Scouting 500 Was Cool

The Scouting 500 was so cool. They had fireworks, a museum, army vehicles and police dogs. They had a blow up game called meltdown. We met the daughter of the founder of Boy Scouts. They had a Lego derby, bb gun shooting, and biking the speedway. The best part was 12,000 scouts came together as one.

Collin Doll

View Pics Here

Merit Badge University — March 2014

A quick break for our scouts.

A quick break for our scouts.

Twenty scouts attended our first merit badge program. It was held at the Lawrence Police Station at 15th and Wakarusa. Some of the classes were Citizenship in the World and Citizenship in the Community. Most scouts earned at least one merit badge. I learned a lot of new things and I think it was a great experience.

Alexander Arnone

New Eagle Scout Brett Carey

New Eagle Scout Brett Carey

New Eagle Scout Brett Carey

I’ve known Brett Carey, II since his first Monday night Scout meeting. Like all our Troop 53 Eagles, he has grown to be one of the finest young men I know and his Eagle Scout Board of Review in late March was the FIRST in the 2014 “Eagle Year” for our Pelathe District.

Brett has a positive, winning personality and is an effective leader in every group he joins, whether an official team or just a casual group of friends. He has been elected or appointed to several youth leadership positions within the Troop – for good reason – but that’s not how we know he’ll be an exceptional Eagle Scout. Brett’s come to understand the importance of living the points of the Scout Oath and Law – regardless of whether he’s in uniform.

He has already completed the Triple Crown of BSA High Adventure with a trek to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Sea Base in Florida, and the Northern Tier Canoe Base. He plans another Canoe Base trek this summer and has also attended the Tetons Adventure Base in Wyoming plus two summers at BSA Camp Alexander in Colorado.

Brett comes from a strong Scouting tradition – but he’s never taken his position, place, or responsibilities for granted. He’s among the first to help – not just his Scouting family, but also with his “civilian” friends. By his example, Brett Carey, II has already helped teach Scouting ideals to scores of kids. Along with how to keep a knife sharp, how to perform first aid, and how to stay safe, Brett’s been quietly at work showing others they’re unconditionally accepted for who they are, sometimes for the first time.

Brett’s Eagle project was both unusual and interesting. Working with Assistant Scoutmaster, Brian Van Schmus, and members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, he planned, researched, and restored a small plot of graves at the Franklin Cemetery near the K-10 East Hills Business Park outside Lawrence. The Sons of Union Veterans’ research has determined that two Union soldiers from the US Civil War are buried in Franklin Cemetery. Brett’s eight-member work crew cleared brush and weeds, completed some landscaping, repaired and re-set tombstones, trimmed trees, and built a new aluminum fence around the cemetery plot. They also placed an informative plaque on the fence to share the story of the people buried there. In the course of the project, the crew unearthed and then re-set another tombstone in the cemetery that had been covered over, likely for many years.

From the perspective of an appreciative unit leader, Brett is exactly the kind of young man who helps make our Scouting program strong – it happens whenever one of the younger boys he’s taught and befriended has chosen to follow his outstanding example by doing his own good turn, daily. Almost 16 and currently a sophomore at Free State High School, he is an honor roll student and is taking Advanced Placement classes. Brett also lettered in swimming last year as a freshman at Lawrence Free State High School.

He volunteers at the LINK nutrition kitchen and the Lawrence Humane Society. As a member of the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Lawrence, he also participated in a Summer of Service mission with the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas. He traveled to Germany last summer for an extended family reunion and is planning an academic trip to England in the summer of 2015 with his AP English Class. Brett told his Board of Review that after high school he plans to major in Forestry or Wildlife Management to prepare for a career that will keep him outdoors as much as possible; however, he shared that he might also be interested in a US Foreign Service career. The value of serving on Philmont staff might also have been mentioned during his Board of Review …

I was honored to serve on Brett’s Board of Review along with Dr. Charles Loveland, Troop 53 Old Goat alum, Brian Van Schmus, current Assistant Scoutmaster and Troop 53 alum, Dr. Steve Segebrecht, current Assistant Scoutmaster and Life-to-Eagle Chair, and District Representative Rich Bailey – an all-Eagle Scout Board for the Pelathe District’s newest Eagle Scout, Brett Carey, II.

Kip Grosshans
Chartered Organization Representative, BSA Troop 53

Troop 53 Chili Feed – February 2014

IMG_2535Once again everyone had a good time at the 2014 Troop 53 Chili Feed.

Thank you all for working hard to make our once a year fund raiser successful!

Check out the pictures from the day.

Chili Feed – 2014




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.