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Aklan District Smoke Signals
December 2013 

Dear Aklan District Families!

Happy Holidays!!  This month there is no Roundtable or District meeting.  However we are holding a Fireside Chat with our Council Leadership this Thursday, December 19th at 7 p.m. at the Moraga LDS Church. Please join us.  Michele Poloka - mpoloka@berding-weil.com or 925-262-3613.
Camp Cards:  We are looking for vendors for the 2014 Camp Card. As a district we would love to have a card local to the Lamorinda area. If you own your own business, or know of any businesses that are friendly to scouts, we would love to include them on our 2014 Camp Cards!  We are hoping to have a joint camp card with Iron Horse which would spread out our area to Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill as well.  Please contact Michele Poloka with any ideas - mpoloka@berding-weil.com or 925-262-3613.
Advertising at LEAD 2014 (Leadership Education and Discovery).  Please consider advertising in the LEAD 2014 program.  We anticipate 400 scouters attending and this is a great opportunity to help Scouting and to get your business known.  Or, do you have a leader or a scout you wish to acknowledge, you can do that here too!  Please see the attached flyer for more information.  Also attached is the 2013 Program for your review.  Please submit payment and camera ready art to Michele Poloka.  mpoloka@berding-weil.com  925-262-3613


Watch for a second email with Troop Open House information. 


Michele Poloka
Aklan District Chair

The next Smoke Signals will go out on January 15th.  Please submit your announcements to Sylvia Jorgensen at kickinghot@hotmail.com by the 14th with 'Smoke Signals' in the Subject line.

newschedPlease make note of the NEW Aklan Meeting ScheduleRound Table

Click here for a printable calendar.

District Committee meets at 6:30, December 19th.

No Commissioners or Roundtable this month. 


Moraga LDS Church located at 3667 Via Granada, Moraga 

YPTAs always....

A Youth Protection Training Reminder, Everybody:   


All adults are asked to take a moment to do the Youth Protection Training.   Let's all get this done right at the beginning of the school year.  Let's try to get Aklan District 100% Youth Protection Trained. 

It only takes about half an hour...
You never know when you might need to step up to drive to a camp or help out at a meeting.  Please do this now.

openWe need YOU!

The District Committee needs your help.  We have many positions available - big and small.  Our District Committee meeting is Thursday, December 19th - come by and check us out.  6:30 p.m. at the Moraga LDS Church.

This is a great way to be part of Scouting especially for those whose scouts have graduated.

Michele Poloka - mpoloka@berding-weil.com or 925-262-3613.

recharterRecharters Now Due!

Recharters are due to the Council Office by 12/31 at the very latest.  If you are having problems online or have reasons that you are delayed, please contact Joe Squeri at aklan@bsa-mdsc.org or 674-6122.  He can even arrange to pick up the recharter from you!

 New for 2014:  The registration fee for youth and adults will be $24.  The optional but highly recommended Boys Life subscription fee remains at $12.  Keep in mind that you will be asked for a Friends of Scouting donation in January.  The registration fee goes to National and the FOS donation supports local expenses and is seperate.


Detailed instructions will be in your packet but here are some highlights:

Use Internet Rechartering available through your MyScouting account under Unit Tools.

The required access code will be on labels on the front of your packet envelope.  Every unit has a different access code.


Every adult must have a current (within two years) Youth Protection Certificate.

Internet Rechartering allows you to "submit to the council" only one time.   After submitting, the only feature that you may access is the one that prints the renewal application. This is available until the unit access window closes.  Once finished with the online portion, you will submit these paper documents:


Charter Renewal Application printed from the "Congratulations" screen signed by the Institutional Head and the Unit Leader.


All signed applications for new adults and youth and Youth Protection certificates for adults.

Signed Annual Charter Agreement.  Check for the appropriate amount.


If you have any questions, please contact Joe Squeri at aklan@bsa-mdsc.org or 674-6122.


