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Embracing the Wood Badge Journey: A Transformative Leadership Experience

Just one week ago, I completed my second weekend of Wood Badge, and as the initial retreat euphoria begins to fade, I find myself compelled to put pen to paper and reflect on this extraordinary journey. My aspiration is that this narrative will resonate with those who have embarked on their own Wood Badge adventures, evoking cherished memories, or perhaps inspire those contemplating taking the course for themselves.


To provide context, let me offer some insight into my Scouting background. My connection to the Scouting program began when I was in First Grade, and it has remained an enduring part of my life. From Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to Exploring and Venturing, Scouting played a significant role in my youth and young adulthood. Now, as an adult, I’ve rekindled my involvement in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Venturing, while also contributing to the District and Council levels. In simple terms, I’ve drank the bug juice.


However, despite my deep involvement in Scouting, I had persistently found excuses to avoid enrolling in Wood Badge until this year. I would proudly point to the Eagle Scout knot on my uniform and quip, “This is my Wood Badge,” or jest that Wood Badge was some kind of Scouter’s cult fixated on their patrol critter. Looking back, these excuses seem feeble, and ironically, during the very first weekend of Wood Badge, we examined how preconceived notions can hinder our personal growth.


So, what compelled me to finally commit to the Wood Badge course this year? Was it a desire to fit in and acquire the credentials of a “proper” leader? Was it pressure to support another Council activity suffering from insufficient participants? Or could it have been the consistent peer pressure, even when I couldn’t fully grasp their motivations? All I can say now is, I get it, and I comprehend the significance of Wood Badge.


In the months leading up to the course, I was eager for it to be over with. I had pondered possible ticket ideas, though without truly grasping the profound meaning behind it. I might have even been a tad pushy, roping in three other leaders to ensure we had enough participants. For that, I offer no apologies.


It’s worth noting that there wasn’t much communication about what to expect before the course, which irked me as I tend to be someone who craves meticulous preparation and research before diving into any endeavor. Some might label me a control freak, but I prefer the term “prepared.” Yet, having experienced Wood Badge, I am thankful that I entered the course with minimal expectations. The anticipation, the mystery of not knowing my small group or who my Guide would be, added an element of excitement.


The day finally arrived, and I was up before dawn, embarking on a one-hour drive to the Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation to ensure I’d be there by 7 AM. I stood at the welcome center in my Field Uniform, backpack in tow, feeling the same nervousness I did as a first-year Scout. I was surrounded by a diverse group of Scouters from various backgrounds. Despite recognizing some familiar faces, including the three leaders I had coerced into joining, many attendees were strangers to me. This posed a challenge, particularly because, despite appearances, I am an introvert.


Following the initial check-in, I joined a small group heading towards the dining hall to kick off the weekend. I attempted to strategically time my arrival to align with a Troop Guide and group that I believed would be my patrol. I’m no novice when it comes to leadership weekends, but Course Director Matt Winland had already assigned patrols well in advance. In hindsight, it worked out for the best.


During the pre-session, I was merely going through the motions, assuming my experience as a seasoned Scouter would provide me with an upper hand. I had preconceived notions that this weekend would be a breeze. The individuals I had positioned myself with were meant to help me blend in and simply get through it. However, as Matt began calling out names, den by den, my confidence waned. I watched as people I was comfortable with were assigned to their dens. The crowd thinned, my nerves intensified, and finally, my name was called, my den was assigned. This group of men would shatter every assumption I had about the course, leadership, and my role as a Scouter.


Ah, Den! On our first day, we played our roles to perfection, excelling in every task presented to us. Let’s be honest; we were a powerhouse. With five former Scouts and OA Members, all possessing extensive experience across Scouting levels and programs, and guided by none other than the Scout Executive himself, we brought everything to the table. We shared personal stories, some even shedding tears as we reflected on our Scouting journeys. Forming and storming was a mere warm-up for us.


As the weekend unfolded, the intensity deepened. We merged with over a century’s worth of other Scouters from across the world, joining the Bear Patrol. We focused on the five central themes of Growing, Connecting, Guiding, Empowering, and Living the Values. These themes anchored everything I had learned in countless hours of Scouting training. That evening, as I left our campfire with tears in my eyes, I reminisced about the journeys and campfires that had led me to this moment, with the hope of many more to come.


