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Duffle Bag – April 2022

Climbing new heights promotes teamwork, physical activity, and fun with friends

Climbing new heights promotes teamwork, physical activity, and fun with friends

By Terry Pogue,


It’s always a great day when you and your friends are in the woods on one of two a GSLAC Challenge Courses! Beaumont Scout Reservation in High Ridge, MO, and S Bar F Scout Ranch in Knob Lick, MO, is home to these fantastic experiences.

Led by trained instructors/facilitators, your group will face a series of challenges in the woods that will take teamwork to master. The key to success is the group’s determination, creativity, and skill. Your mission may even include the entire group scaling a 12-foot-tall wooden wall! And remember, physical strength and fitness are not a basis for achieving success on the course – it’s TEAMWORK!

After the group determines how to work as a team, it’s time for individual challenges. Be cheered on by your teammates as you climb 30 feet into the trees! To cap the day off, ride a zip line or rappel face forward to the ground from a platform high in the trees.

The excitement and fun do not end with the challenge courses, and GSLAC offers two wall climbing options to switch up the challenge.


Participants will ascend the vertical natural rock wall by finding and gripping handholds. Three unique climbing routes present various challenges and offer great views of the forest. Your trained partner is positioned at the bottom of the wall and maintains the safety rope attached to your harness as you climb.

Experiencing a summit at the top is a thrill for climbers of all ages! Climbing on the natural rock cliffs at S bar F is available to Scout BSA troops and Venture Crews.


Climbing straight up the thirty-five to forty-foot vertical wooden walls using the climbing holds is a challenge for Cub Scouts, Scout BSA, and Venturers. Climbing routes range from simple to demanding, requiring climbers to be almost upside down before submitting!

The GSLAC climbing towers located at Beaumont Scout Reservation, Camp Lewallen, and Camp Warren Levis welcome Cub Scouts, Scout BSA, and Venturers. A wood climbing wall experience will be a memorable day for Scouts and parents alike!

Scouting: On the forefront of Conservation

Scouting: On the Forefront of Conservation

By Chad Deschane

Since 1910, conservation and environmental studies have been an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts have rendered distinguished public service by helping to conserve wildlife, energy, forests, soil, and water.

In a recent survey by Ypulse, respondents identified mental health concerns as their topmost concern, with communication skills and networking not far behind (Wendell 2022). The health effects of being in nature and the study of its processes are well documented and critical to youth and adults' development.

BSA offers several awards that specifically address conservation needs which, when paired with advancement activities, enhances the outdoor experience. Simple projects are usually available for all levels of Scouting at our Scout camps, parks, and nature preserves in your community. It is often as simple as asking a BSA Camp Ranger or caretaker.

As we enter into spring and celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Scouts across our area will be completing projects to benefit their community. It's also an opportunity to showcase the benefits of nature and get your Scout outside to soak up some sun. Who knows, maybe you have a budding conservation leader in your midst?

Will you encourage and join them?

BSA Conservation Awards Section


Wendell, B. (2022, February 16). Notice anything about this list of skills Gen Zers wish they were learning in school? Scouting Magazine. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2022/02/16/notice-anything-about-this-list-of-skills-gen-zers-wish-they-were-learning-in-school/

The History of Beaumont Scout Reservation

The History of Beaumont Scout Reservation

The first article of a series

By Joseph Sartorius, Ph.D.

In upcoming articles I invite you to join me in my journey as we leave Beaumont Scout Reservation Road and traverse the property. Through observations and artifacts we will explore the 2500 acres from prehistoric times through the Osage Indians Tribe, Precolonial settlers, the American Civil War and many other topics of natural and historic interest.

As a small child I loved walking through creeks looking for crawdads, fossils and arrow heads.  Over time, I began to see shapes and patterns that helped me to collect them.  This developed my passion for finding things and learning about the past.  The following article is the first step in an effort to map the past from prehistoric times to present day at Beaumont Scout Reservation.  A quote from over 4,000 years ago in ancient Egypt is “Sharing knowledge is the greatest of all callings.  There’s nothing like it in the land.” – Satire on the Trades

How did Beaumont Scout Reservation come to be?

