Meeting Recap (10/17/2016)

Sorry for the delay in posting a meeting recap, but was away on business travel this past week!

20161017_190950We had 11 boys, 4 junior rangers and three adult rangers present for our Stockade meeting on Monday night.

20161017_194403With really nice weather, we took the opportunity to work outside on campfire basics and cooking “banana boat” desserts.

Banana boats are easy to construct — just cut the skin away from the inner curve of the banana, cut a “V” slot into the banana flesh and then stuff it with caramels, mini-chocolate chips, and mini-marshmallows.

Next, replace the skin flap and wrap tightly in aluminum foil – bake in hot coals of campfire for 10-12 minutes and eat with a spoon!

Many of the boys took their treat home to share with parents.

Fire Safety Rules
A campfire can keep us warm on a cold night. Campfires can be used to cook our food, too. However, if we’re not careful, fire can become a danger. Here are some tips to be safer when using campfires:

  • Select a safe place to build the campfire. Keep it away from trees, shrubs, overhanging branches or tents/buildings. A safe distance is about 12-15 feet.
  • Always try to use an existing fire pit or fire place – fires built on the ground will prevent plants from growing there for many years (the soil becomes unable to feed plants).
  • Keep the fire contained with a ring of rocks or within a special “fire pit” such as a metal tray or bin.
  • Keep a bucket of water, fire hose, or bucket of sand nearby to put out the fire when you are done. A shovel is also helpful to help break up coals and be sure that the fire is fully put out.

Gathering the Right Materials

Gather three types of wood (from the ground – never cut living trees unless it’s life-or-death emergency)

  • Tinder (dryer lint, newspaper, small twigs, dry leaves or grass, dry needles)
  • Kindling (sticks smaller than 1″ around)
  • Fuel (larger pieces of wood)

Building the fire in one of these methods:

  • Tepee (Good for cooking) — Lay the kindling over the tinder like you’re building a tent.
  • Cross (Perfect for a long-lasting campfire) — Crisscross the kindling over the tinder.
  • Lean-to (Good for cooking) — Drive a long piece of kindling into the ground at an angle over the tinder. Lean smaller pieces of kindling against the longer piece.
  • logcabinLog Cabin (Longest lasting campfire) — Surround your pile of tinder with kindling, stacking pieces at right angles. Top the “cabin” with the smallest kindling.

Do’s and Don’ts for Fires

  • Do enjoy the warmth and glow.
  • Do feel free to cook over your fire.
  • Do make a plan for when you are done so that you have time to properly put out the fire safely
  • Don’t burn trash or food (the smell attracts animals)
  • Don’t put cans or bottles in the fire – they won’t burn and could hurt people later (glass shatters and cans have sharp edges)

Putting out the fire

  • Start early – it takes a while to fully put out a fire: give yourself at least twenty minutes where you stop adding any additional fuel.
  • Let wood burn down to ash if possible, if not, sprinkle water over the coals and ash until the hissing and steam stop.
  • Stir the remaining coals and ash – sometimes hot spots occur under the logs.
  • Don’t touch coals/sticks to see if they’re cool, but you can place the back of your hand near them to detect heat. If they’re still warm, repeat sprinkling with water and stirring with the shovel.

Clean Up Before You Leave!

  • Campers should clean up their site of any trash (whether someone else left it or you did. Leave sites cleaner than how you found them.
  • If you have leftover wood, leave it neatly piled for the next camper.

Thoughts from the Bible

Sparks flyThere is power in fire – we can heat our homes, warm up on cold nights when camping, or even cook meals over a campfire. Sadly, fire can cause destruction, too – wildfires burn down forests and other fires can destroy people’s houses or cars.
There is power in the words we speak – we can encourage other people, make them laugh or comfort them when they’re sad. In the same way that fire can be used for good or can cause destruction, our words can also hurt people’s feelings or damage friendships, too.

Transfer from cell phone June 2011 050In the Bible, there is a section in the Book of James that says “See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire…” If we’re not careful with fire, we can burn down a forest AND if we’re not careful with our words (how we use our mouth and tongue to speak) we could cause just as much damage among the people we care about.

In the Bible, James continues to say “With it (our tongue/our words) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.” We shouldn’t use our words to help AND to hurt – we ought to teach ourselves to always use our words to help other people, but it’s not easy. When we get angry or tired or frustrated we forget and say things that we shouldn’t say.

Ephesians 4:29 New Living Translation (NLT) says “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

We must learn to control our tongues and our speech in order to be consistent (helping instead of hurting). How can we do that?

Group Effort for Fire

 

Meeting tonight (10/17) to include campfire basics

logcabinDue to the nice weather, we’ll be adjusting our schedule a bit tonight for a fall campfire program in the parking lot.

We’ll be making Banana Boats and learning how to use a flint and steel striker to light a fire without matches.

