never cooked a turkey outdoors before, don’t worry—John Mish is an expert and will give you good supervision. We will also need someone to help keep the boys on track so the turkey and sides are ready at the same time (3:00pm). Let John ( know if you can come at 11:00 or so to help with the food.

We need an accurate count of how many people (scouts and adults) to expect for this outing. Please sign up by Wednesday, November 7, through your Weekly Newsletter, or (if you must) by RSVPing to me. Be sure to note if you plan to camp or only come for the food.

November 8: PLC/Greenbar.
If your son is in leadership, he should arrive at Mayflower at 6:00. Pizza will be served.

November 11: Veteran’s Day Service at St. Stephen’s Church.
Scouts in uniform are welcome to help honor veterans at St. Stephen’s Church during and after the 10:30 Mass. You don’t have to be Catholic to participate!

November 15: Committee Meeting.
All parents are welcome. Committee members should arrive at Mayflower at 6:00.

November 17: Thanksgiving Food Baskets.
We will load food baskets from St. Stephen’s Church into vehicles for distribution to the needy. Time TBD. (They traditionally provide doughnuts for us at this service project, btw.)

Gear alert!! If you haven’t discovered Hiker Direct yet, now is a great time to do so. They sell high quality gear at ridiculous discounts to Boy Scouts. Right now, their Starter Kits are on sale—a great combination of everything your scout will need to get started car camping or backpacking. Check out the flyer, and then go to the Sales Page to get started shopping. (Visit the Order Page to get started setting up your account so you can take advantage of Scout discounts.)

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.