Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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The purpose of Boy Scouting is to develop in a young man the ability to do things for himself and for others, to train him in outdoor skills, and to teach him patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues. (BSA 18-629WB)

The Manatee District Roundtables are held the first Thursday of each month (Sept-Jun) at:

The Salvation Army
5328 24th St. E., Bradenton
7:00 p.m.

View the Manatee District and SWFL Calendar for upcoming events, training opportunities, etc.

Southwest Florida Council Website

Click Here to Follow The Manatee Rambler blog as well to receive email updates.

September 20 - SWFL Council Hurricane Irma Recovery

Dear Scouters -

We know that right now many are struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma trying to return to normalcy as soon as possible. Our prayers are with each of you and your families and hope you were spared from harm's way and are safe. Our communities have been affected to varying degrees across the seven county Southwest Florida Council region.

Today (9/19), we are reaching out to the Scouting Family to provide information as to the status of council operations and how you may assist in recovery if able. Linked Here you will find an initial recovery plan outlining Camp Operations - School Night Recruitment - Popcorn Sale - District and Council Meetings - Events. The plan will be updated on the council website as appropriate once Internet service is restored. (Currently we have only limited remote service, but anticipate full restoration by in the morning).

We continue to hear many positive stories of how Scout skills and the Scouting Spirit are abound with many acts of selfless service being demonstrated in the "Helping of Others" in our communities by our Scouts and volunteers. In this difficult time, please know the Scouting family stand ready to help you as you begin the road to recovery.

Best regards,

Greg Graham
Scout Executive
Southwest Florida Council

September 15 - 2017 First Aid Meet Canceled

Scouts and Scouters,

Due to some complications that have come up, the 2017 First Aid Meet has been canceled. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your continued work with this program and our youth.

James Warrick

September 13 - Cub Friendship Hike put on hold (and more)


I hope that all is well with you and your families following the passing of Hurricane Irma. I have seen postings on Facebook from many of you and have seen the issues you have been having to deal with. Some are minor, others more severe, but, overall, everyone came out without serious casualties or loss of life. It could have been much worse.

Hopefully, your scouting skills provided you with a bit more confidence than your neighbors. It has come to my attention that some of you have friends and neighbors that were actually a bit envious of the fact that you could have hot coffee and meals even though you lost power. It’s amazing how much difference having a camp stove and non-perishable, freeze-dried food can make.

Please note that both Camp Flying Eagle and Camp Miles will be closed to all activities for the foreseeable future until assessments of damage and debris cleanup can be made. This includes unit camping as well as district and council events. In particular, please make sure that any Cub Scout families that may have registered for the Friendship Hike scheduled for Saturday, September 16th are informed that it has been canceled for now. Should it be re-scheduled for a later date, you will receive information. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this stressful time.

Your scouting family is here to help. If you are in need of anything, please contact me and I will do my best to find the right person(s) and/or equipment.

Yours in scouting and friendship,
Mac Aldrich

September 6 - Southwest Florida Council Hurricane Closing


Senior Executive Greg Graham has called for cancellation of all scouting activities in SWFC planned for this weekend starting today, Wednesday, September 6. This includes our Roundtable meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening. Those of you who included an email address as part of your adult registration should be receiving the directive from the council service center sometime later today.

Hurricane Irma poses a significant threat to our state regardless of which path it eventually takes and we understand the need for time to adequately prepare for its impact. Please take this storm seriously and Be Prepared.

District Executive Brandon Cicco also asked me to tell you that Cub Scout recruitment efforts for this week are being halted as of today and will resume at a later time following the passing of the storm.

The Manatee County School District will issue a statement regarding any closures in the near future. Bear in mind that even if the hurricane does not directly impact our area physically our school facilities may have to be opened as shelters for surrounding communities that are.

Let’s hope and pray that Irma changes course such that its impact to our county is minimal.