Come prepared for fun, snacks and some game time, too.

Allamuchy winter 2011 017

 

Battalion Meeting Tonight!

Rangers, Junior Rangers and Boys in grades 7-12 are welcome to come to our kickoff meeting tonight.

From 7 PM to 7:30 PM we will conduct a planning and organization workshop for our Monday night Stockade ministry.  We will discuss what’s been going well, what we can do better, and we’ll be introducing our new workbook materials which have just arrived from CSB Ministries.

su20event20kitFrom 7:30 to 9 PM we will cover the first session in our study called “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” which is a DVD and workbook program produced by Family Life Ministries.  Workbooks are essential to the study, and we have a very limited supply of workbooks for the first session.  Workbooks cost $12 each so please bring cash or a check, or you can purchase your own online at any number of suppliers (Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, et.al.)

Generally, the video session runs about 35 minutes and the remainder of time is engaged in group discussion about the video topic and questions from the workbook.  In between group meeting sessions, there are workbook exercises for individuals to complete.

Hope to see you tonight.  Lower Auditorium.

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Battalion Meetings (grades 7-12)

ALTERNATING FRIDAY NIGHT PROGRAM LAUNCHES OCTOBER 7th:
This year, we are trying an experiment by relaunching a modified Battalion program for boys in grades 7-12.  This program will meet on alternating Friday nights from 7 to 9 PM in the lower auditorium: 
  • First 30 minutes reserved for planning for Monday night meetings (arrive by 7), and
  • the second block of time (arrive by 7:30), is for a video, workbook and discussion based bible study called “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” (Preview videos:
The bible study is suitable for teens thru all adult ages, and I’d encourage Battalion cadets / Junior Rangers to invite their dad to attend if possible (not a requirement, but they may find it highly engaging to walk through the program side-by-side with their sons) Our church will require each adult to fill out a youth volunteer application and submit to a background check (but it’s pretty painless!)
The schedule for Friday Night meetings is:
  • October 7
  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2

The Stepping Up series is 10 segments long, this group of five meeting nights carries us halfway through the program, allowing us to finish it in the Spring.

There is a cost for the workbook – I’m shopping around the internet to find the lowest possible price now, and will send an update (It’s likely to be about $6-$7).  I’m not planning refreshments on Fridays at this time, but would be open to bringing coffee/juice/tea with an offering basket to offset costs, etc.  If we want to do something more, we’ll discuss at the first meeting and perhaps someone can take charge of that part of the meeting planning, etc.

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Brigade Experience 2016

Today, we had the opportunity to receive regional training and a National update on what’s happening with the ministry.

Offering a total of ten different workshops over the course of three time periods, we found that there was “something for everyone” — whether very experienced or brand new to the program.

Peter Westerman offered a three part series to enable adult leaders to become “certified” with basic training on: “Brigade Principles”; “Brigade Ministries Overview”; and “Leadership Skills”.

Joel Fiscus, from our National support team, offered a pair of workshops:  “Fatherless No More” (delving into ways leaders can better support boys from single parent homes) and “leaving a legacy” (looking at ways to build up bench strength in adult leaders so that the program will continue at your church).

Ron Rynd offered two sessions: “Why Achievement?” (promoting the value of the achievement program for boys to feel a sense of accomplishment and goal setting); “Brigade Chairman” (covering the distinct mission of the Brigade Chairman position and how it is different from the role of Chief Ranger)

Duanne Moeller from Rutherford Bible Chapel offered a workshop designed to help familiarize leaders on the various stockade booklets, leaders guides and other deliverables.

Andy Puttbach had a seminar on getting your unit ready for a Shape N Race event (pinewood derby).

Paul Farrell covered how to leverage social media to better connect with parents, church supporters and the local community.

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Planning Resources for Day Outings

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Bish Bash Falls

Magazine article – http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/new-jersey/nj-10-best-hikes/ – offering places for day hikes for folks with varied ability (some strenuous, some flat – – all picturesque)

Not from NJ?  That’s OK – check out this link for info on activities closer to where ever you live – http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/

1. High Point Monument – High Point State Park has a variety of trails, ranging from .5 – 4.3 miles (near the Northern Tip of NJ – the tri-state area of NY, PA, NJ) – also the highest point (elevation-wise) in the State of NJ.  Has camping available.

2. Buttermilk Falls – “While you don’t need to hike to see the falls (there’s a parking lot and viewing area), it’s a great starting point for several other trips.” Located in NW New Jersey along the Delaware Water Gap. (http://www.njhiking.com/best-hikes-in-nj-buttermilk-falls/)

3. Manasquan Reservoir – “You’ll find four designated trails at this reservoir, ranging from just .2 miles to a more challenging 5.1 miles.”

