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Something Else: We're always looking for stories about Scouting

by Eric Marotta | Editor Published: August 10, 2016 12:00 AM

A longtime Scoutmaster told me the dining hall at Camp Manatoc in Peninsula was built nearly 90 years ago out of wormy chestnut. It was wood from trees that had been killed by the chestnut blight of the early 1900s, and subsequently attacked by insects.

Chestnut wood is known for its resistance to decay, and a lot of history hangs from the dining hall's wide beams, where plaques from various Boy Scout troops are marked, year-by-year, to denote attendance at summer camp.

I had been invited to speak to leaders of the Boy Scouts of America Great Trail Council regarding how to publicize their activities in the newspaper. The meeting was attended by about two dozen who were there to discuss ways to bolster Scouting participation.

While I couldn't speak for many of the publications in the Great Trail Council's area -- Medina, Summit, Portage and the northern part of Wayne counties -- I was able to give some general guidelines that would apply to just about any club or community group.

While my presentation was a bit more detailed, I said the foremost consideration is to establish a relationship with whichever staffer is responsible for handling news releases and other such things one wants to publicize.

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With Record Publishing Co. weekly newspapers, that person is the editor and all you have to do is call or email. The editor will guide you on how to submit your information -- generally by email, but your information can also go online, on our website, or be shared on Facebook and Twitter. The same holds true for any group trying to get its name out in the community.

The Scoutmasters I spoke with were very attentive, and some even took notes, which is a pretty encouraging thing for a speaker to see.

I always enjoy the drive along Truxell Road past Appalacian Outfitters, down into the valley.

Though I didn't grow up in Northeast Ohio and never attended Camp Manatoc as a young man, I have been out there a few times as a member of the North Eastern Ohio Orienteering Club, so I'm familiar with the setup and facilities.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Orienteering is a sport featuring land navigation with a map and compass. Camp Manatoc and adjacent Camp Butler offer excellent opportunities to set up compass courses, as the club does both for Scouts and the general public. (See more at NEOOC.COM.)

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The twin camps have nice, steep hills typical of the Cuyahoga Valley, but also some wide meadows and a couple of lakes I'm sure are great for swimming and canoeing.

The Great Trail Council serves around 10,000 boys in more than 300 units, ranging from Cub Scouts, to Boy Scouts, Venturing units and Explorer Scouts.

Back in the 1970s, when I was in high school, I joined the Explorer Scouts, were we went on amazing trips to wilderness areas in the desert and mountains overlooking Death Valley, as well as kayaking and fly fishing in the Sierra Nevadas.

Mike Panasiti, assistant director at the Akron office, told me that the sort of adventure outings that we had done back in the 1970s are now the province of the Boy Scouts Venturing program -- which also happens to be coed. Now that is a surprise!

Exploring is now geared toward career development, which explains police and fire explorer groups in many area communities.

My only recent experience with Scouting has been with the newspaper covering local events such as annual Pinewood Derby races and other various activities some Troops have let us know about.

On the other side of Scouting, Macedonia is home to the headquarters of the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio. That organization spans 18 counties, from Ashtabula west to Sandusky, and south to Tuscarawas, Carroll and Columbiana counties.

Like the Great Trail Council, GSNEO also has a camp in the Cuyahoga Valley. Just north of Camp Butler, on the other side of Route 303 and Boston Run, is Camp Ledgewood, which according to the GSNEO website is in line for a multi-million dollar renovation.

As with the Boy Scout camps just to the south, Girl Scouts are enjoying the warm summer weather.

As with the boys, we at the paper like to cover what local Girl Scouts are up to -- we're always looking for good stories.

So, like I told the Scoutmasters in the wormy chestnut hall, send me an email, or call me.

At the very least, we'll be happy to get your announcements in the paper.

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433




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