Update on Eagle Scout Hamilton Lewis

In a recent issues of Adventures in Scouting, our own Hamilton Lewis was featured in “Where Are They Now?” Included is the beginning of the article.

Growing up in on a farm in Western Kansas, Hamilton Lewis was drawn to movies like Back to the Future, Star Wars, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. His passion for visual storytelling, along with a love for the great outdoors, led Hamilton to creating an informational video for his Eagle Scout project to aide new students at Lawrence Free State High School.

While earning a degree in Computer Animation and Digital Film from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota Florida, Lewis created an animated short, Cadillac ’59, and was named a finalist for a 2009 Student Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Lewis, now 27, has worked as a previsulization artist (cinematographer) at DreamWorks Animation for almost 5 years on animated blockbusters that include How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda 2, Rise of the Guardians, and DreamWorks’ newest film, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which will be released this March. Hamilton has been hard at work for the past year and a half on DreamWorks’ next animated feature, Home, hitting theaters November 2014.

You can view the PDF of the February / March 2014 issue of Adventures in Scouting here. The full article on Ham is on page 15.

You can also watch Lewis’ short Cadillac ’59 on YouTube here.

February Campout 2014

At the range!About 15 brave souls attended the February campout at the Fraternal Order of Police shooting range near Lone Star Lake. It was our first time camping there, and we’ll surely return again if possible. The day started out pretty cold, but the sun came out a bit and the snow began to melt making for a wet and muddy day. The boys made the most of it, firing a couple thousand rounds of .22’s and playing a pickup football game. Saturday night got down to about 20F, with a full moon and lots of coyotes yipping though out the night. A few boys learned the importance of packing extra socks and other dry clothes for sleeping!

Thanks much to Mr. Corey and Mr. Stuart for administering the shooting range. A couple of boys earned their rifle merit badge!


View some fun pics here.

Troop 53’s Newest Eagle Scout Matt Mitchell

Matt MitchellI vividly recall Matt Mitchell’s first visit to Troop 53 when he was a second-year Webelos Scout. I was helping with a relay game for our visitors – a game planned without any alternate plans for a Scout who might not be able to see detail – and as I was worrying whether we’d be able to successfully include Matt, this 10 year-old not only helped organize a couple of easy modifications, but kept the game fun for everyone else with his wisecracks, can-do attitude, and contagious smile. Needless to say, we’ve never “worried” about Matt’s disability in the several years since – we just make sure he’s in a position to use his exceptional abilities to help us all.

Matt’s ability to organize his thoughts and explain complex ideas were put to the test last Thursday evening, January 23, as he successfully passed his Eagle Scout Board of Review and – for about 9 minutes – was the newest Eagle Scout in the world.

Matt’s Scouting progress and his work through the various ranks has been thorough, precise, and timely – and he’s always been able to keep both his school and Scouting commitments in balance. In fact, “committed” and “balanced” are excellent ways to describe Matt Mitchell on any number of levels. I’ve seen him as an exceptional friend and resource for others who might be experiencing difficulties; Matt makes himself available (often sacrificing his own plans) and doesn’t count the cost. In addition, Matt’s maturity and good judgment are evident after a very short time – his balanced responses in a variety of situations always help others keep their focus and move to resolution quickly and effectively. He’s an excellent organizer and leads by his own example; once you’ve been taught how to tie a taut line hitch by Matt Mitchell, you never forget.

Matt’s a junior at the Kansas School for the Blind in Kansas City – he’s also their Student Council President. Although he’ll graduate in May of 2015, he hasn’t decided whether to move directly to college or take a transition year to help make decisions about where to attend and where he’ll focus his academic program. He told the Board of Review that he hopes to work with children with disabilities, possibly as a teacher, possibly as an advisor. Matt’s been on the KSB track team, competes in Forensics, and enjoys goal ball with friends. In the past, he worked part-time at Bradley Animal Hospital exercising and calming pets and serves as a volunteer mentor for young teens at Envision, Inc. in Wichita. He has helped with the Jubilee Kitchen in Lawrence and confesses to contributing to neighborhood noise playing drums in a garage band.

