Archive for the ‘Normal’ Category

This Outing Was Nobody’s Fool

Six fish-seeking scouts, and four adult leaders along for the ride left the church parking lot on schedule at 5:30PM for Fool Hollow Lake outside of Show Low.  There was no time to waste, as the state park gate at the lake closes at 10PM, so since we still had hungry young men to feed in the meantime, Scoutmaster Blair helped speed things up by long-snapping the sleeping bags into the trailer.  But alas, long before our interim arrival in Payson for Culvers’ custard, the SUV pulling the trailer was buffeted by such a banging, whipping and clatter just below the Bush Highway exit, that we had to pull off to see what was the matter.  Upon further inspection, the rear passenger tire had a steel belt tread separate, and remain attached while battering the poor defenseless vehicle.  Long before AAA could possibly respond, our intrepid Scoutmaster left his date night and rode to the rescue with an even bigger and stronger SUV, and we were soon on the road again – only this time able to climb tall mountains with only the change of a single gear.  Arriving at our final destination but 15 minutes late (the gate had subsequently been arranged to be left open), setup was cheerfully accomplished before midnight.

Long-snapper Scoutmaster Dr. Blair hiking sleeping bags
Tent buddy selection

Waking to 36 degrees and crystal blue skies, our scouts scrambled breakfast, and then set out to save the world (or at least Fool Hollow) through the eradication of invasive species.  Moving from thistle (New Mexican) to mistle (toe, that is), our heroic scouts cleared the complete far end of the lake with our shovels and poke-proof (almost!) gloves, and put a dent in the nasty stuff overwhelming a half dozen large juniper trees.  Direction and education all morning from Ranger Fran was amazing, and the boys had a ball killing stuff.

T648 magicians performing the great disappearing thistle act

No kissin’ under this pile of mistletoe

The remainder of the day was spent thoroughly enjoying a relaxing day of fishing down-lake from the dam, eating, and having a most excellent campfire.  Heard around camp were amazing elk and geese calls, scary and silly stories with s’mores, eclectic oldies songs (from the boys!) such as Stayin’ Alive choruses, whistling of the Pink Panther theme, and endless renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ to one of our scouts celebrating his special day on the outing.  His aunt sent along the most incredible cookies (sugar cookie, frosting, tootsie roll, pretzel, gummy bear and marshmallow – I kid you not), and the boys had a sugar high that was actually diluted a bit by their breakfast of Fruit Loops.  Highlights for the adults included spotless individual restrooms with showers, and a plethora of dutch oven cuisine from master soufflé chef Komar   Factor in charcoal broiled Cajun scallops, Trader Joes salmon steaks, and fresh trout from the lake, everybody was making plans for our next great trip to the underwater town of Adair (aka Fool Hollow).

Top notch planning = two rainbow & the BIG one that got away

Those Fool Hollow fishy fish never stood a chance
Can you bake like this outdoors?!

This Week’s Troop Meeting

“The Minds of Boys”

September 24

7:05-7:35 pm – Scouts only

7:35-8:05 pm – Parents join Scouts

Nationally renowned speaker Katey McPherson will join us for an interactive workshop on tween and teen boys and how to best reach, teach, and support them. Katey will spend 30 minutes with the boys sharing her knowledge and experience working in junior high and high schools as a teacher, counselor, and administrator and share information on what kids need most from their parents. 

Katey would love for parents to join at 7:35 pm as we work together to strategize best approaches to school, sports, life, and their future.

We hope to have every Scout attend for a packed meeting!

In memory of Dean Butler

Dear Troop 648 family,

For any of you who have not yet heard, I am deeply saddened to report that Dean Butler passed away earlier this week after a long battle with Pancreatic Cancer. I can think of few people for whom I would say better exemplified the Spirit of Scouting than did Mr. Butler. He was the model Scoutmaster through and through and his influence on Troop 648 and the greater Scouting movement cannot be understated.