JTEJourney to Excellence JTE logo

Please tell us how you are doing!  If you have not already turned in your JTE scorecard, please do so by 12/27.  We need one scorecard turned in by each unit.  Please send it to Joe Squeri at aklan@bsa-mdsc.org.   If you have questions or problems, please contact your Unit Commissioner, or contact  Joe at 674-6122.
Check these out!
JTE Pack
JTE Troop
JTE Crew
Scouting's Journey to Excellence

duesIncrease in membership dues   


In case you didn't see it, the 2014 dues have gone up to $24 per each Scout and each Adult Volunteer.  Please be sure to include this in your Unit budgets.


foodScouting For Food!!


Thanks to the many Scouts who distributed the door hangers last month - you did a great job!  Many thanks to Tom Oviatt for overseeing this important endeavor!  



Tour Plans


Our council's Risk Management Committee has had a long-standing policy of requesting that packs, troops, teams, crews, ships, and posts  file a tour plan (formally known as a "tour permit") for any activity that is held away from their normal meeting place.   This gives a "paper trail" to let our insurance carrier know that an outing is indeed a Scout trip and not just a group of families getting together and that the carrier should provide the secondary coverage in case of accidents (and primary coverage in case of liability-assuming that the unit follows the Guide to Safe Scouting and other Scouting policies outlined for outings). 


The Tour and Activity Plan FAQs answers a lot of questions regarding the process: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/healthandsafety/tourplanfaq.aspx


Some points to note:

Council and district events have documentation to prove they are Scout events, and participants are

covered.  It is still a good idea for  units to file a tour plan, as the process helps the unit prepare for unfortunate accidents or other obstacles to a safe and fun outing.


A plan needs to be completed "At a council's request".  Our risk management committee has erred on the side of caution, as it is wise to reduce the reasons for not being covered in an unfortunate mishap.  Some leaders will point out that other councils don't require a tour plan unless an activity is in another zip code/outside council boundaries/etc.-those leaders can risk their personal policies if they wish.


If families transport their own child to an event, their coverage by BSA insurance does not kick in until they reach the event site.  Their family insurance policy is responsible for travel to and from the event. 


The on-line process allows information to be saved.  It is a simple process to recall past data to populate a new tour plan, so the committee member is not creating a document from scratch each time.




Cooking Merit Badge to Join Eagle-Required List Jan. 1 

Significant changes are coming to the Cooking merit badge. First, this badge will become Eagle-required beginning Jan. 1, 2014. In addition, there will be a major overhaul to the requirements, which will take effect January 1, 2015.

The addition of the Cooking merit badge to the Eagle-required list means that, regardless of when a Scout earned the Life rank or began working on the Eagle Scout rank, he must earn the Cooking merit badge to become an Eagle Scout (unless he fulfills all the requirements, except his board of review, before Jan. 1, 2014).
As for the changes to the requirements, they'll appear in a revised merit badge pamphlet that will be released during 2013. The new requirements then become effective Jan. 1, 2015, with the release of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765.
Scouts who have already earned the Cooking merit badge are not required to re-earn the badge under the new requirements in order to qualify for the Eagle Scout Award  


Eagle Ranks in your Unit's future?  

Not sure of current Eagle Project requirements?Eagle Scout Logo no background


Schedule a Life-to-Eagle informational meeting with District Advancement volunteers who know the process and can give current information to your Eagle candidates, Eagle coaches, and families.


Contact Bonnie Hazarabedian, Aklan Advancement Chair 


(925) 376-5272


 trainingTraining Highlights Trained patch

Paul Shimotake, Aklan Training Chair

Mark your calendars!



LEAD 2014 (SAT, 25JAN) @ DVC -   

The LEAD registration site is now live. 


The cost is $45 for adults and $10 for youth attending the Venturing classes or Trainer's EDGE. 

Staff will need to enter "staff2014" to get the $10 staff discount. 