Matt’s been elected or appointed to just about every leadership position in Troop 53, but his “Sheepshank” nickname is most appropriate when he’s teaching a group of our younger Scouts the basics – and a few finer points – of knot tying. I wish you could see the faces of the boys in those sessions – he has their undivided attention while they all have a great time together. Matt knows the position of trust he holds as a member of the youth leadership and he was honored with Order of the Arrow election, currently active as a Brotherhood member of Tamegonit Lodge.

Matt’s a Camp Alexander veteran – navigating “Cardiac Hill” with skill and ease – and has been on staff at the Heart of America Rotary Camp for the past two summers, planning on more. He spent a good deal of time explaining his staff responsibilities at Rotary Camp for the Board of Review members; what an excellent example of servant-leadership – and no doubt the reason that he’s drawn to teaching or advising as a profession.

His Eagle Scout Service Project is collecting good turns right now. The pair of very sturdy tables which are prominent in the outdoor plaza at KSB were very well-received by the staff and students. We encouraged him to have a Braille and lettered plaque prepared so future students and teachers would know that Matt Mitchell “did his best” while he was a student there.

Honored to serve with John Harman, David and Jeanne Williams, and Rich Bailey on Matt’s Board of Review. Special thanks go to Steve Segebrecht as Matt’s Life-to-Eagle mentor – the smile never left Steve’s face as Matt began to describe all that Scouting had given to him. After a long and busy day, we all agreed that hearing Matt’s answers to some complex questions on important topics was exactly the tonic we needed. Many congratulations to my friend, Mr. Matt Mitchell – someday, maybe soon, I’m going to be able to say, “I knew him when … “ and that makes me smile.

Kip Grosshans – Chartered Organization Representative

94th Annual Troop 53 Chili Feed

Troop 53 94th Annual Chili Feed

Troop 53 94th Annual Chili Feed

Bring your friends and family to the 95th Annual Troop 53 Chili Feed! Only $5 per ticket for the best chili, chili dogs, beef or vegetarian vegetable soup and a slew of delicious deserts. Yum!

It will be at the 1st Methodist Church, 946 Vermont (Downtown), Lawrence, Kansas, from 11 am to 7 pm.

Purchase tickets from a 53′er you know or purchase them at the door.

Please share with friends and family through Facebook. Or heck, just give them a call. See you there!

Download the flyer here.

Fun Had By All At Ski Trip

Ski Trip 2014

Ski Trip 2014

This year’s ski trip was a super fun event. I (as well as pretty much everyone else) could not have been happier to come on this trip. While we were there, everyone had a great time with their friends skiing and tubing. Some of us started out bad skiers and some were already great but either way we all improved. And by the end we couldn’t get enough of it. There were different slopes and paths to try, which made it really hard to get sick of it. Very few of us wanted to stop but when we went from skiing to tubing I was also very exciting.

Tubing was a whole different experience and it seemed like there was even more variety. We went down the tubing slope by ourselves, in small groups, in large groups, in long line. Most of us were practically devastated when we had to leave. It is without question one of the most fun experiences I have had in scouts, and I would do it all over again.

Calvin “Hobbs” DeWitt

More Pics Here

November Campout at Camp Jayhawk

Camp Jayhawk November 2013

Camp Jayhawk November 2013

We enjoyed a perfect November campout at Camp Jayhawk. The Boone campsite was new to our troop, located right next to a small lake and nestled in the trees so that we weren’t exposed to the gusty winds. We had a bright full moon, as well as a storm front with lots of lightning at the same time.

The younger boys enjoyed building a monkey bridge, while the older boys got to experience the new rifle range and test their skill with .22s at fifty feet. Mr. VanSchums successfully crossed the monkey bridge to demonstrate that the structure was “Scout worthy”.

Mr. Benkleman and Steward found a few minutes to fish in the lake.

We look forward to another November with such fine weather. And the Jayhawks pulled off a victory to boot!

That’s my story. I would be happy to have anyone add or improve it.


Pics can be found here.