The bonds within the Bear Patrol continued to strengthen over the weekend. We chose to push ourselves to the limits, engaging in deep self-reflection on our weaknesses while leveraging our strengths. A common goal drove us forward, and I felt as though I were riding a high that would never dissipate, despite the looming inevitability of returning to reality. With plans set for the second weekend and a commitment to stay connected during the break, we left behind a place that had become sacred to us.


My first week of the break was a true test. The echoes of Gilwell resonated in my mind as I navigated the challenges that followed my leadership retreat high. Recruiting and popcorn season, as many of you may know, can be relentless on a Scout Leader’s spirit. I went through the motions, attempting to stay connected with my Patrol by updating our group chat with pictures of my Scouting adventures and pondering how to embark on my ticket. It felt like I was merely going through the motions.


Returning for the second weekend was even more demanding than the first. The pressure to complete my ticket, which was only partially started, coupled with the added complexities of outdoor experiences, weighed on my mind. I needed to rekindle the spark from the first weekend. The pace quickened, discussions grew more pointed, pushing our leadership abilities to new limits. Reflection delved deeper, and the bond within our patrol expanded to encompass the entire troop. We were encouraged to broaden our circles and enhance our teamwork. The five central themes came full circle, and tears were shed as my Patrol faced new challenges and found unwavering support in each other.


As the second weekend drew to a close, with final words of wisdom from our course director, I felt energized, focused, recharged, and ready to face anything. I’ve distilled five major takeaways from my Wood Badge experience: Leadership is about service, diversity strengthens our community, setting and achieving goals, effective communication, and building lasting relationships.


Wood Badge has not only enhanced my Scouting journey but has also deepened my understanding of leadership and community. The memories and lessons learned will remain with me as I continue my commitment to the Scouting movement. If you’re contemplating Wood Badge, don’t hesitate. Embrace the journey, the challenges, and the transformation that awaits. You won’t just earn a neckerchief; you’ll gain a deeper sense of purpose as a leader, mentor, and advocate for Scouting. I eagerly look forward to the path that lies ahead, fortified by the lessons and camaraderie of Wood Badge.

NST9467-23 course finishes up the second weekend strong!

Scoutmaster Matt Winland and his staff finished a successful Wood Badge course held at Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation. 31 Adult Scouters took the course will have 18 months to complete their ticket. 

Matt Winland lead the participants as the Scoutmaster of Troop 1 in a full scouting experience. He wanted to tell the Scouts in a final message that “we hope that you remember all of the skills that you have. Utilize the toolbox in order to reach your goals and help work your ticket.” 

Many different tools are referenced throughout the course. Those tools are representations of each of the ideals presented during Wood Badge. These tools were presented through various presentations and team building activities.

Now the participants have all finished the course, they set out to complete their ticket. A scouter from the course vowed a “Special thanks to Course Director Matt Winland and all his staff for making this journey unforgettable. Wood Badge isn’t just a training course; it’s a transformative journey that brings together Scouters from diverse backgrounds, all sharing a passion for Scouting. The bonds we formed and the lessons we learned will stay with us for a lifetime. Let’s keep the spirit of Wood Badge alive in our hearts as we continue our Scouting adventures.”


Muskingum Valley Council is planning for the next course in Fall 2025.

Unlocking Growth and Leadership through Volunteer Opportunities in the Muskingum Valley Council

Volunteering plays a pivotal role in shaping the lives of young individuals and fostering leadership skills. The Muskingum Valley Council (MVC) understands the importance of mentorship, education, and community engagement. In the paragraphs below we will explore the diverse volunteer leadership opportunities offered by MVC and how they contribute to personal growth, community development, and the scouting movement. 

1. Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters

One of the most impactful volunteer roles within MVC is that of Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters. These dedicated individuals guide and mentor Scout troops, helping young scouts develop critical life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and outdoor survival skills. Through this role, volunteers create an environment where youth can thrive and learn essential life lessons.

