Archive for the ‘Normal’ Category

Merit Badges to think about during Social Distancing

I’ve attached a link for some Merit Badges to consider while we are limiting our contacts. Please remember there are many on this list that need “in-person” requirements, and may not be able to be completed until we are able to meet up again. Also the policy of getting a “virtual” Blue Card and getting approval for a Merit Badge from your Scoutmaster doesn’t change.

Merit badges for social distancing: 58 badges Scouts can complete at home

Merit badges for social distancing: 58 badges Scouts can complete at home

Mr Blair

Pancake Breakfast Update

I hope this update finds the entirety of the Troop 648 extended family healthy and safe. Thank you as always for your flexibility and patience as we work through short term and long term solutions for our Scouting program. Some of the Adult leaders got together to discuss options for rescheduling of the Pancake Breakfast. As the current crisis is still in flux, we did not set a firm date, but discussed potentially putting it off until the summer. That is not a definite time frame. As the current situation improves or worsens, we will shift our thoughts according – Semper Gumbi (Always flexible). If any of the Scouts have already acquired auction of raffle basket items, please hold on to those if able to. I would have them reach out to the individuals or vendors that were generous enough to donate with an update of the postponement, and a discussion if their donation can be held onto until a future date, or needs to be returned. My guess is the community will also be understanding of the circumstance. We will give more information on the date as things become more clear.

On another note, several Scouts have asked about advancement and Boards of Review and Merit Badges, etc. As many of these can be done virtually, and not in person, there are some that it is paramount that the “in-person” component be kept as is traditionally done. Any questions about that can be directed to myself, and I will try my best to answer right away and/or assist in the process.

As always in these updates I’ve asked for all of us to remember how important it is for us to continue in the Scouting way, and as a Scouting family. Please reach out to any of us if you or anyone you know in the community needs our assistance.

Mr Blair

A Message from our District Executive Matthew Hill

We are all living in an interesting time and as many of you likely saw earlier this week, recommendations were made to close the council offices for the rest of the month and to postpone in-person district and council events through May 15th. Following the closure of schools the recommendation was made for units to discontinue meetings as well. With that said, our Scouts and Scout families need our support now more than ever. We invite you to visit the Pinnacle Peak Facebook page “Pinnacle Peak BSA” where our District Commissioner, Adrionna Hatfield, and Commissioner team have been posting ideas on how you and your Scouts can continue Scouting. Here is a small sample of resources shared on the council website, for Cub Scouts and for Scouts BSA Troops. We also want to invite you to visit our District Webpage at

As we are facing many changes, your district team has been active in making sure that we have ways to support each and every one of you. Even while the Council Offices are closed, Scouting is not, and the District is not. Sometimes we simply need to hear from you to know what we can best do to support you. Do not hesitate to reach out to us. See our District Team main contacts below.

District Chair, Chris Smith,  

District Commissioner, Adrionna Hatfield,

District Membership & Relations Chair, Nigel Matson,

District Program Chair, Kevin Joy,

District Fund Development Chair, Mike Ferrar,  

District Advancement Chair: Brian Flynn,

District Training Chair, Dale Lewis,

As we have met throughout the week, we have made a few changes to upcoming meetings and events. Please take a moment to review those changes below. We thank you for your continued support and hope you can join us virtually over the next few weeks and in person as we approach this fall. You will notice Eagle Boards of April have been postponed to May. During this time, our project and packet reviewers will continue working with scouts, that information can be found on our district website under the “Life to Eagle” page.

Still Happening

·         April Roundtable “Fireside Chat”               Thursday 4/2/2020 through Zoom at 7:00pm

·         May Roundtable                                               Thursday 5/7/2020 through Zoom

o   To Include Recharter and Recruitment Training

·         May Eagle Boards                                             Thursday 5/14/2020 at Cross in the Desert at 6:30pm

·         Fall BALOO Training                                         August 29-30, 2020 at Pioneer Village

·         Cub Day Camp “R-Boo-C Adventure”       October 3-4, 2020 at R-C Scout Ranch

·         District Camporee                                           October 23-25, 2020 at Camp Geronimo

·         Fall IOLS Training                                              October 23-25, 2020 at Camp Geronimo

·         Winter Leader Specific                                   December 5, 2020 at Cross in the Desert


·         Spring BALOO Training                                   Scheduled on 3/28-29/2020, see Fall BALOO Above

·         April Eagle Boards                                            Scheduled on 4/9/2020, see May Eagle Boards Above

·         Pinewood Derby                                              Scheduled on 4/18/2020, Rescheduling TBD

·         Spring IOLS Training                                        Scheduled on 5/16-17/2020, see Fall IOLS Above

Once again we want to thank you for your support in Scouting and your willingness to help us in offering the Scouting program at this critical time.