Yours in Scouting,
Mac Aldrich

September 1 - Introducing the New Member Coordinator Position

"Sustaining strong membership in a unit depends not only on having new members join the unit, but also on engaging youth and their families in the unit experiences so that they feel Welcomed and want to stay. The role of the New Member Coordinator is to ensure that both keys to success take place." -- ScoutingWire.com

Continue reading and to learn more about the New Member Coordinator Position and how it can help Your unit at: http://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/councils/new-member-coordinator/

August 28 - Upcoming Training Opportunities


There are many training opportunities coming up soon, from basic to advanced training. For a list of the Manatee District Adult Leader Training Schedule, Click Here. All of the training information that you need can be found on our Training page.

August 25 - Passing of a Loved One

Marion R. Thielen, mother of our own Jim Thielen, passed away on August 18th. Services will be held on Saturday, September 30th, 2017 at 10:00 am, at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church (833 Magellan Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243).

For more information, you can read her obituary in Thursday’s edition of the Bradenton Herald at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bradenton/obituary.aspx?n=marion-r-thielen&pid=186453006&fhid=8472

August 23 - Update - Manatee District First Aid Meet

With much regret, I need to inform you that parts of our event in September have had to be canceled.

The 2017 Manatee District First Aid Meet will still happen on September 30th. The event will have First Responder on Saturday morning from 8am to 11am. The Boy Scout First Aid Meet will be from 1pm to 5:30pm. The AHA CPR/First Aid Class will be from 8am to 4:30pm.

We will no longer be offering Crime Prevention, Fire Safety, Safety, and Search and Rescue. There will also no longer be any camping and lunch will only be provided for those in the CPR/First Aid Class. Lunch for all others will be from 11 to noon.

If you have any questions, please contact me.
Thank you
James Warrick

Manatee District First Aid Meet

August 8 - Manatee District First Responder Challenge

Manatee District First Responder Challenge

Choose what you to do for the weekend:

  • Compete in the First Aid Meet
  • Attend the American Heart Association CPR/First Aid Class
  • Earn the Webelos First Responder Activity Badge
  • Earn the following Merit Badges:
    • Crime Prevention MB, Fire Safety MB and Safety MB or
    • Search & Rescue MB

For all of the information and details, Click Here to view the flyer.

James Warrick

August 7 - Marauders Fan Appreciation Night

Marauders Fan Appreciation Night

August 6 - Roundtable Schedule for 2017-2018

August 1 - Program Kick-Off


It’s hard to believe, but summer is coming to an end and along with the return to school, a new Scouting Year is just over the horizon.

Are you and your unit leaders ready for all of the events, activities, and training opportunities to be had?

Come the Manatee District Program Kick-Off this coming Thursday, August 3rd, starting at 7:00 p.m. and make sure.

The evening will begin with an opening Flag ceremony by the Oscen Tustenuggee Order of the Arrow chapter, followed by brief comments from the Key 3 (plus 1), and a round-robin session to meet with coordinators promoting their special activities and events. Once you've had an opportunity to collect all of the information being shared, you will be able to take it back to your respective unit committees to establish your calendars for the year.

Door prizes will be offered and there will be other incentives offered to get you to visit as many of the promotional booths as possible.

All unit leaders, parents, C.O.R.’s, and Executive Officers are encouraged to attend.

All of this will take place at the Salvation Army Worship Center Gymnasium on SR-70 (53rd Ave.) across from the Post Office.

Hope to see everyone there! In case you missed the video the first time around...

Mac Aldrich

July 31 - Manatee District Popcorn Sale and Training

It’s that time of year again! Our Annual Trail's End Popcorn Sale is just around the corner!

This year’s sale is planned to be even bigger and better! Check out the dates on the 2017 Unit Commitment Form to see when your District Popcorn Kick-Off is scheduled.

Manatee District Popcorn Kickoff will be held on Saturday, August 12th at CFE, beginning at 9am.

Once again this year we will be offering Show N Sell Products in addition to the Take-Order program to supplement your unit sale with additional income potential.

Unit Show & Sell Product orders are due to the council office no later Friday, August 18th by 12:00 pm. Please see the 2017 Unit Commitment Form for details.

