June 1, 2010

Scouting Corner

By Thomas McDermott
Scout Executive, Illowa Council
Boy Scouts of America

It is June. Here in Illowa Council as well as other councils: week-long summer camp is starting for the Boy Scouts; day camps and some overniters are in progress for the Cub Scouts. Love that summer camp experience!

It is June. Flag Day is in June. Proper respect for Old Glory is taught at summer camp. A camp day begins and ends with a meaningful flag ceremony. Boys are taught how to unfurl the flag at flag-raising and how to fold the flag once it is lowered.

Do you know how to fold the flag and what it means? Keep reading.

The flag is lowered daily at the last note of retreat. Special care should be taken that no part of the flag touches the ground. The Flag is then carefully folded into the shape of a tri-cornered hat, emblematic of the hats worn by colonial soldiers during the war for Independence. In the folding, the red and white stripes are finally wrapped into the blue, as the light of day vanishes into the darkness of night. This custom of special folding is reserved for the United States Flag alone.

Step 1 To properly fold the Flag, begin by holding it waist-high with another person so that its surface is parallel to the ground.
Step 2 Fold the lower half of the stripe section lengthwise over the field of stars, holding the bottom and top edges securely.
Step 3 Fold the flag again lengthwise with the blue field on the outside.
Step 4 Make a triangular fold by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to meet the open (top) edge of the flag.
Step 5 Turn the outer (end) point inward, parallel to the open edge, to form a second triangle.
Step 6 The triangular folding is continued until the entire length of the flag is folded in this manner. (This is repeated 6 times)
Step 7 When the flag is completely folded, only a triangular blue field of stars should be visible.

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on mother’s day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God we Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

Continuing with our countdown to……..

100 Things You Didn’t Know About Scouting

70. The “turn” in Philmont’s first Scout name, “Philturn,” came from the Scout slogan “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
69. During the 1970s, Kenner Products developed a line of Scout action figures whose right arms, when raised, made the Scout salute.
68. Inspired by an article he read in Boys’ Life about the adventures of reporters working around the world, Boy Scout Walter Cronkite went on to become the face of television news in the United States.
67. Former Sea Scout Paul Siple coined the term wind chill. He experienced the phenomenon firsthand when he accompanied Commander Richard E. Byrd on an 18-month voyage to Antarctica.
66. The Boy Scout Handbook has had Braille editions for many years; merit badge pamphlets have been recorded on cassette tapes for the blind; and closed-caption training videos have been produced for those who are deaf.
65. If a Boy Scout attends his weekly patrol and troop meetings, participates in a monthly weekend troop outing, and attends long-term summer camp with his troop, he will have spent as much time with Scouting in a year as he spends in the classroom.
64. A project for Cub Scouts and their parents, pinewood derby cars made since 1954 could form a line stretching from Los Angeles to the island of Tahiti in the Polynesian Islands—a total of more than 5,500 miles.
63. Nearly 1.2 million volunteers donate an average of 20 hours per month to the BSA, which totals 288 million hours of time during one year. Independent Sector projects the average value of volunteer time to be $20.25 an hour. Given this hourly rate, the approximate value of the time given by Boy Scout volunteers is more than $5.8 billion annually.
62. When Orville Wright wrote how he and his brother Wilbur got to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, for the first engine-powered airplane flight, only Boys’ Life printed “How I Learned to Fly.”
61. Home to the world’s largest collection of Norman Rockwell paintings, the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas, is 53,000 square feet—it would take some 3.2 million merit badges to fully cover the museum’s floor.