Yours in Scouting, 

The Pinnacle Peak Key-3

Chris, Adrionna, and Matt

Matthew Hill, CNP | District Executive

Grand Canyon Council

2969 N. Greenfield Rd.   
Phoenix, AZ 85016-7715

602-955-7747 ext. 202

Troop 648 COVID-19 Updates

I hope this email finds all the families of Troop 648 well. I have some updates concerning our Troop schedule in relation to the ongoing changes our community and our nation are asked to undergo during this current crisis. If you haven’t heard yet, the Chaparral Christian Church announced Monday that it will close it’s campus for at least the next two weeks. Because of the new CDC guidelines, the AZ Department of Health mandates, and the Department of Education recommendations, we have decided to cancel the upcoming Troop meeting on 3/24/2020. We will continue to reassess the growing concerns and progress of the COVID-19 pandemic for updates of any future meetings, but this does look like it may have the potential to continue for a longer duration. Since there isn’t as much time to prepare and promote the upcoming outing in April, we will be postponing the April outing to Patagonia Lake indefinitely. With our busy schedule, this might be an outing that is unfortunately cancelled eventually. Our upcoming Eagle events will also be postponed. Sean Hart’s Eagle project for 3/28 has been cancelled and a new date is tentatively being worked on. I will update you all on that as it is confirmed. Also, Zane Gay’s Eagle COH scheduled for 3/29 will be postponed to a later date. More info when it becomes available. We will more than likely be postponing the Pancake Breakfast currently scheduled for 4/25. The committee will be discussing options this weekend, and I will let everyone know when a decision is made on the new date in plenty of time to prepare. And a last update, at this time, there is no information suggesting that the summer programs (Philmont and Emerald Bay) are effected, but we will be keeping a close watch on those and will share updates accordingly.

On a personal note, I hope everyone is staying safe and getting a chance to use this time to enjoy family and loved ones. If anyone in the Troop 648 family needs anything, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. Remember, we are a family too.

Mr Blair

Scoutmaster Troop 648

Troop 648 Meeting Update

Dear Scouts and Families,

After discussing with Pastor Kevin and Mr Benyi, and in light of the recent COVID-19 virus (Corona Virus) related global and community restrictions, we have decided to cancel this week’s Troop meeting (3/17/20). As always, the safety of all our Scouts, volunteers and families is our top priority. The State and National Council are monitoring and advising local Scouting programs through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although there has been no instruction from the Councils to suspend or cancel Troop meetings, we feel the recent suspension of Scottsdale School District classes and declaration of a National State of Emergency warrants us to consider discontinuing non-essential large indoor group meetings. Since these events will continue to rapidly evolve on a daily basis, we will reassess the local situation, and make a decision about future meetings on a week to week basis. Thank you for understanding, and for your patience while we continue to monitor the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. As is our practice in Scouting, our efforts are focused on preparation and responsiveness guided by official health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization. Remaining vigilant in hand hygiene and social distancing are some of the most important practices, especially in communities where there is confirmed community spread of the virus. Below is the BSA policies to help prevent the spread of illness:

BSA Polices to Prevent the Spread of Illness

The Boy Scouts of America continues to have policies and procedures in place that help protect participants from contracting an illness at large Scouting events. These include the Annual Health and Medical Record and the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist

Everyday Preventive Measures

Even with those important policies in place, it is critical that we all take these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Stay home when you feel sick. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after doing so.  
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve/elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.  
  • Do not share personal items such as cups, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 

If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate and not attend any Scouting events. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Please don’t hesitate to contact any of our Leadership if you have any questions.

Mr Blair

Scoutmaster Troop 648

Pack 316 Crossover

Troop 648,

We have a Webelo Scout who will be crossing over with his Pack. He will be joining Troop 648, and I would like 2-3 Scouts to be there with me and any other leader interested to Welcome him to the Troop. The Cross-over is on April 3rd at 6:30 at the Dreamy Draw Rec Area. I will be putting a calendar event in Scoutbook in order to sign up for it. Thanks

Mr Blair

Next Week’s Troop Meeting

Please be advised that next weeks Troop meeting – 3/17 will be held at the “Teen Activity Center” on the CCC campus. This room is located on the far Northeast part of the campus near the front parking lots. I will not be there next, but have a great meeting and I’ll see everyone in 2 weeks.

