Changes to Northern Illinois and Indiana Councils

Posted on August 1st, 2014 in BSA Info,Hobby News,Hobby Trends by ramore

Received this update from Central Region:

August 1, 2014
To:                          Central Region Executive Committee
                                Central Region Area 7 Committee
                                Chicago Area Council Key Three
                                Three Fires Council Key Three
                                Northeast Illinois Council Key Three
Des Plaines Council Key Three
Calumet Council Key Three
Blackhawk Area Council Key Three
Rainbow Council Key Three
Northwest Suburban Council Key Three
                                Central Region Area Directors
From:                    Brian Williams, Central Region President
                                Reid Christopherson, Central Region Commissioner
                                Al Lambert, Central Region Director
After much research, discussion, and deliberation, the Central Region Executive Committee has adopted a multi-phase approach to the realignment of councils in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana Metropolitan area.
As Phase One, the geographical territory currently being served by Northwest Suburban Council, Chicago Area Council, Calumet Council and Des Plaines Valley Council will be assigned to a new council that will be created within the boundaries of these four councils.
It is believed that this new council, operating within these approved boundaries, will successfully position Scouting in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana Metropolitan area for the future.  This new council will be constructed and fully operational by early in the first quarter of 2015.  Until that time, the four legacy councils will continue to operate and should continue to provide the services necessary to support their Scouts and families.
The Central Region Executive Board will provide interim governance and support for the newly created council.   National Executive Board member Ray Wood has been appointed to lead our support of the legacy councils during the transition.  Ray’s committee will include representatives of both the National Executive Board and our Regional Board.  Deputy Regional Director Fred Wallace has been appointed to lead the daily operations of the new council during the build out and will replace Matt Thornton as interim Scout Executive in our legacy councils.    You will hear from Ray and Fred shortly.
Phase Two of the project will begin later in 2015.  During this phase we will look at the councils and the territory surrounding the new council and will continue to explore the best alignment of communities aligned to provide strong Scouting programs to more youth.  Some of these could include:
·         A review of the territory served by the Rainbow Council including potential consolidation, collaboration and/or shared resources.
·         A review of the territory served by the Blackhawk Area Council, Three Fires Council and Northeast Illinois Council which could include discussions of consolidation, collaboration, shared resources, and boundary realignment.
·         A review of the Wisconsin and Iowa territory included in Area 7 and Area 3 to determine if those counties are being served in the best possible manner.
·         Other areas of review as determined.
While there will be much to discuss as the new council is built, we look forward to the Area 7 committee engaging with you to insure that every youth has an opportunity to join a strong program this fall.  This is surely the Main Thing…more youth across Area 7 experiencing the fun and adventure of Scouting.  Mike Duffee and Ernie Froemel continue to provide strong leadership to Area 7 – please count on them.
A sincere thank you is extended to the multitude of volunteers and professionals that have participated in the consolidation talks the past two years.  Your input was invaluable throughout this process.

Southern New Jersey Council merging into Burlington

Posted on November 24th, 2012 in BSA Info,Hobby News,OA,Shoulder Wear by ramore

From long time collector Ted Packer, also former Council President for Burlington County Council:

Southern New Jersey council has merged into Burlington County Council. The vote by both councils was on the 19th. It will be effective on 1/1/2013. We will be choosing a new name in the near future & the OA Lodges will be combining by the end of 2013.


Posted on August 31st, 2012 in Hobby News,Hobby Trends by ramore

Made another road trip to pick up another Boy Scout estate. Its what we do. Full-time. Now, I’ll suggest the reason we end up with so many estates is that we handle all areas of Scouting collectibles so we can see value where others don’t. As in this estate there was very little cloth and virtually no OA pieces but there were some VERY interesting pieces of non-patch memorabilia. So, if you are thinking of selling your Scout patches or collectibles – give us a call at 734-434-TSPA (8772) or e-mail us at

OA Pressuring GNYC Lodges to Merge?