Try the LEAD webpage first - http://bsa-mdsc.org/training/adult/leader-education-and-discovery-lead


The site currently states $45 until January 15, then $60 January 16 on.  Please download the pdf schedule and course catalog.   If they then select their classes before they begin their online registration, the process will be quick - and less chance of errors. 


Paul Shimotake

Course Director, LEAD 2014

(925) 285-3764

Be one of Scouting's superheroes.  Increase your superhuman strength thru training. 

Check out the Schedule of Courses and Course Descriptions

(http://www.bsa-mdsc.org/sites/default/files/2014%20LEAD%20Schedule.pdf &


Cost: $45 (includes a full day of classes; patch, continental breakfast & lunch)

Hurry and register online for best selection.  (http://bsa-mdsc.org/training/adult/leader-education-and-discovery-lead)

Questions?   Paul Shimotake (925-285-3764; ScoutOathLaw@gmail.com)



Youth Protection and Hazardous Weather Training are valid for TWO years.  Recharter is the perfect time to check eveyone's expiration dates.  Go to MyScouting.org to check the trainings were last completed.   The Troop Committee Chair should be able to view thru the "Unit Training Detail" - the training status of all adults registered thru the Unit.  If YPT or Hazardous Weather has expired or will expire in 2014, then place renew your training.



There are only a few spaces left for Scouts, Varsity and Ventures that would like to participate on the Winter NYLT Course that will be held at Camp Herms in February.  Registration is underway on the Council website, http://www.bsa-mdsc.org/training/youth/national-youth-leadership-training-nylt on a first come first serve basis.  Once the course reaches capacity, registration will continue to take wait-list candidates to replace any participants that need to withdraw



Wood Badge draws from the best leadership models in America and applies them to training our youth on how to lead. The training covers two weekends (Sept 12-14 & Oct 11-13, 2014) at Camp Herms, followed by the practical application of the leadership skills to your Scouting position.   Course size is limited to 48 participants so register early to secure your spot.   Cost is only $245 and includes course materials, T-shirt, food and campsite.  Questions?   Paul Shimotake (925-285-3764; ScoutOathLaw@gmail.com)






January 10-11, 2014           HAT Core - Required course for all other HAT courses.

January 25, 2014                 LEAD 2014

February 4,11,22-23, '14    HAT Cold Weather Camping - Okpik

February 8-9, 2014              Wilderness First Aid (Required for all BSA High Adventure Treks)

February 15-17/21-23 '14   Winter NYLT

March 4, 22-23, 2014          HAT Advanced Cold Weather Camping - Okpik II

March 19, April 11-12 '14   HAT Basic Backpacking

April 5-6, 2014                      Wilderness First Aid

April 12, 2014                       BALOO (required for Cub Overnighters)

April 12-13, 2014                  Outdoor Skills For Webelos Leaders (Required for the Webelos Leader Training Knot)

April 12-13, 2014                  Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (Required for SM/ASM, Coaches & Crew Advisors)

May 6,31-June1, 2014        HAT Paddle Sports Awareness

June 16-21, 2014                 June #1 NYLT

June 21-22, 2014                 Wilderness First Aid

June 23-28, 2014                 June #2 NYLT



ventureVenturing Training! venture logo

Venture Leader Specific Training (VLST) and Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC) will be offered by the MDSC VOA (Venturing Officers Association) on November 9th at the Council Office.  VLST is the required training for Venturing Advisors, and ILSC is for the youth members and leaders.  Click for more information.

CubCub Recruiting


We would like to help our Aklan Cub Scout Packs recruit more Cub Scouts!  We are trying to plan some Spring and Summer events to attract new families to Scouting.  We would like to bolster your Dens with new Scouts and your Packs with new parents to help- wouldn't that be great!  If you have any ideas for an event or location, or ideas on how to communicate to new people, or would like to volunteer to help with an event, please contact Joe Squeri at aklan@bsa-mdsc.org or 674-6122.  Boy Scout people: you can help too!  Your Troop depends on new Cubs joining Scouting!