2. Committee Members

Behind the scenes, committee members are the backbone of MVC. These volunteers provide invaluable support in areas like event planning, fundraising, and administration. Their expertise ensures the smooth functioning of the organization, enabling scouts to focus on personal growth and adventure.

3. Merit Badge Counselors

Merit badges are a fundamental part of a scout’s journey. MVC relies on volunteer Merit Badge Counselors who are subject matter experts in various fields. These counselors share their knowledge and passion, helping scouts earn merit badges that range from wilderness survival to citizenship in the community. Becoming a counselor allows volunteers to contribute their expertise and inspire future generations.

4. District and Council Level Roles

For those looking to have a broader impact, MVC provides opportunities at the district and council levels. Volunteers can take on roles such as District Chairman, Council President, or even serve on the Council Executive Board. These positions involve strategic planning, fundraising, and community outreach, helping to shape the direction of the organization.

5. Chartered Organization Representatives

Many Scout units are chartered by local community organizations. Chartered Organization Representatives act as liaisons between these institutions and MVC. They play a crucial role in building strong partnerships that support the scouting program.

Volunteering with MVC not only contributes to the development of young scouts but also offers personal growth and fulfillment to volunteers. Some benefits include:

  • Leadership development: Volunteers hone their leadership skills while guiding and mentoring scouts.
  • Personal satisfaction: Witnessing the positive impact on young lives is immensely rewarding.
  • Networking: Building connections with like-minded individuals who share a passion for youth development.
  • Skill enhancement: Volunteers have the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experiences in various areas.
  • Community engagement: Contributing to the community by fostering responsible, well-rounded citizens.

The Muskingum Valley Council relies on the dedication and passion of its volunteers to continue its mission of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes. Whether you are interested in hands-on outdoor experiences, administrative roles, or strategic planning, MVC offers a diverse range of volunteer opportunities to suit your interests and skills. Join this noble cause, become a mentor, and help shape the future leaders of tomorrow while enriching your life in the process.


If you would like to get involved or learn more about how to get involved, email Zechariah Bauer (

The Recruiter Award: Nurturing the Future of Scouting

In the expansive realm of Scouting awards and recognitions available to young people, one stands out for its remarkable potential to drive growth and introduce life-changing programs to new participants. The Recruiter Strip, a symbol of a Scout’s dedication to expanding the Scouting family, represents not only an achievement but also a commitment to the values and principles of the Boy Scouts of America. Let’s explore the significance of the Recruiter Award, its ease of attainment, and the Council Recognition bestowed upon the top recruiters.

In the vibrant world of Scouting, the Recruiter Strip holds a special place. It embodies the spirit of Scout Law, particularly the principles of helpfulness and friendliness. This award encourages Scouts to become ambassadors for the Scouting movement, extending a warm and welcoming hand to those who might be interested in joining the adventure.

What makes the Recruiter Strip truly remarkable is its potential to ignite a chain reaction of growth. When a Scout recruits just one new member to join Scouting, they contribute to the expansion of the movement. This newly recruited Scout may then go on to recruit others, creating a domino effect that fosters growth and strengthens Scouting communities across the country.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Recruiter Strip is its accessibility. Unlike some Scouting awards that require a lengthy list of accomplishments, the path to earning this coveted patch is straightforward. Any registered youth involved in Scouting is eligible to earn the Recruiter Strip, and they need to recruit just one new Scout to qualify.

The simplicity of this award not only makes it achievable but also encourages Scouts to take an active role in growing their local Scouting units. It instills a sense of responsibility and leadership in young Scouts, as they recognize their role in ensuring the continuity and vitality of the Scouting movement.

While the Recruiter Strip is an individual achievement, it’s essential to recognize and celebrate Scouts who go above and beyond in recruiting new members to the Scouting family. To honor these exceptional Scouts, Muskingum Valley Council has instituted the Council Recognition for the Top Recruiters.

This recognition provides a competitive yet friendly environment where Scouts can strive to be the best recruiters in their council. The top recruiters will be celebrated at a special event in the upcoming year for their dedication to the growth of Scouting in their community. Such recognition not only motivates Scouts to excel but also highlights the significant impact they have on their local Scouting units and the organization as a whole. Make sure your Unit Leader turns in your top recruiters to the Council!