Belated Post for Camp A 2013

Camp Alexander 2013

Camp Alexander 2013

Overall this year was a good year at Camp Alexander. Although, it got a little chilly getting down into the thirty’s some nights, we all managed to stay warm. Overall I think the kids had a great time. Many of the kids earned merit badges. All of the first years earned their swimming merit badge. Sadly, none of the third years were able to get their wilderness survival merit badges due to in climate weather on the night they were supposed to sleep in their shelters. It was a great time and place for astronomy as there were no clouds and no moon. On Thursday the third years went on a white water trip. The water was high so it was great, and we only had one person fall out of the boat. We all had a great time even though almost every day it rained. Thankfully no one got sick or injured except for a few minor cuts and scrapes. So onto what you’ve all been waiting for — the pictures!

Click here for Camp A 2013 Pics from Finch.
Click here for Camp A 2013 Pics from Festus.

Philmont: July Crew #2

Philmont Crew #2

Philmont Crew #2

10 days, 70 miles, 19 Pro Bars. That’s what it took for crew 2 from Troop 53 to complete their Philmont experience. The high points (literally) were Mt. Phillips and the Tooth of Time. When not scaling peaks the crew shot black powder rifles, climbed Urraca Mesa, learned search and rescue, went fly fishing with flies they tied, went on a horseback trail ride, shot .30-06 rifles with cartridges they reloaded themselves and won the Crooked Creek Poo Flinging Competition.

-Brian Van Schmus

Matthew Siler (Crew Leader)
Ross Chumbley
Tyler MacMurray (unfortunately left on day 5 with ankle injury)
Anthony Van Schmus
John Eldridge
Justin Siler
Devin Van Schmus

Luke Lesslie
Trenton Shambaugh
Bryan Chumbley
Brian Van Schmus

View some pics here!

Philmont: July Crew #3

Philmont: July 2013 Crew #3

Philmont: July 2013 Crew #3

Philmont treks are intended to challenge all participants physically and mentally. My crew would agree that our experience over the last two weeks would be considered challenging, but it would also be considered the trip of a lifetime. Our expedition, 712-G-03, backpacked Philmont’s Itinerary 7. This trek took us throughout most of the South Country, and through part of Central Philmont. We traveled 63 miles over the course of eleven days and ten nights. The trek had us travel to many different places, spending nights next to the Agua Fria River at Fish Camp, or on the Summit of Mount Phillips. We took side hikes to the top of the iconic Tooth of Time, Cypher’s mine and to Ute Gulch to collect food. After eleven days, one giant mountain, two bears, two lightning storms, many hacky sack games, and countless breathtaking sights, we were more mature, and functioning greatly as a crew. Philmont is rarely easy and at many times frustrating, but it is an experience that everyone will look back on fondly.

-Ethan Kallenberger

Crew Members

Barry Benkleman
Will Benkleman
Josh Burrichter
Spencer Conard
Ivan Davidson
Ethan Kallenberger
Jim Kallenberger
Gabe Magee

See more pics here from Crew 3’s trip to Philmont.

Hondo Pics

Gabe Magee Pics

Summary from Philmont — July Crew #1

Trek #19 – 80 + miles…traversing North and South country at Philmont.

Despite long hikes, seemingly endless uphills, and downpours of rain, crew 712-G-01 had a fun and memorable trek. From challenge courses to spar poling the group squeezed in as many programs as they could after hours on the trails. Along with programs they also took day hikes on several different occasions: summiting Baldy Mountain, viewing the sunrise at Inspiration Point, and, the general favorite, climbing the Tooth of Time. Before heading to bed every night the crew followed the practice of doing their thorns, roses, and buds. Many times these were comical and humorous, but also, at times, they were deep, heartfelt, and thoughtful. No one member could have made it without the help of the entire crew and the wise, almost holy, teachings of Ranger “Lord” Daniel Wolf.
-Ryan Liston

Members of Crew 712-G-01:
Alex Clabaugh
Carson Gilliland
Mason Gilliland
Patrick Liston
Ryan Liston
Brian Morris
Jay Morris
Sean Morris
Jennifer Shambaugh
Mike Shambaugh

View some July Crew #1 pics below!

Le PoZer Pics

Shambala 1 Pics

Shambala 2 Pics