We begin in 1942. The Ranken estate became the property of the U.S. military.  Much of the land was used for munitions storage and testing.  However the Lodge remained the property of Webster Groves Nature Study Society and it was open to members during the war.  Two factors led to the Lodge not being used.  First was that many members of WGNSS were serving in the war effort.  In addition, during the war, gasoline was rationed.  Most people could not afford to waste gas on a long distance trip to the Lodge.

At the end of World War II, part of the Ranken estate, and that included the WGNSS Lodge, was acquired by May Department Stores Co. and subsequently donated to the Boy Scouts of America.  In a formal ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 1949, the Lodge was officially turned over to the Boy Scouts.  J. Marshal Magner spoke about the Lodge and what the entire estate meant to the members of WGNSS.  He stressed the variety and abundance of wild things in the area.  He asked the scouts to cherish the cabin and the surrounding lands as WGNSS had done for 20 years.  The tone used and choice of words chosen left little doubt that the lodge and surrounding lands were now Scouting’s responsibility to protect and conserve.  The keys to the Lodge were accepted by Mr. Norfleet Rand, major donator to the St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.  Once acquired, the Boy Scouts, renamed the property Beaumont Scout Reservation.

Editor note: Future articles will highlight an augmented reality technology project in partnership with Missouri Humanities Council and an interesting story about the Tomahawk Trail.

Ranken Estate Cabin

The Entomological Society’s cabin on the Ranken estate (currently Beaumont Scout Reservation, Tyson Research Center, West Tyson County Park, Lone Elk Park, and Jay Henges Shooting Range Conservation Area)1

The Pandemic and Mental Health of our Youth

The Pandemic and Mental Health of our Youth

By Devon Fortner

Licensed Clinical Social Worker from CHADS Coalition for Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in various ways, especially children and youth, which are crucial stages of development. Although more research is needed regarding the long-term impact of the pandemic on youth mental health, experts do note the research points towards increased levels of anxiety, depression, irritability, and anger in youth during this time. For those concerned that their child’s mental health has been suffering (whether associated with the pandemic or not), you can pay attention to some changes in mood and behaviors.

  • Changes to note in your child
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, irritable, nervous, worried, on edge, fearful, anxious
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Decreased interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns: eating or sleeping a lot more or less than typical
  • Changes in energy: more tired than usual or restless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Outbursts, acting out, or risky behavior
  • Substance use
  • Exhibiting thoughts or behaviors related to suicide or self-harm.

It is crucial to speak with a doctor or a mental health professional before jumping to a diagnosis with any of these symptoms noted. Diagnosis or not, if youth are experiencing any of these symptoms, it could be helpful for them to seek support. Parents can help open up this conversation.

Tips for engaging teens in mental health conversations

  • Choose a good time to open the conversation where you can engage fully—avoid times when either of you is emotionally activated, and pay attention to how receptive your child is to the discussion.
  • Provide nonjudgmental observation of any changes noted and normalize the experience.
  • Utilize active listening—try to listen with your full attention to understand what your child is saying.
  • Validate any emotions shared and avoid minimizing what they disclose.
  • Ask for their opinion on what they think they need or how you can help them. If they are unsure or unable to voice precise needs, provide recommendations such as seeking out a counselor or talking with a pediatrician for further guidance.

After this conversation, it may seem overwhelming to determine where to best turn for help. Below are some local and national resources for crisis lines. In addition, speaking with your child’s pediatrician or school counselor for referrals to area therapists could be helpful. CHADS Coalition for Mental Health also provides individual and group therapy services for youth experiencing anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Additionally, CHADS warm line is available at (314) 952-8274, where you can speak with a clinician to discuss services or obtain additional area resources matching your needs.