The Recruiter Strip is more than just a patch on a Scout’s uniform; it represents a commitment to the ideals and values of Scouting. By encouraging Scouts to actively recruit new members, this award fosters growth, diversity, and inclusivity within the Scouting movement. Its simplicity ensures that every registered youth can contribute to the expansion of Scouting, and Council Recognition for Top Recruiters adds an extra layer of motivation and celebration for those who go the extra mile.

As we reflect on the array of Scouting awards and recognitions available, the Recruiter Strip truly shines as one of the most important. It not only rewards individual Scouts for their efforts but also acts as a catalyst for the continued success and relevance of the Boy Scouts of America.

Celebrating Excellence: Owen's Journey to the Vigil Honor

In a spirit of camaraderie and tradition, the recent Order of the Arrow Vigil Weekend brought together Scouts and Scouters from far and wide. Among the attendees was one exceptional young man who stood out, Youth Owen, from Troop 132. Owen’s journey to achieving the prestigious Vigil Honor is a testament to his dedication and commitment to the principles of Scouting.

The Vigil Honor is a distinction that Scouts and Scouters can only dream of achieving, and it’s not handed out lightly. After two years of exemplary service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow committee, a Scout or Scouter may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for their distinguished contributions to their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. This honor is not awarded en masse; it’s a carefully chosen recognition, limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.

Owen’s journey to this prestigious honor was a culmination of years of hard work and dedication to the principles of the Order of the Arrow. At the recent Vigil Weekend event, Owen’s commitment was celebrated as he successfully completed his vigil tasks. The moment was even more special as he was accompanied by his Troop Leaders, Joe and Charlene Kahle, who have undoubtedly played a significant role in guiding Owen along his scouting path.

Moreover, Owen had the support of the Lodge Chief, Caden Gibson, and Lodge Advisor, Ron Ashcraft, who have been instrumental in mentoring countless Scouts on their journey to the Vigil Honor. Their presence at the event underscored the significance of Owen’s achievement and served as a reminder of the strong bonds that form within the Scouting community.

What makes the Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor even more remarkable is the tight-knit community it creates. Owen was not alone on this journey; he was surrounded by other Vigil Honor members who were there to send him off on his tasks, offering their wisdom, guidance, and support. It’s a beautiful example of the Scout Spirit in action, where Scouts and Scouters come together to uplift and inspire one another.

Owen’s achievement serves as a shining example to all Scouts, reminding them that with dedication, service, and a commitment to the values of Scouting, they too can aspire to reach the highest levels of recognition within the Order of the Arrow. It’s a journey that requires perseverance, leadership, and a deep connection to the Scouting community.

As we reflect on the recent Order of the Arrow Vigil Weekend, we celebrate not only Owen’s remarkable achievement but also the enduring spirit of Scouting and the bonds that unite us all. Congratulations to Owen on this well-deserved honor, and may his journey inspire countless others to follow in his footsteps towards the Vigil Honor.

Conquer Your Fears and Experience the Thrill: The 2023 PEAK Hocking Hills Rappelling Adventure

Are you ready to push your boundaries, conquer your fears, and experience an adrenaline rush like no other? The 2023 PEAK Hocking Hills Day Trip did just that for approximately 30 Scouts and Scouters from the Muskingum Valley Council and Simon Kenton Council. Nestled in the heart of Southeastern Ohio, this adventure was all about stepping to the edge, trusting yourself, and taking the plunge – quite literally!

The Thrill of Rappelling

Rappelling is not for the faint of heart. It’s an exhilarating activity that involves descending down sheer cliffs using ropes and specialized equipment. It tests your courage, self-confidence, and trust in your gear. And for those who participated in this year’s PEAK Hocking Hills Day Trip, it was an unforgettable experience.

The Drops: From 20 Feet to 130 Feet

The adventure began with a 20-foot drop. This initial descent served as a warm-up, allowing everyone to get comfortable with the cliffs, their equipment, and their own abilities. It was the perfect way to ease into the excitement of rappelling.