I first met Dean when he moved back to Arizona from southern California around 1998 and soon got involved with Troop 648 along with his wife Trudy, and son Sean. What an indelible mark he would leave on this Troop. He was already a tenured scouting leader at that point and was soon identified to be a great Scoutmaster candidate when the Troop’s founding Scoutmaster, Dave Hornor, would be ready to retire. Dean was passed the reigns of the Scoutmaster role a couple years later in 2000, where he would serve as Troop 648’s second Scoutmaster for the next six years, through 2005. As the person who directly followed Dean as Scoutmaster after 2005, I can personally say that while he left the role with ENORMOUS shoes to fill, I could always count on Dean’s sage counsel in the following years. Even after stepping out of that Scoutmaster position in 2005, Dean has remained actively involved with the Troop month after month, year after year, for these 14 years to follow. He has been a role model to all the Scoutmasters who have followed and there has been many a Scout who has been moved by Dean’s sincere example of what Scouting is all about.

Outside of his extensive service to Troop 648, Dean Butler was a founder of the Arizona Scouting Museum and also loved anything to do with Scouting. As he was often known to say “Nothing says I love you like a patch!” There are few around that have the collection of patches, and uniforms, and scouting books, and other scouting items than does Dean.

Dean Butler was also a lover of the many great, pinnacle adventures of scouting. He lead Troop expeditions to Philmont Scout Ranch in 2001 and 2005. He was also instrumental in organizing the Troop’s trip to the National Canoe Base in Ely, Minnesota in 2003, along with the Troop’s trip to the National Sea Base near Miami, Florida in 2007, completing Scouting’s “High Adventure Triple Crown”.

Dean was the Scoutmaster of one of the Council Contingent troops to the BSA Centennial National Jamboree in 2010, marking the 100-year anniversary of Scouting and the final Jamboree held at Fort AP Hill in Virginia. Dean then transitioned on as the Council Jamboree Coordinator, organizing the National Jamboree experience for the entire Grand Canyon Council in both 2013, (the first Jamboree at its new permanent home at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia), and then again for the Jamboree at SBR in 2017. Dean returned to the Summit for the 2019 World Jamboree, which was held for the first time in the United States in nearly 60 years.

A recipient of the Silver Beaver award in 2006, and holder of various other Scouting honors, Dean has long been a strong supporter of the District and Council. Dean has served many years on the Council’s Risk Management Committee, and has also long been a District Eagle Scout reviewer. Dean’s final project to Scouting has been a book on the History of the Grand Canyon Council, planned for  release in 2021, marking the Council’s 100th Anniversary.

I am going to greatly miss Dean Butler, husband to Trudy Butler, father of Troop 648’s 21st Eagle Scout, Sean Butler, and dear friend to so many more among us in Troop 648, the Grand Canyon Council, and throughout the World Brotherhood of Scouting.

The following is information on honoring the memory of Dean Butler:

Public Viewing

Friday, September 27, 2019; from 5:30PM-8:00PM at Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary and Cemetery

6500 East Bell Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

The Celebration of Life Service

Saturday, September 28, 2019; at 2:00PM at Desert Springs Bible Church

16215 N. Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85032.

Reception to Follow

All are invited, and scouts are welcome to wear their uniform to the service if you wish. I have also been asked to see if we can get 5 or 6 scouts to assist at the service on Saturday. If you are available and interested in helping out, please let me know and I will get you those details.


Jacob R Benyi

Troop 648 Committee Chair

Last Weekend’s Camp Outing

“What a wonderful backpacking trip on the West Mt Baldy trail!  Eight brave Scouts and two lucky adult leaders drove up Friday night to Pinetop, AZ for a night at the cozy Komar Kabin (owned by Landon & Quentin’s Grandfather).  As it turns out, a night of sleeping in the cabin helped save our energy for mother nature’s onslaught on the remainder of the trip.  After a continental breakfast of comfort food at the cabin, we drove to the West Baldy Trailhead and headed out with our backpacks.  There was plenty of warm sunshine on our backs on the hike up to basecamp, which only took 3.3 miles to get to our destination.  However, upon arrival all of us aware of the large, looming storm clouds and the sounds of distant thunder.  Only moments after establishing basecamp and enjoying our freeze-dried lunches, the heavens opened up and unleashed heavy rain and loud thunder for the next 4 and ½ hours.  So much for our plans of an afternoon hike!  Instead, the boys huddled in their tents playing the longest game of Uno known to mankind.  Fortunately, the rain stopped around dinner time, which allowed us to emerge from our tents long enough to eat.   Once darkness took over the campsite around 7pm, and without an adequate supply of dry wood, plans for a campfire were extinguished and everyone assumed an early bedtime.  