This article was written by Devon Fortne, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker from CHADS Coalition for Mental Health. CHADS is named in honor of Marian & Larry McCord’s son Chad, an Eagle Scout who died by suicide on April 15, 2004, at 18. CHADS mission is to save young lives by advancing the awareness and prevention of depression and suicide. Marian McCord

128 Miles & Counting

128 Miles and Counting!

The Greater St. Louis Area Council has many hiking trails available at any of the 6 camping properties but sometimes you just want to get outside, get active and take a walk to enjoy the Spring weather.  Enter

Great Rivers Greenway.  They are working to make the St. Louis Region a more vibrant place to live, work and play by developing a network of greenways to explore and enjoy. With more than 128 miles of greenways constructed, there is probably one near you, making it easy to live more of your life outside!

Here are five treks suggested by the folks at Great Rivers Greenway!

Busch Greenway: Duckett Creek Trailhead to KATY Trail

Begin your walk at the Duckett Creek Trailhead in Missouri Research Park. Follow the greenway towards the KATY Trail. When you reach the KATY Trail go left; follow the KATY Trail until you reach the path that connects to the walking and biking path on the Boone Bridge. Turn around and head back to Duckett Creek Trailhead. Plan your trip here.

Centennial Greenway: Shaw Park to Old Bonhomme Road

Start your walk at the Shaw Park Trailhead. Follow the greenway until you reach Old Bonhomme Road. Turn around and head back to the Shaw Park Trailhead. Plan your trip here.

St. Vincent Greenway: Missouri History Museum to Etzel

Begin your walk at the Missouri History Museum at Forest Park- walk around the museum and then cross over Lindell at the traffic light on the east side of the museum. Follow the greenway all the way to Etzel Ave. Turn around and head back to the History Museum.  Plan your trip here.

Mississippi Greenway at Cliff Cave Park

Begin your walk at the Trailhead in the upper section of the park on Cliff Cave Road. Follow the greenway down the hill to the overlook and check out the amazing view! Walk back up the hill from overlook and take a left to follow the paved greenway to the lower section of the park. After you cross the bridge over cliff Cave Road, take a left. You will continue downhill, passing by the mouth of the cave! Continue on the greenway down the hill towards the River. Cross the railroad tracks and go left to follow the loop trail. Once you make the loop take a left and walk towards the large pavilion by the river. Enjoy the river view and then reverse your route and go back up to where you started! Plan your trip here.

Sunset Greenway at Sunset Park

Start your walk or ride in Sunset Park. Follow the paved greenway down the hill, all the way down to the river, where the paved trail ends. Enjoy the view of the Missouri River! Head back up to the parking lot and follow the paved path along Sunset Park Drive until you reach Hazelwood Northwest Middle School. Turn around and head back to the parking lot in Sunset Park for a 3.14 mile walk! Plan your trip here.

For more information on Great Rivers Greenway go to : https://greatriversgreenway.org/

Scouting – Behind the Lens

Scouting – Behind the Lens

GSLAC is fortunate to have 20 individuals dedicated to capturing scouts in action. Photographers attend events all over the Council to capture the mission of Scouting. You can find the team's photographs in the service centers, Council publications, Boy's Life, and Scouting Magazine.

The diverse selection of photographers and their backgrounds bring various perceptions to each event. No two photographers are equal, and each has a unique approach guaranteeing no two images are the same.

Photographers may capture an event on their own or work in a team. Events like the annual Council dinner and major campouts are often team events, where two to twenty photographers branch out across the event to capture the images of Scouting. We work as a team, capturing images assigned to various activities and areas across the site. Often the photographers trade activities and locations to get multiple images from multiple photographers. The photographers work hard to capture images that represent the mission of Scouting.

Photography is considered the art of capturing light, and today's digital SLRs have more than 20 settings that can affect the quality of the final image. The team leads reviews, edits, crops, corrects color, and adds keywords for each image. The Council uses over 300 keywords in 9 categories, and it's not unusual to assign ten or more keywords to a single photograph. Keywords provide a quick way to retrieve photos from the collection.