4. imgp7163Pochuck Boardwalk – A section of the Appalachian Trail in Norther NJ that features an extensive boardwalk system (1.5 miles end to end) over a protected marsh area with stunning wild flowers in summer, and a nifty suspension bridge.

5. Pyramid Mountain – located in Morris County, the park offers a range of trails with interesting views and scenery.

6. South Mountain Fairy Trail – “This whimsical, family-friendly hike can be found along the Rahway Trail (white blazes) of the South Mountain Reservation. It is dotted with charming fairy abodes, made of all natural materials.”

7. Island Beach State Park – Offers eight trails, beach hiking and wildlife observation.

8. Batsto Lake Trail – Based in the Wharton State Forest, this trail is an easy 4.2-mile loop around the lake. May want to schedule time to visit the historic Batso villiage, too.

9. Belleplain State Forest – part of the Pinelands region of the State, this trail system is in the southern reaches of the State featuring bogs, lakes, wetlands and forests.

10. Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath – “Offering 70 miles of flat, level terrain, this scenic towpath is ideal for hiking and biking. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible in most areas and takes you through towns from Trenton to Lambertville. Be sure to stop at Washington Crossing State Park.”

These are the hikes recommended by the magazine, but represent only the tip of the iceberg — there are so many great places for day hikes in NJ and the surrounding area.  A careful study of the NJ State Parks web site as well as the NY/NJ Trail Conference (http://www.nynjtc.org/) web portal will help you identify great hikes and camping locations.

Also, don’t forget about History Hikes (history scavenger hunts combined with day hikes) — https://traillife113.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/activity-profile-history-hikes/

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The “Lemon Squeezer”

Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake

2013-11-02_13-06-37_938I like to test new recipes from time to time – partly because I’m hungry and partly to see if it would be workable on a camping trip or for use at a Stockade meeting at church.

I noticed we had an abundance of Yellow Cake Mix as we tend to stock it for pineapple upside down cakes.  To thin the “herd” I tried making a simple Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake.

Ingredients:

  1. 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (in juice)
  2. 20 oz can of cherry pie filling
  3. 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
  4. 1 bag of shredded coconut
  5. 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)

Process:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if outdoors, prep and preheat charcoal – arrange on dutch oven lid and under dutch oven to suit (see http://dutchovendoctor.com/temperature_control.htm for basics)
  • Lightly butter the inside edges and bottom of a 9X13 pan.
  • Dump pineapple (with juice) and cherries into center.  Spread around for even layer.
  • Sprinkle cake mix over fruit.
  • Sprinkle coconut over cake mix.
  • Pour melted butter evenly over top of coconut.
  • Bake for one hour.  Let cool – can be served warm as cobbler, or cooled to “room temp” and served as slab pie.

What went well:

  • 20160917_193811_resized

    The aftermath…

    it was super easy with quick prep, quick clean up.

  • boys should be able to do this with little or no prior cooking skills (impossible to mess up short of dropping the mixture onto the floor)
  • less finesse and fumbling with the mixture assures better outcome (just dump and go)
  • tasty combo of flavors, crunch of toasted coconut was appealing – even to those who had previously said they don’t like coconut.

What didn’t go as planned:

  • WOW – it is sickeningly sweet.  Over The Top, Sugar Rush! (Of course, to elementary-school aged boys, this is probably going to be perfect).
  • Very “tart” or “sour” taste from the acids in the pineapple juice and cherries. (See parenthetical statement, above).
  • By layering the components, the cake mix didn’t pick up much liquid from the bubbling juices and we got a thin layer of “brownie-bake” texture.  Had we been less clinical in the approach and simply made a mess of it, we might have gotten a better mixture of flavors and textures.
  • The coconut absorbed a lot of the butter that was intended for the cake mix – maybe drizzling the butter first, and then adding the coconut might have helped.
  • The recipe I found for this called for sliced almonds as a topping instead of coconut (which I didn’t have on hand – hence the coconut) — the almonds might have toned down the sweetness and the coconut increased it.  Something to consider if I try this again.

Reminder – if doing this at club, always check for food allergies.  Almonds and coconut are suspect to food “sensitivities” more than genuine allergies, but better to check, warn, be sure to avoid problems.  When we plan to cook, we often send the ingredients list home the week before (and we ask parents during initial registration if they’re aware of food allergies or sensitivities ahead of time).

Despite the outcome being a mixed success, it was devoured quickly (over two days).  At club, I think making one wouldn’t be near enough as the boys would likely descend on it like a flock of locusts.  It did inspire me to consider a dump cake using devils food cake mix, coffee, cherries and almonds for adults.  Maybe some twist on “rocky road” ice cream as a dump cake?

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“Beef on a Weck” (specialty sandwich on a Kummelweck Roll you’ve gotta try when attending a National CSB meeting in the Buffalo, NY area.  MMMMM.