Lessons from mother nature continued the next day as steady rain, but without thunder, returned before dawn.  The constant downpour slowed down to a drizzle by 7:30am in time for everyone to eat a quick breakfast, break camp, perform a police line and head back down the trail.  On the previous day, we found many other hikers with us on the sunny trails.  Sunday morning; however, we had the muddy trail all to ourselves, which resembled more of an irrigation trough by then.  Driving away from the parking lot tired and mostly soaked, the vehicles registered an outside temp of 50 degrees.  What a difference to return to double the temperature back at the church parking lot, which finally gave us a chance to complete our “thorns and roses” ceremony.  You can probably guess what was the most common thorn, but there were certainly plenty of roses to go around for this adventurous crew who braved the weather!

See below for a link to pictures from the outing:

Tomorrow’s Troop Meeting (9/10)

A reminder that tomorrow’s Troop meeting will consist of an activity between the Patrols. I encourage maximum participation from your patrols. Class B uniform ( Troop 648 t-shirts) recommended, unless you are expecting to have a Scoutmaster Conference, or a Board of Review. In case I would be a t-shirt to change into after.

Mr Blair

Tomorrow’s TAC (Troop Activity Meeting) Meeting (9/10)

Just friendly reminder that tomorrow’s TAC Meeting will be held at 6:00 PM in the Troop Meeting room. All Adult leaders are asked to attend, and any parents are always welcomed as well.

The Upcoming National Public Lands Day Event

The Forrest Service Ranger who spoke at this week’s Troop meeting, Mr Bosworth, wanted to share the information below about the National Public Lands Day Event being held at Phon D Sutton Recreational Area. This is just a short 35 minute drive away for most of us. It certainly sounds like an exciting event for all who attend!

There is a large event/celebration on Saturday, September 28th for National Public Lands Day. The event will be at Phon D Sutton Recreation Area from 8:00am- 1:00pm. Setup times for partners, volunteers, and those with informational booths will be from 7:00am- 7:45am. There will be many partners & volunteer groups attending including REI, TRAL, Friends of Tonto National Forest, OdySea, No Snow, SRP, AZGFD, NFF, Arizona Wilderness Coalition, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, and more! There will be lots of activities for families including mountain bike demos, kayaks, paddle boards, fishing opportunities, prevention activities, volunteer information, education, and even Smokey! The purpose is to show the public ways they can enjoy their public lands and give the partners an opportunity to provide information about what they do and ways to get involved. National Public Lands Day is also a fee free day!! Please feel free to come out and help or bring your families and come enjoy the day.

Mr Blair

This Month’s Meeting Schedule

The Serpents patrol is in charge of meetings this month, and we have several great meetings planned that we want to tell you about! Thanks again to Landon Komar for his awesome meeting this past week!

9/10 – Patrol activity (Chaz Carson)

9/17 – Cyber Chip activity (Mr. Carson)

9/24 – Guest speaker Katey McPherson “The Minds of Boys” Information at meeting tonight (Will Starr)

We hope to see you at all of the meetings this month!


Will Starr

Serpents Patrol Leader

Merit Badge Information and a Call for Volunteers

As stated in the Troop Committee Meeting tonight we are in desperate need of Merit Badge Counselors. The more Troop Counselors we have the easier it is for our Scouts to complete the Badges they are interested in, and complete the mandatory Eagle required Badges that everyone must do on their way to Eagle. I have enclosed an updated list of the Merit Badges offered and which ones have Counselors to cover them. If interested please let me know so that I can set you up with all the info to apply.

Friends of Scouting

Thank you to those who were able to attend the Troop Committee Meeting tonight. We discussed the funds required of the Troop for Friends of Scouting. It’s anticipated that about $1400 would be required of the Troop to be given to Council. We are planning another fundraiser at CPK again, but are looking for donations – personal and any corporate contacts to make up the other $1000 (last year we made just under $400 for the CPK fundraiser). Please let myself of Mr Benyi know if are interested, or know of anyone who is interested. Thanks in advance.

Mark Blair

Troop 648 Scoutmaster