Monday, April 26, 2010

Everything was up to date in Kansas City

Tribe of Mic-o-Say dancers entertain in Overland Park
From time to time I am prone to travel on behalf of Jewish Scouting, one of my major life commitments. Because of my extensive knowledge on a number of subjects and because people know I am interested in promoting the cause, I will be asked from time to time to make presentations related to Boy Scouts and how Jews may interact with it effectively. The Central Region of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting was holding its bi-annual Jewish chairs conference just outside Kansas City, Missouri in Overland Park yesterday and I was asked to be a part of the all-day session. My topic was on Ten Commandments Hikes, which I have led in my own council since 2004. As it turned out, one of the keynote speakers, Life Scout Matt Riessen, fell ill and organizers asked me additionally to speak to the afternoon crowd that was expected to attended the community Jewish Religious Awards presentation. These affairs, chaired by local Jewish Committee on Scouting chair and host for the Central Region's conference, Dr. Norman Kahn, are also held every two years. Nine Cub Scouts in attendance were acknowledged as having earned their Maccabee and Aleph religious emblems, while four Boy Scouts were congratulated for having earned their Ner Tamid religious emblem. One older Boy Scout not in attendance was called out for having completed requirements for his Etz Chaim religious emblem, a feat that is quite commendable. Several local religious school teachers were commended for their work in helping the boys achieve their religious emblems. Also, one of the adult leaders of Boy Scout Troop 61, a non-Jew, received the Shofar Award for his work with that troop chartered to a Jewish institution in the area. It is rare that such an honor is afforded to a person not affiliated with the Jewish faith, but the National Jewish Committee on Scouting recognizes that oftentimes the efforts of non-Jews will encourage and enable Jewish Scouts to earn their own religious emblems. Following the presentation of religious emblems and the Jewish religious award, attendees were treated to a performance by the Tribe of Mic-o-Say, a regional honor society of adult Scouters and Scouts that encourages Native American dancing similar to the Order of the Arrow, the youth led organization that is the national honor society of the BSA. The long program of different dances was captivating to the audience members, especially the Cub Scouts who took to the center of the floor of the social hall of Kehilath Israel Synagogue, where all of the events of the day took place. The competitive nature of the dancers was such they all gave spirited performances, the top youth performer receiving special recognition from the audience. At the end of the all-day session nearly a dozen adult leaders had received training that they will take back with them to their respective councils. A final tip of the Scouting cap to Central Region Vice-Chair Cheryl Baraty and Milwaukee Jewish Committee on Scouting co-chair Kim Queen, who organized the training sessions:

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