But the real challenge awaited as participants faced two progressively higher drops – a heart-pounding 70-foot descent and an awe-inspiring 130-foot rappel. The 130-foot rappel spot, known as Big Spring, is a sight to behold when the waterfall is flowing. Although it wasn’t flowing during this particular weekend, it’s usually recognized as the tallest known waterfall in Ohio. Even without the cascading water, the view from this height was breathtaking.

A Chance to Experience the Thrill

If reading about this incredible rappelling adventure has you itching for your own adrenaline rush, you’re in luck. You have the chance to join PEAK for another thrilling outing from October 27th to 29th, 2023. Here’s the link to register: PEAK Hocking Hills Fall Trip. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to conquer your fears and experience the joy of rappelling in the stunning Hocking Hills region.

And if the October date doesn’t align with your schedule, don’t worry. You can reach out to Jack Downs at to schedule a rappelling event for your unit. Jack can also organize a Climbing Merit Badge weekend for your group at the Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation (MVSR). So, whether you’re a seasoned rappeller or new to the thrill, there’s an adventure waiting for you.


The 2023 PEAK Hocking Hills Day Trip was a true testament to the spirit of adventure and camaraderie that scouting fosters. It allowed Scouts and Scouters to challenge themselves, overcome fears, and create lasting memories in the breathtaking backdrop of Southeastern Ohio. So, if you’re ready to step to the edge and take the plunge, mark your calendars for the next PEAK adventure – it’s an experience you won’t want to miss!

Embarking on a Transformative Journey: Recounting the First Weekend of Wood Badge

In the heart of the great outdoors, amidst the rustling leaves and the rising sun, 30 eager participants gathered for a weekend that would set the tone for their leadership journey. Wood Badge, the pinnacle of adult leader training in scouting, kicked off its first weekend with a burst of energy, camaraderie, and a thirst for knowledge. As we reflect on this unforgettable experience, let’s also explore the rich history that has shaped the legacy of Wood Badge.

A Glimpse into the Past:

Wood Badge isn’t just an ordinary leadership course; it’s a tradition steeped in history. Conceived by none other than the founder of scouting, Robert Baden-Powell, Wood Badge was born out of a desire to empower leaders with the skills needed to guide and inspire young scouts. The name “Wood Badge” itself originates from the practice of awarding participants with a simple wooden bead, symbolizing their completion of the training.

Wood Badge NST9-467-23

Evolution and Global Reach:

Since its inception in 1919, Wood Badge has undergone several iterations, adapting to the changing times while retaining its core principles. Originally intended for Scoutmasters, the program soon expanded to encompass leaders from various Scouting programs. Today, Wood Badge is offered by Scout associations around the world, tailored to local practices and cultures.

Zac Beres, Senior Patrol Leader Perspective:

“The first Wood Badge weekend has been a transformative experience for the leaders in our council,” shared Zac Beres, the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) of the weekend. As the person overseeing the event, Zac had a front-row seat to the remarkable growth of leaders from across the council and even the state. What struck him most was the way these diverse individuals came together to nurture their leadership skills, each one contributing their unique perspectives.

Looking Ahead: Outdoor Experience and Youth Enrichment:

The journey isn’t stopping at the first weekend. Zac excitedly talked about the upcoming outdoor-focused second weekend. This portion of the Wood Badge program delves into practical application, where leaders will put their newfound knowledge and skills into action in an outdoor setting. It’s here that the lessons learned indoors will be tested, and the impact on youth Scouting experiences will be magnified.

Matt Winland, Course Director's Reflection:

Matt Winland, the Course Director and Scoutmaster, reflected on the highs and lows of the first weekend. He highlighted the passion and fire in the eyes of Troop 1 during the various activities, underscoring the enthusiasm that was palpable throughout the weekend. Matt expressed his anticipation for the next phase, where the skills learned would be implemented during the outdoor experience. The smiles, the challenges, and the shared growth were more than Matt could have expected. In the spirit of Baden-Powell’s words, “The real way to gain happiness is to give it to others,” Matt saw participants actively embracing this ethos.

As the echoes of the first Wood Badge weekend settle, the participants, the staff, and the entire council look forward with anticipation. The transformative journey is only just beginning. With camaraderie, growth, and a renewed commitment to Scouting principles, this group of leaders is poised to make an indelible mark on the Scouting world. Stay tuned for the next chapter of their Wood Badge adventure, as they honor the past while shaping the future.