July 23 - Reminder of August Roundtable/Program Kickoff on Thursday, August 3rd

Attention Scouters and unregistered parents,

This is to remind you that the August Roundtable will be devoted in its entirety to presenting information concerning the 2017-2018 Program Kickoff.

Information concerning every event, be it training, activities, camping, advancement, membership, finance, OA activities, or district/council meetings, will be presented and available for your units. In addition there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions and receive answers about those events.

The Roundtable is scheduled for 3 August from 7:00pm - 8:30pm at the Salvation Army Center 5328 24th St. E (SR 70, just west of 301).

Mac Aldridge has developed an excellent YouTube video for you to view:

This is the most important Roundtable of the entire year. Everyone should make an effort to attend in orders to gather important information you need for planning your and your Scout(s) calendars for the coming 12 months.

Red Dog
Scout Mentor
Take some boys camping and let Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water forge them a more moral compass

July 22 - Jim Thielen and Mac Aldrich Meet Secretary of State

While serving as members of the 2017 National Jamboree Ice Team, the only Food Staff group consisting of members of a single OA lodge, they happened to be in the right place at the right time. On Friday, July 21st, Mr. Rex Tillerson and entourage visited the STEM program area. Mac and Jim were fortunate enough to be in one of the first exhibits he toured. They were able to trade a couple of patches with him and have their photo taken.

Later in the day, they listened to the Secretary give a speech during the unveiling of a bronze statue in his likeness located at the Summit Center.

The opening show is scheduled for Saturday, July 22nd, and the musical act is Imagine Dragons.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to make an appearance on Monday, July 24th.

The Jamboree ends on Friday, July 28th.

Mac Aldrich

June 29 - “Good Turn for America” Community Service

The first half of the year is almost gone. If you haven’t entered your unit’s service hours yet, now is a great time to do that.

America is a nation built on service. From barn raisings to soup kitchens, ordinary Americans have always made an extraordinary difference in the lives of their neighbors and in their communities by lending a helping hand. Today, America needs the service of its citizens more than ever. The Boy Scouts of America believes that we can do something about these issues if we work together. That's why we've have the Journey to Excellence Community Service Project Hours Unit Objective. It is important for our community to know that Scouting is indeed about community service and for units and Scouts to be recognized for their accomplishments and service.

Thank you for your service!

May 28 - Things You May Not Know

Memorial Day

For nearly 150 years, Americans have gathered in late spring to honor the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in service to their country. What began with dozens of informal commemorations of those killed in the Civil War has grown to become one of the nation's most solemn and hallowed holidays. From its earliest incarnation as “Decoration Day” to its modern-day observances, here are some surprising facts about the history of Memorial Day.

1. Memorial Day and its traditions may have ancient roots.
While the first commemorative events weren't held in the United States until the 19th century, the practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance for loved ones (including soldiers) each year, festooning their graves with flowers and holding public festivals and feasts in their honor. In Athens, public funerals for fallen soldiers were held after each battle, with the remains of the dead on display for public mourning before a funeral procession took them to their internment in the Kerameikos, one of the city’s most prestigious cemeteries. One of the first known public tributes to war dead was in 431 B.C., when the Athenian general and statesman Pericles delivered a funeral oration praising the sacrifice and valor of those killed in the Peloponnesian War—a speech that some have compared in tone to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

2. One of the earliest commemorations was organized by recently freed slaves.
As the Civil War neared its end, thousands of Union soldiers, held as prisoners of war, were herded into a series of hastily assembled camps in Charleston, South Carolina. Conditions at one camp, a former racetrack near the city’s Citadel, were so bad that more than 250 prisoners died from disease or exposure, and were buried in a mass grave behind the track’s grandstand. Three weeks after the Confederate surrender, an unusual procession entered the former camp: On May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops (including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry) and a handful of white Charlestonians, gathered in the camp to consecrate a new, proper burial site for the Union dead. The group sang hymns, gave readings and distributed flowers around the cemetery, which they dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