Posted on November 9th, 2011 in BSA Info,Hobby News,OA by ramore

Right now this is in the rumor mill but the OA National Committee is following through on its policy one charter – one lodge. The biggest outlier in this is Greater New York Councils which is technically one council but each of the burroughs operate with a lot of autonomy and they each have their own lodge several being some of the oldest in the country (e.g., Ranachaqua 4 and Shu-shu-gah 24). Anyone have any more knowledge about this situation either to confirm or refute?


Sorting Through 1,000s of Scout Patches

Posted on October 10th, 2011 in Hobby News,Hobby Trends by ramore

Working through the collection consigned to us in August we’re going through the next step after photographing each item. Thoughts include: fun, interesting, exciting. And….drudgery. First you break it down by 100s or alpha, then into 10’s, then into individual lodges or councils or camps or…..

Several years back Bill Topkis posed this question to me as we were working up parts of his and Dr. Morley’s collection, “How many patches have you (Roy) looked at?” I didn’t have a ready answer. First thought was over 100,000. But as Bill reflected that this is way too low. That his and Jeff’s collection had over 20,000 issues plus duplicates. He figured he  had looked at several 100,000 patches over the years and patches area a hobby for him, not a business.

We’re quickly closing in on our quarter-millionth picture for listings, auction and web-site. That’s 250,000 patch pictures. That’s just from 2003. Many of those pictures are group shots. Many more patches were looked at but never pictured or weren’t in our hands.

At a jamboree or NOAC it is common to look at over 4,000 patches/day even though we have fewer councils and fewer lodges. Going through a multi-1,000 patch collection can be just an afternoon project. A good trade-o-ree can mean looking at 10,000 patches/day. This isn’t even counting eBay viewing.

The fun part with this collection is seeing so many new issues even though I’ve been on several Jamboree and NOAC staffs. The other thought that comes to mind is how well the patch armorers are doing, i.e., the patch manufacturers. We the collectors have been part of the problem as we start putting different borders on everything whether justified or not.

So back to Bill’s question-easily half-million and may well be a million plus. Its one of the reasons we were asked to take over Blue Book. Oh well…back to sorting.

Shelley on Choby N/C slides

Posted on August 15th, 2011 in Hobby News,Jamborees,Podcasts by ramore

At the recent Calutmet TOR we hooked up with ISCA OA column editor Bruce Shelley. Bruce is best known in the hobby for his articles, along with co-author Dave Minnihan, on Order of the Arrow issues and trends. But as we blogged previously many of us have side collections that interest us just as much. For Bruce it is the woodcarver Ed Choby hand carved slides.

Here’s our video interview with Bruce. As background, Ed Choby was one of a small group of expert wood carvers that produced slides based to ‘Slides of the Month’ in Boy’s Life for others. His name appears on many slides. I consider these slides, and many of the Boy Scout slides, as excellent examples of America Folk Art.

If it does not pop-up, you can go to YouTube here.


Potentially Exploding Scout First Aid Kits

Posted on June 23rd, 2011 in BSA Info,Hobby News,Insignia by ramore

Fellow Scout patch dealer Richard Shields, the Carolina Trader, sent me an e-mail that as he says, “is humorous if it wasn’t so serious.”

I received a call on Sun. night that I thought at first was a joke but
later found out the lady was dead serious.  Below is an article from a
Colorado paper in regards to the first aid kits.  The ones from Johnson
and Johnson made during the 1930-40s have gauze pads with an ointment on
them that crystallizes over time.  Those crystals are explosive.  The
lady from NC had her pads blown up after they evacuated her neighborhood
for four hours.  She said they made a pretty good pop. If you having
any, call your local authorities.

Checking an article from the Denver News they reported the following:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Springs Police Department’s Hazardous Materials Team and Regional Explosives Unit was called out to a fire station Sunday because of concerns about the safety of a an antique Boy Scout first aid kit.The owner of the kit was concerned that kit may contain a small amount of picric acid and brought the kit to Fire Station 5 in Colorado Springs for disposal.The hazmat and explosives team remotely removed the hazard to a safe location and destroyed it, officials said.