Reflecting on a Memorable Night Celebrating Scouting Achievements

The Eagle and Summit Award Recognition Dinner at VFW Post 1058 in Zanesville, OH, was an evening brimming with inspiration, wisdom, and a profound sense of community. NESA Committee Chair, Carl Church, fittingly summarized the atmosphere, stating, “The night was a great inspiration to the new and old Eagle Scouts.” With an array of exceptional speakers, the event reverberated with the resounding message that achieving the rank of Eagle is just the commencement of an enduring journey within scouting and beyond.

Tracy Beale’s speech stood out as he delved into the Venturing Program, portraying it as a blank canvas awaiting the creativity and aspirations of young minds. He shared his personal journey of becoming the second Eagle Scout from Muskingum Valley Council to earn the esteemed Summit Award, showcasing that scouting is a realm where dreams can take flight on diverse paths.

JD Tracy took the spotlight as the Eagle Scout speaker of the year, delivering a poignant talk about his journey and the profound significance of the Eagle Honor. His words resonated with the attendees, emphasizing the ideals of leadership, commitment, and responsibility that come with the Eagle Scout badge.

The event also had the privilege of Steve Channell’s presence, honored as the Honorary Scoutmaster of the Class of 2022 Eagles. Channell’s speech underlined the importance of sustained involvement in scouting, stressing that guiding and nurturing younger generations of scouts is essential for the continuity and vitality of the scouting program. His words resonated deeply, reminding everyone that scouting is about giving back and fostering the growth of others.

As the evening progressed, Greg Gentry commanded attention by opening the National Court of Honor. The culmination of the night was the distinguished recognition of two exemplary scouts: George Payton and Butch Wiseman, who were both presented with the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. This pinnacle of recognition underscored their exceptional contributions and dedication, inspiring everyone present to strive for excellence in all their pursuits.

The event was a testament to scouting’s ability to shape not only capable individuals but also empowered leaders and compassionate community members. As Tracy Beale highlighted, the Venturing Program serves as a canvas where aspirations come alive, and the shared stories of achievement, like JD Tracy’s, depict the tapestry of success woven through scouting.

A special highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Glen A. and Melinda W. Adams Eagle Scout Service Project Award to William Yannitell. This prestigious award celebrated his outstanding service project, emphasizing the transformative impact that scouts can have on their communities.

The Eagle and Summit Award Recognition Dinner was a potent reminder that the journey of scouting isn’t confined to the scout’s journey alone—it extends to the larger community, creating a network of support, mentorship, and growth. The legacy left by the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award recipients, George Payton and Butch Wiseman, along with the guidance exemplified by Steve Channell, and the accomplishments of William Yannitell, serve as beacons for others to follow.

In retrospect, the event underscored that scouting’s essence lies in fostering character, leadership, and a commitment to service. The Eagle and Summit Award recipients, along with all those who champion their cause, stand as living proof that the scouting movement is thriving, evolving, and leaving an indelible mark on generations to come.

Honoring Heroes: Muskingum Valley Scouts Celebrate National Purple Heart Day

On a warm and sunny day in Marietta, Ohio, something extraordinary happened – young Scouts and community members gathered to pay tribute to those who have made immense sacrifices for our nation. August 7, 2023, marked National Purple Heart Day, and the Muskingum Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America seized this opportunity to come together, celebrate, and serve.

The event brought together Packs and Troops from across the Muskingum Valley Council. From Marietta to New Lexington, Ohio, Scouts and Scouters congregated to honor the brave individuals who have shed their blood for the United States of America. It was an inspiring display of unity, gratitude, and the spirit of service that Scouts are known for.

A Day of Education and Reflection

The event was marked by a sense of reverence as over 15 Cub Scouts, Scouts, and Scouters gathered to listen to firsthand accounts of those who had served in combat and endured wounds in the line of duty. These stories carried the weight of history and sacrifice, offering young minds a unique perspective on the realities of war and the courage displayed by those who have served.