After each event, the images appear on the GSLAC Flickr account. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stlbsaphotos/albums

Here are a few guidelines while capturing scouting images:

  • Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes; there's more interest in closeups than scene photos.
  • See faces, expressions, eyes open
  • Shoot action events and avoid posed photos.
  • Seek out mentoring moments where older Scouts work and teach younger Scouts.
  • Capture the emotion in a Scout's face.
  • Snap the photo when a Scout is smiling or concentrating.
  • Document the humor and fellowship between Scouts
  • Be aware that Scouts come in all sizes and shapes and capture them all.
  • Catch 2-3 scouts having a good time.
  • Photograph Scouts in uniform or class B attire for visual recognition of the Scouting program.
  • Capture adult volunteers diligently working to keep our Scouts safe.
  • See interesting projects or activities
  • Represent the true diversity in Scouting
  • Get on their level

If you enjoy taking photographs and want to work on a team, please contact Bruce Levitt, BruceALevitt@gmail.com 314-348-3577.

The Power of Kindness

The Power of Kindness

By Polished

When we are the recipients of kindness, we feel valued, we feel happy. Kindness can be a simple, thoughtful gesture, and these acts of goodness can leave us with lasting joy and learning opportunities. Say, for example, a friend treats you to a burger, or a classmate holds the gym door open for you, or your math teacher pays you a compliment for a great tennis game. Whatever the act, you, undoubtedly, feel good, valued, and respected. That’s the beauty of kindness. It yields powerful “feel good” feelings without the expectation of anything in return.

Now think for a moment when you extended kindness to someone else. Perhaps you celebrated a friend’s birthday by decorating his or her locker, or maybe you helped mom or dad make dinner, or you phoned your grandmother for no reason to tell her how much you love her. Doing a good deed for someone else likely “warmed” their heart – and filled your heart with joy, too.

Studies say when we show kindness to others, it boosts our serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being, which make us feel good. Kindness is powerful. It breeds happiness, which in turn breeds success. What’s more, it can be contagious, leaving you and others to pay it forward again and again.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

                                              ~ Mark Twain

Kindness has no limits. No matter your age or gender, kindness has the power to build character as well as relationships. When our kind actions affect others, we also feel more confident, worthy, compassionate, and self-aware. Individuals who exhibit kindness regularly tend to have stronger relationships with friends, teachers, coaches, and even their parents.

We live in a fast-pace, technology-driven world with commitments and responsibilities, which can add stress to our lives. Remember, we have the power to take a step back and use our self-regulation skills to help us from overreacting and saying or doing things we regret. By keeping kindness in the forefront, you will properly navigate your actions in an appropriate, respectful way.

Everyone can boost their kindness efforts. After all, it’s a win-win and has lasting value. Follow these five tips to be a leader in kindness.

It Begins with You
Show you care for others by investing time in getting to know others in your troop or class. What are their interests, hobbies? When you show interest and kindness to others, you both will feel more socially connected. You’ll develop a bond that will yield trust, respect, and friendship.

Support Others
Life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good. Congratulating a friend when he or she experiences a “win” is not only the right thing to do, but it also enriches your relationship. The same support holds true if your friend is going through a tough time. Kindness can be the pick-me-up they need, and they will feel ever-so grateful for your support.

No Judging, No Blaming
Kindness does not judge or blame. To err is human, and we all make mistakes. Practice empathy and the art of forgiving. Your character and integrity will shine brighter for doing so.

Inspire Others
Kindness is contagious and can inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Take the kindness lead and be a source for others. You’ll be surprised how your thoughtfulness will empower others to do the same.

Engage in the Golden Rule
If you treat others the way you want to be treated – with respect, trust, kindness, and
gratitude – you’ll set the gold standard and be a role model for others. This behavior of excellence is not only expected of you, but it also often leads to growth opportunities.