Mr Blair
Scoutmaster Troop 648

Dead Horse Canoe

There were nine in the party heading out this weekend for Dead Horse Ranch to canoe the Verde River – a hardy bunch that handled all challenges coming their way, and had a ball doing it. In other words, a typical T648 adventure! Mere minutes from their destination, a loud clang and subsequent smoke indicated we had a trailer problem. Worse than a mere flat tire, the axel bearings were shot, and the wheel unstable. The boys helped change the tire, and we wobbled the few miles remaining to our campsite. The next morning, a couple of handy adult leaders rounded up the only axel bearing assembly in the county, brought it back to do a field replacement in the campsite, complete with axel grease, and we hit the river with canoes on schedule instead of a lost day of repair shops which had been looming. The rapids were exhilarating, the water invigorating, and together with some football, advancement, excellent cuisine, gorgeous sunrises and sunset, and a warming fire complete with class stories including forensics, culinary, engineering, and robotics that had the adults eager to go back to high school, it was soon time to head back to the valley. But not before hearing around camp:

There’s a 5 sneeze limit. After that you need to ride in the back

This hoody is amazing – I didn’t have to look at you all night

The first time we fell in was fun. After that it was annoying

We should start a new program in T648 for adults called ‘feed the children’

A fine group of lads in search of a dead horse
Young arms make for quick trailer tire changes
The SS Minnow setting out that day on a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour
Looking sharp moments before capsizing in white water
Doing a good turn for 3 neighboring damsels in distress
Since we learned tire changing, let’s also learn engines

Sunrise Ski Trip Recap

At the Show Low cabin right before going back to the Valley

Wet… that’s it… nothing else.

Okay, maybe we can do a little better than that. Our troop headed up to the White Mountains on Friday night and we had our meal in Payson. Once we got up to the house in Show Low, we had a bit of a wait as the deadbolt lock wasn’t opening for us. After some time, an alternative ingress was found and all got prepared for skiing the next day.

On Saturday morning, we had a quick breakfast of pastries and caravaned up the mountain. On the drive up, as we got near 9,000 feet, we all got excited to see the snow start to fall. Once we got to the resort, we found out a couple of things:

  1. The falling snow was very wet.
  2. We were there during the THROWDOWN @ SUNRISE PARK RESORT. What this meant was that DJs would be playing loud music at the bottom of the hill ALL DAY! (our scouts may have enjoyed this more than this reporter).

Regardless of these things, the scouts and adult leaders got their passes and made for the runs. The good news is that after a bit of a rise in elevation on the lifts, the wet snow changed (the music also got a bit more bearable but I digress). The bad news is that it was a bit more like small hail/graupel. A bit of wind and the graupel would sting your face as you’d be going up the hill on the lift. Those that didn’t have masks found that their gloves would provide some level of protection from the abuse.

For lunch, Mr. Parizek did his usual wonder work on the grill with burgers and brats. He even finally had a reason to use the instant canopy as it had now changed to rain down in the parking lot. Many a skier was relieved to see the parking lot food and accommodations.

Some of our troop felt they’d had enough skiing for the day and some felt they weren’t wet enough and went back out for a few runs after lunch. The beatings by the hard snow and the wind had our troop leave a little earlier than when the resort closed for the day.

We retreated back to the house in Show Low wet and tired. Quick showers and a change of clothes were a welcome relief for all. For dinner, Mr. Parizek had a few of the scouts help with making chili, cornbread, salad and pudding. There were some games of hide and seek and cards afterwards.

Sunday, we awoke to snow and not that wet stuff that we had on the slopes. This was the dry snow that dreams are made of! Our scouts had trouble getting ready for our trip back down to the valley as they wanted to have a snowball fight.

I’m sure that many of our scouts would have loved to have spent at least another hour playing in the snow but it was time for us to head back to the warmth of Phoenix. The weather led to a very foggy decent down the rim but all returned to Phoenix relatively intact.

Another fun snow outing albeit a very wet one!

Dead Horse Ranch Reminder!

Hi Scouts,

We’re looking forward to a great outing at Dead Horse Ranch this weekend. We will meet at the church at 5 p.m. this Friday and plan to leave by 6 p.m. If everyone is on time, we can leave earlier. We should be back by 12 p.m. on Sunday.

See you Friday,