The history of the Purple Heart, a symbol of honor and courage awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military, was shared. The Scouts also had the privilege of learning about the Military Order of the Purple Hearts, an organization that supports veterans and their families.

A Heartfelt Gesture of Gratitude

Following the ceremony, the Scouts of the Muskingum Valley Council had the opportunity to translate their appreciation into action. They took the lead in organizing and preparing meals for the honored Purple Heart recipients, their families, and other attendees. The event drew almost 100 people, creating a vibrant atmosphere of camaraderie and respect.

The Scouts’ enthusiasm for this service opportunity was palpable. To them, this wasn’t just about cooking meals; it was about expressing their gratitude, learning from the stories of these heroes, and embracing the essence of selflessness that the Scouts stand for.

Community, Courage, and Compassion

The National Purple Heart Day celebration in Marietta was a testament to the power of community and the ability of young people to make a meaningful impact. By participating in this event, the Scouts showcased their dedication to honoring those who have sacrificed for their country. They learned that service isn’t just a task – it’s a way of life.

Through conversations with combat-wounded veterans and engaging in acts of service, the Scouts not only deepened their understanding of history but also cultivated compassion and respect for the sacrifices made by others. They discovered that a simple gesture of appreciation, like preparing a meal, can have a profound impact on someone’s day and help bridge the gap between generations.

As the sun set on this memorable day, the Scouts of the Muskingum Valley Council walked away with more than just a sense of accomplishment – they carried with them a newfound appreciation for the courage, sacrifice, and resilience of those who have earned the Purple Heart. The event served as a reminder that, through unity and acts of kindness, we can continue to honor and support our nation’s heroes, ensuring that their sacrifices are never forgotten.

In a world that can often feel divided, events like these remind us of the potential for unity, empathy, and positive change. As we reflect on the National Purple Heart Day celebration in Marietta, let us all be inspired to extend a hand of gratitude and support to those who have served and sacrificed for our freedom.

Reflecting on the Order of the Arrow Fall Ordeal at Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation: Embracing New Members and Fostering Growth

The recent Order of the Arrow Fall Ordeal at Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation was an event to remember, as it welcomed 13 new members into the fold of Netawatwees Lodge #424. With cheerful service, fellowship, and a sense of purpose, the weekend was a transformative experience for all involved.

Following the Ordeal, the Lodge wasted no time in gearing up for the future by holding its annual elections. This momentous occasion saw the election of new Lodge Officers, heralding a fresh chapter for the Order of the Arrow in the region.

Lodge Advisor, Ron Ashcraft, expressed his excitement for the new leadership team, stating, “New Lodge officers were elected, and we encourage the new members to consider running for officer positions in the coming year and within their local Chapters. We want to see them remain actively engaged in the Lodge and Chapter, and we look forward to witnessing their growth.”


The event garnered the support of Muskingum Valley Council Scout Executive, Jared Smith, who shared his vision for the Order of the Arrow’s future. Smith encouraged all members, past and present, to re-engage with the Order of the Arrow through active involvement in Scouting and the Order itself. He emphasized the importance of crystalizing the Scout habit of helpfulness into a lifelong purpose of leadership and cheerful service to others.

Lodge Vice Chief, JD Tracy, couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for the Lodge’s expansion. He expressed his delight in seeing new candidates join the ranks and eagerly anticipated their journey towards Brotherhood membership in the spring.

The Order of the Arrow Fall Ordeal not only strengthened the bonds of Brotherhood among seasoned members but also ushered in a wave of fresh energy and dedication with the induction of new members. Together, they continue to uphold the principles of Scouting, embracing the spirit of service and leadership that the OA is renowned for.

As we reflect on this enriching experience, we are reminded of the power of fellowship, service, and tradition in shaping the character of Scouts and Scouters alike. The Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation will forever hold the memories of this special event, and we eagerly look forward to witnessing the continued growth and impact of Netawatwees Lodge #424.

To all the participants, new and old, thank you for making this Order of the Arrow Fall Ordeal an unforgettable journey. As we embark on the next chapter, let’s continue to thrive in the spirit of Scouting, leading lives of purpose, and serving others with a cheerful heart.

Yours in Brotherhood

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