Practice Kindness
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with an overloaded homework/activity plate, and kindness may be put away in our mental file cabinet as we grind out the work. Being self-aware of our emotions will help offset the stress, which will allow us to be more mindful of our behavior. We can still focus on our schoolwork and activities, but our self-awareness tells us to do so with patience and kindness toward others.

Contact Polished. today to fine-tune your soft skills in your educational journey for success.

What Do I Need To Go Fishing For The First Time?

What Do I Need To Go Fishing For The First Time?

Michael R. Brand-BSA Certified Angling Instructor

Fishing is a great way to spend a day. Some folks fish for sport or relaxation, while others fish only for food. One of the joys of fishing is that it can be fun and productive at any skill level.

You can complicate the sport with jargon and sophisticated equipment, but the whole sport can be pared down to some basics.


Learn just one or two fishing tips or techniques at a time, such as how to tie a clinch knot or how to bait your hook, then build your knowledge from there. This is an excellent publication- An Introduction to Fishing and will present the basics to you.


Now that you know how to fish go online to find conservation areas where you can put your skills to use. The free "MO Fishing" app will help plan your next fishing trip. Try it now!


Everyone over the age of 15 and under the age of 65 must have a permit to fish in Missouri.


Learn how to identify the fish species in your local waters so that you can read, understand, and follow your state's fishing regulations. This will include species size limits, bag limits, and special fishing rules or regulations for seasons or specific waterways.


You might start by borrowing some equipment from a relative or friend to begin fishing. Your request could lead to a fishing outing with an experienced partner.

You could also use equipment from the many Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) rod and reel loaner locations

Most beginners use spin-fishing equipment, and you can pick either spin-casting or open-faced reels. You will want a good, all-purpose rod-and-reel combination to start with— something that will let you catch fish of all sizes. A medium-light rod from 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 feet long and a matching reel that will handle lines from 4-pound test to 12-pound test.


While live bait may be collected and used for fishing in some areas, there are regulations about what may be used for bait and how it may be collected. Also, live bait is prohibited in some fishing areas.

Do not dump your unused bait into the water. Unused live bait of all types should be disposed of in a trash dumpster when your fishing trip is over. Otherwise, unwanted animals and plants can invade local water, damage habitat, and ruin fishing.

So now you know you know, so start fishing today!

Randy Hetz Joins Second Century Society

Randy Hetz Joins Second Century Society

Longtime Scouter, Randy Hetz was welcomed to the Second Century Society by Scout Executive Joe Sadewasser at the River Trails Round Table meeting on Thursday, September 2. The Second Century Society is for individuals who make an outright cash gift of $25,000 or more or an estate gift of $100,000 or more. Randy, a vigil member of Order of the Arrow, Silver Beaver recipient, and 52-year member of the trail guides has been involved with Scouting nearly all of his life. In fact, it is a family commitment for the Hetz family. His late brother Ron, his son Ryan, and grandson Gabriel are Eagle Scouts, and his grandson Max is a Life Scout working towards Eagle. You can often find Randy volunteering at Beaumont Scout Reservation.

When asked why Randy chooses to support the Greater St. Louis Area Council at a significant level, he said, “I have been a Scout since I was 8 years old. The Scouting program means so much to not only myself but to my entire family. The values and leadership instilled in youth through Scouting lasts a lifetime. Today, more than ever, our young people need those tools. I am happy to support GSLAC and do whatever I can to help make a difference in the good work they do.”

“Gifts of this nature not only allow us to do the life-changing work today, but create a lasting impact for Scouting in the future,” said R.J. Crunk, Chief Development Officer. “Donors like Randy understand the significance these kinds of gifts make. We are so grateful for all that Randy and the entire Hetz family have done for our Council.”

Have Photos or Videos You Want To Share

We are always looking for photos and videos of Scouts out having fun to use on social media and in our various publications.  Go to the Digital Submissions page to upload your files!