Same Chemical Causes Other Evacuations

Picric acid was found in an antique Boy Scout first aid kit at the Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs earlier this month. The museum was evacuated while the bomb squad and firefighters removed the material.

The same chemical was found in a historic doctor’s bag last month in a warehouse in the Lowry area of Denver belonging to the Colorado Historical Society, said society spokeswoman Rebecca Laurie.It too was picric acid, so the Denver bomb squad and a fire hazmat teams were called in to remove the acid.

“Sometimes, our researchers do come across chemicals in these kinds of medical hits or chemistry kits, things that were donated a long time ago,” said Laurie. “If they’re not sure what it is, they’re trained to call 911.

“Picric acid was stocked in pharmacies in the early 1920s as an antiseptic and as a treatment for burns, malaria, herpes and smallpox.

Live Blogging the Jambo – the ‘Black Flag’ jambo

Posted on July 24th, 2010 in Hobby News,Jamborees by ramore

Destry and I are working Jambo staff again this year. This time at the Merit Badge Midway – Collections merit badge (type casting I know but we do have a passion for this area with LOTS of give aways and cool things to do.) I’ll be trying to post happenings and events as our web connection permits.

Now why the ‘Black Flag’ notation – because of the heat. Its 103 degrees with a heat index of 115 degrees. Ouch and dangerous. It will be a challenge all week long.

Heard that the opening show guest will be Department of Defense Secretary Bob Gates (also a Distinguished Eagle, Silver Buffalo recipient and past National Executive Board member). This is a great choice.

We’ll also be set-up at the Eagles Lodge trade-o-ree, the listing is in our TOR calendar and a PDF is here:


We’re bringing our TOR tubs, over 30,000 items, whether to find that long lost patch or extra trading dupes at deep discount prices. We’re working with Mitch Reis who will be handling sales when we’re not there so even during Jambo time there will be a lot to choose from.

There is another TOR I believe at one of the Ramada Inns but I don’t yet have the particulars on that one.

eBay Spoof Spamming Mail Boxes Today

Posted on July 13th, 2010 in Hobby News by ramore

Last night we were hit with a half-dozen or so of spoof eBay e-mails titled:  Payment request from

We recorded a payment request from “eBay” to enable the charge of $666.10 on your account.

The payment is pending for the moment.

If you made this transaction or if you just authorize this payment, please ignore or remove this email message. The transaction will be shown on your monthly statement as “eBay”.

If you didn’t make this payment and would like to decline it, please download and install the transaction inspector module (attached to this letter).

These are a scam. DO NOT DOWNLOAD and INSTALL the “transaction inspector module.” We forward these e-mails to so they can track them down and stop it.

Off and running – 100th Anniverary Patches Ramping Up

Posted on February 8th, 2010 in Camps,CSP,Hobby News,Hobby Trends,Insignia,Jamborees,JSP,OA,Rank by ramore

Last week I was at my Scout office for a meeting and stopped by the trading post. They have the new boy rank patches out commerating the 100th anniversary year of the BSA. I think these are neat but the quality control is poor. There are at least three major varieties in this group alone. Some appear to have been made by the BSA. Others have ‘Made in China’ stickers on the back. The latter is a separate sore point but we’ll leave that for another blog. Anyway, variety collectors are going to have a field day figuring these out. I’m told there’s an Eagle patch as well but I’ve not seen it. I’ve also been told that Scout shops are to have returned their inventory of the regular items so as to be replaced with these 2010 pieces.

Then Destry and I went to the Indy TOR this past weekend. Their hospitality was great as always (except for the 9″ of snow.) Several councils now have out 2010 patches. That got me asking around how many items do you think we’ll have for the 100th anniversary? By “items” I mean regular issue pieces – CSPs, JSPs, OA items. I’m figuring it will be up to 5,000. Could be more. And this is not counting camp and camporee items or Jamboree staff items. One could spend a lifetime just to collect this year. Also, I was hearing quotes for “rare, limited edition” varieties at huge prices. Councils and lodges could kill a good thing. If you know of some egregious abuses, please pass on the comment. Thanks.

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