3. The holiday’s “founder” had a long and distinguished career.
In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War. On Decoration Day, as Logan dubbed it, Americans should lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” According to legend, Logan chose May 30 because it was a rare day that didn't fall on the anniversary of a Civil War battle, though some historians believe the date was selected to ensure that flowers across the country would be in full bloom. After the war Logan, who had served as a U.S. congressman before resigning to rejoin the army, returned to his political career, eventually serving in both the House and Senate and was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for vice president in 1884. When he died two years later, Logan’s body laid in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, making him one of just 33 people to have received the honor. Today, Washington, D.C.’s Logan Circle and several townships across the country are named in honor of this champion of veterans and those killed in battle.

4. Logan probably adapted the idea from earlier events in the South.
Even before the war ended, women’s groups across much of the South were gathering informally to decorate the graves of Confederate dead. In April 1886, the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia resolved to commemorate the fallen once a year—a decision that seems to have influenced John Logan to follow suit, according to his own wife. However, southern commemorations were rarely held on one standard day, with observations differing by state and spread out across much of the spring and early summer. It’s a tradition that continues today: Nine southern states officially recognize a Confederate Memorial Day, with events held on Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ birthday, the day on which General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was killed, or to commemorate other symbolic events.

5. It didn't become a federal holiday until 1971.
American’s embraced the notion of “Decoration Day” immediately. That first year, more than 27 states held some sort of ceremony, with more than 5,000 people in attendance at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890, every former state of the Union had adopted it as an official holiday. But for more than 50 years, the holiday was used to commemorate those killed just in the Civil War, not in any other American conflict. It wasn't until America’s entry into World War I that the tradition was expanded to include those killed in all wars, and Memorial Day was not officially recognized nationwide until the 1970s, with America deeply embroiled in the Vietnam War.

6. It was a long road from Decoration Day to an official Memorial Day.
Although the term Memorial Day was used beginning in the 1880s, the holiday was officially known as Decoration Day for more than a century, when it was changed by federal law. Four years later, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 finally went into effect, moving Memorial Day from its traditional observance on May 30 (regardless of the day of the week), to a set day—the last Monday in May. The move has not been without controversy, though. Veterans groups, concerned that more Americans associate the holiday with first long weekend of the summer and not its intended purpose to honor the nation’s war dead, continue to lobby for a return to the May 30 observances. For more than 20 years, their cause was championed by Hawaiian Senator—and decorated World War II veteran—Daniel Inouye, who until his 2012 death reintroduced legislation in support of the change at the start of every Congressional term.

7. More than 20 towns claim to be the holiday’s “birthplace”—but only one has federal recognition.
For almost as long as there’s been a holiday, there’s been a rivalry about who celebrated it first. Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, bases its claim on an 1864 gathering of women to mourn those recently killed at Gettysburg. In Carbondale, Illinois, they’re certain that they were first, thanks to an 1866 parade led, in part, by John Logan who two years later would lead the charge for an official holiday. There are even two dueling Columbus challengers (one in Mississippi, the other in Georgia) who have battled it out for Memorial Day supremacy for decades. Only one town, however, has received the official seal of approval from the U.S. government. In 1966, 100 years after the town of Waterloo, New York, shuttered its businesses and took to the streets for the first of many continuous, community-wide celebrations, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation, recently passed by the U.S. Congress, declaring the tiny upstate village the “official” birthplace of Memorial Day.

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of participating with Manatee’s own T10 as they departed at 0645 hours to go the The Sarasota National Cemetery to place small American Flags on the gravestones of those who are entombed there. I saw Cubs from Pack 776 from Two Rivers District there, but no other visible Scouts. Many elderly citizens as well as American Legion Post 159 were also there. Together, all of us, recognized and honored over 11,000 who had worn the cloth of our nation during their lifetime.

It gave me pause to wonder why other Scouting Units did not take this opportunity to honor the sacrifices of those who preceded us.

Red Dog
Scout Mentor
Take some boys camping and let Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water forge them a more moral compass

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