Aklan needs new cub camp directors for the 2014 camp !!!  Contact Joe with your interest. 




FOS Friends of Scouting - Pledges, Donations, and Volunteers. 
FOS pays for camperships for scouts whose families can't afford to pay, programs, safety, camp up-keep, the council office, insurance - the things we sometimes take for granted.

Action step this month:  FOS Unit Chairs and let the families in your unit know to expect this annual request.

Units:  Who will be the Unit FOS Chair in your unit?
Would you like to be the FOS Chairperson for your unit this year?  Contact Sylvia.
Lafayette and Orinda:  Zone Chairs will be Tom Williams and Sylvia Jorgensen (Sylvia will also be the District FOS Chair).
Moraga:  Who will be the 2014 Zone Chair?
Please email your unit chair name, email, and phone to Sylvia at sylvia_deaton@ml.com.  Thanks to all the units who have already done so!!!

Everyone, please plan for this as everyone will be asked for a $250 pledge per scout in January.  Please pledge what your family can afford over the course of the year in January....the thing is that we ask that everyone pledge some amount for 2014 and make the FOS Unit Chair task a quick and easy one.

Finally, Thank you, Aklan District, for your generosity, time, and talent.

Scout Night!

Warriors vs. Boston Celtics

Friday, January 10, 2014
7:30pm  |  Oracle Arena

Calling all Scouts! Join the Golden State Warriors in celebrating Scout Night on Friday, January 10th at 7:30pm as they take on the Boston Celtics!

All scouts will receive a commemorative Warriors Scout Patch and are invited to shoot a postgame free throw on the Warriors Court! Groups of 15+ are eligible for additional savings.

For questions, or to purchase your Scout Night tickets, please contact Nick Smith at (510) 986-2247 or via email at nsmith@warriors.com.  Tickets are limited only 800 left.

Scout Night! 

We're happy to announce the A's SCOUT DAY event will be back for the 2014 season! This year's event is scheduled for Sunday, June 1st vs. the LA Angels. Once again, the event will feature a special pregame festival, parade, and scout day patch.


Group tickets are now on-sale. To reserve a group, all that is required is a 10% deposit. Please feel free to call me directly at 510-563-2373 to get started!  Mason - 510-563-2373

trooppics Lafayette Troop 243 


Lafayette Troop 243 Hikes Mission Peak 


Continuing their Rim of the Bay circuit, Scouts from Lafayette Troop 243 backpacked up Mission Peak in early November. At the summit, the group was rewarded with views of Mount Hamilton to the south, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, Mt. Tamalpais to the north, and Mt. Diablo and the Sierra Nevada to the northeast. In camp, just below the summit, the newest scouts worked on rank advancement under the guidance of older Scouts. After dark, a second hike to the summit 

offered spectacular views of city lights. To see more photos, visit www.troopmasterweb.com/troop243.




Send in your unit's stories and pictures.   

kickinghot@hotmail.com with Smoke Signals in the Subject Line. 

Troop 224, Christmas Tree Lot 2013

Open now, daily 9 am to 9 pm, On Mt Diablo Blvd - between the Lafayette Reservoir and the Community Garden

We have the freshest trees in Lafayette - Delivery available in Lamorinda for a nominal fee.


$$$ raised supports scout training, activities and service projects.

Salute to Troop 237

A double thank you to scouts of Orinda Troop 237 from the Orinda Chamber of Commerce! 

Have you seen those beautiful wreaths around town in Orinda?  Reider M. led the troop activity that was sponsored by the Orinda Garden Club.

The scouts led by John N., set up the risers and escorted Santa Claus at the annual Orinda Hospice Tree Lighting ceremony.

Thank you!
Sylvia Jorgensen, Orinda Chamber of Commerce 

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Joe Squeri
Mt. Diablo Silverado Council, Boy Scouts of America
Please submit your articles for Smoke Signals by the tenth of the month with "Smoke Signals" in the subject line to jsqueri@bsamail.org