Merit Badge Counselors

Merit Badge books c 1960sYesterday I ran a list of Boy Scout merit badges available in 1965, along with a gallery of merit badge books my brothers and I collected over the years. Today’s post will have a list of every counselor registered with the Shawnee district in 1971, and a little about the counselor’s role.

It’s interesting to read through the list of counselors. The men who volunteered for the job included some of the top in their field: names like Hal Lehman (Architecture), Jake Wells (Art), Weldon Hager (Athletics), Lawrence Bahn (Atomic Energy), John Seesing (Aviation), Bill Ewing (Music and Bugling), Fred Wilferth (Citizenship in the Nation and Scholarship), Ed Blummenberg (farming badges), Earl Siemers (Dairying), Dr. L.W. Hathaway (Dog Care and Pets), Tom Holshouser (Drafting), Milton Ueleke (Electricity and Electronics), Sheriff Ivan McClain (Fingerprinting),  Henry Ochs (Fruit and Nut Growing and Gardening), John Blue (Journalism), Dr. W.O. Seabaugh (Horsemanship), Claude Foeste (Landscape Architecture), Richard Flentge (Swimming and Lifesaving), Harry Siemer (Personal Finances), Dr. J.A. Kinder (Personal Fitness, Wildlife Management and Public Health), B.W. Birk (Plumbing), Bill Nowell (Photography), Clarence Suedekum (Salesmanship), James L. Garner (Sculpture), Larry Grisvard (Theater), and Calvin Brennan (Wood Carving).

What was a merit badge counselor?

1971 Merit badge counselors 01The counselor was an adult who had a specialized field of knowledge who could determine if a Scout had met all the requirements for a particular badge. The official rules make it clear.

You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated—no more and no less. You must do exactly what is stated in the requirements. If it says “show or demonstrate,” that is what you must do. Just telling about it isn’t enough. The same thing holds true for such words as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” and “collect,” “identify,” and “label.”

Contacting a counselor could be scary

1971 Merit badge counselors 02The scariest – and, to me, most valuable part of the process – was when you had to screw up your courage to set up an appointment with someone who might be a prominent citizen in the community. When you got there, you were generally pleasantly surprised to meet someone who had a real interest in the topic you had picked, and was more than willing to share that knowledge.

That’s not to say that some counselors weren’t tougher than others. Dad wasn’t afraid to tell a boy that he needed to schedule another appointment because he didn’t meet the requirements. That, too, was an important lesson.

Mass production Eagles

1971 Merit badge counselors 03Troop 8, sponsored by the Trinity Lutheran Men’s Club, didn’t have many Eagle Scouts when I was in it. We looked up at those who had attained the rank with awe. Part of that was that we felt that it was a rank that was best achieved by an individual who was motivated to make those “scary” calls on his own.

There were some troops in the area that we perceived to be “mass-production Eagle factories” that brought in counselors and ran boys through the merit badge process in groups. Even as young boys, we could see the difference. Our perception might have been wrong, but our Eagles were numbered in the ones, and other troops had them by the tens.

Obligatory confession since a Scout Is Trustworthy: I never felt I deserved my Horsemanship merit badge that I earned at Camp Lewallen. I think everybody who signed up for the course and paid for the riding time passed it. I was about as good at riding a horse as I was at dancing. I read everything in the Horsemanship merit badge book, but the horse and I were never on the same page at the same time.

Times have changed

1971 Merit badge counselors 04I met with all my counselors on my own. Generally, my folks would drop me off, and I’d call them for a pickup when we were done. That’s not how it’s done today. The official policy:

You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be another Scout, your parents or guardian, a brother or sister, a relative, or a friend.

The list of counselors

Here’s the rest of the list. Finding a counselor for Citizenship topics, Cooking, Electricity or Photography was pretty easy. I don’t know what you’d do if you wanted to earn Textiles, Skiing, Small Boat Sailing or Pottery. Click on any photo to make it big enough to read, then use your arrow keys to move around.

 

Central High School Marching Band

Wife Lila and I spotted some great clouds when we left dinner Thursday night. My car’s still at the transmission shop, so she’s driving a rental car. After shooting a dozen or so frames, I asked her to follow my cryptic directions to get to the new Central High School. When I passed it on I-55 the other night, I noticed the stadium lights were burning, so I thought maybe I could get a shot with them in the foreground and the neat sunset in the background.

When we got close enough to see the field, we noticed activity on the field – it was the Central High School Marching Band practicing for their September 2 opener. [Click on any photo to make it larger.]

You can’t beat a three-fer

I had been thinking all day that I should do something to commemorate the first day of school. Here was a chance to get the first day of school, the new football stadium and a weather shot all at one time. (I’m saving the earlier cloud shots for filler when I’m on my way back to Florida.)

Lining up to practice last routine

I got there just as the sun was setting and the band was getting set to practice their last routine. I’m pretty sure I recognized some of the kids from the Sikeston-CHS football game I shot last fall.

Band alums keep eye on practice

Former band members Billy Keys (seated) and Josh Lamar keep an eye on the green troops.

Band boosters like what they see

The woman in the front row, second from left, said she had three grandkids on the field.

Human lightning rod

When I first got to the stadium, there was an occasional flash of lightning in the clouds way off in the distance. It was far enough away that you couldn’t hear the thunder. Still, I was a bit uncomfortable as I was making my way across the metal bleachers. That’s when I spotted the human lightning rod at the very tip-top of the press box. I figured it would get him before it got me, and I felt a little better.

The lightning rod turned out to be veteran band director Neil Casey.

Casey’s in 29th year

Casey has been band director since 1983. This is his 29th and final year, he said. He followed Bill Ewing, Tony Carosello and William Shivelbine.

Megan Peters, color guard coordinator, said that her group had been practicing together since July.25. The band started August 1. They explained that the musicians received their music earlier, so they could start working on their pieces individually. Megan’s group has to be able to work together on their routines.

Marching Band Photo Gallery

Here’s a gallery of photos of band practice. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

“Bye, Bye, Birdie” 1967

One of my photos illustrated a an April 7, 1967, Margaret Randol feature on “Bye, Bye, Birdie” on The Missourian’s Youth Page.

The caption read, Bruce Huebel, Gary Sides, Richard Harter and Charles Holt, who are playing Shriners in Central’s “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” look up in confusion at Rosie (Miss Barbara Nunnelly), who broke into their meeting room and started dancing on their table. Bruce is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Huebel, 1109 North Main; Gary is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Side, Jr., 221 East Cape Rock Drive; Richard is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Austin G. Harter, 2526 Jonquil; Charles is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Grant T. Holt, 1835 Lacey, and Miss Nunnelly is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Gordon M. Nunnelly, 1432 Themis.

How do you serve a “Birdie?”

Miss Randol posed that as a question. Her answer:

Like any other delicacy you would prepare, a successful and appealing “Birdie” begins with the fixin’s.

The recipe calls for these ingredients:

  • 3 fresh young directors
  • 1 prepared orchestra
  • 2 cups of talent
  • 1 cup of patience
  • 70 assorted (interested) pupils

Blend these ingredients for three months and add the support of the whole school to make the spirits rise.

Place this combination in a large, well-filled auditorium and serve.

Most successful musical ever produced

The directors, Mrs. Judy Williams, Mrs. Madeline DeJournett, and Bill Ewing, along with 70 members of the “Birdie” cast, have sacrificed leisure and work time – plus hours of sleep – to make “Bye, Bye, Birdie” the must successful musical ever produced at Central High School.

Rehearsals far from uneventful

The rehearsals have been far from uneventful, testifies Miss June Siemers, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. R. Siemers, 1635 Brookwood. She said she was supposed to run the length of the stage into the arms of her waiting partner.

The running went fine, she explained. The flying through the air part was all right…it was when she missed her waiting (??) partner’s arms and landed on the opposite end of the stage that presented the difficulty, Miss Siemers related.

Production threatened by measles

The entire production was threatened when one of the cast came down with a case of measles. (But not everyone saw red and things have apparently turned out all right.)