Adventures abound for boys and girls in scouting groups

July 2, 2011

Dads are on the losing end of a tug-of-war against 16 Cub Scouts at Hans Jensen Park. By Greg Farrar.

Despite decades of history in America, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts still endure narrow views of their efforts.

The girls are famous for their cookie sales, the boys for their camping trips. That sometimes plays against them.

“A common misconception is that all Girl Scouts do is sell cookies,” said Julie Wendell, with the Girl Scouts of East King County. “The leadership opportunities, travel experiences and wonderful programs offered by Girl Scouts go way beyond selling cookies.”

Similar troubles beset the boys.

“A misconception is that Boy Scouts is for suburban white kids. And we don’t do programs for people of other ethnic backgrounds, and that all we do is tie knots and go camping,” said Sharon Moulds, with the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which encompasses all of King County.

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How to melt your lover’s heart on Valentine’s Day (guy’s edition)

January 25, 2011

If you want to win the Sweetheart of the Year Award or be the talk of your lover’s friends, then you’re in the right place.

The traditional way: Invite her to your house. Have a homemade dinner by candlelight. Crank up the Sinatra, Kenny G and Barry White.

The overachieving way: Dress to impress. Present her with a single red rose at her front door. Open the car door for her as you both roll into your sweet ride. Take her to a nice dinner at a classy restaurant (not Mickey D’s, sorry). During the course of the meal, present her with a teddy bear holding a heart-shaped box of chocolates. After dinner, take her to see a romantic comedy (a.k.a. a chick flick), like “Waiting Forever” (starring Rachel Bilson and Thomas Sturridge). Bring a box of tissues.

The under $20 way: Whether you’re Homer or not, express your affections through an ink-penned letter. Elaborate on all of the lovable qualities your girl has. (Emphasize her quirks, her sense of humor, her good music taste, etc.) Weather permitting, also take a stroll on Alki Beach, watch the sunset and enjoy a picnic under the stars. This letter-night-time-picnic combo will surely melt her heart!

Whatever your style, I guarantee that any of these plans will make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one for your special someone.

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Scouts go scuba diving

March 16, 2010

Nick Co, 15, and the dive master take a moment to double check insulated gloves, hood and wet suit between dives. By Judy Co

Cold waters greeted Boy Scouts from Troop No. 609.

Submerging up to 60 feet underwater, 20 of the 39 troop members completed their final dive off Alki Beach for their Professional Association of Diver Instructors certification for scuba diving and their Boy Scout merit badge.

“I’ve been scuba diving before in Maui and it was one of the most fun experiences of my life,” said Scout Sean Fite, 14, who goes to Eastside Catholic High School. “This opportunity came up and I thought I should take it to get my full certification.”

“It was cold,” said Scout Will Dodeward, 15, who goes to Mount Si High School. “I know 46 degrees doesn’t sound cold, but it’s cold.”

These boys seem to be the first ones in the nation to complete the required courses and training for the new Boy Scout merit badge added this year by the national offices, said parent volunteer Judy Co. The troop is the first to place an order for the merit badge, but there is no national database to confirm it for sure, she added.

Troop 609 is one of the largest troops in the area, with members ranging in age from 11-18 and attending schools in Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish and Renton.

Beneath the water’s surface — once the shock of the cold water wore off — the boys saw a world full of marine diversity. Read more

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Frigid fanatics take the Polar Plunge

February 23, 2010

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love near-hypothermia

Does jumping into brutally cold water sound like fun to you? On a hot summer day, it may sound like a good idea, but what about in the dead of winter? If this painfully cold combination sounds appealing, you may consider taking a polar bear plunge.

Yes, polar bear plunges are what you may expect: events where masses of people run and dive into frigid water when the weather is at its coldest. So, do you need to be completely out of your mind to participate? Not necessarily.

Polar bear plunges are held all across the country, and they are usually held as fundraising efforts. In Washington, there is a Polar Plunge series that benefits Special Olympics Washington.

The 2010 series stops at six cities, and it kicked off New Year’s Day in Lake Sammamish at Redmond’s Idylwood Park. After the kickoff, the Polar Plunge series also made stops at Alki Beach in Seattle and Columbia Park in Kennewick.

The series also stopped at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima Feb. 13, Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee Feb. 20 and Medical Lake Waterfront Park in Medical Lake Feb. 26. Visit Special Olympics Washington’s Web site for more information on upcoming plunges.

It seemed covering the series’ kickoff would make for a chillingly good article. However, since the event was in Redmond, the story needed an Issaquah connection, which meant finding Issaquah residents who were taking the plunge. This turned out to be quite difficult during the holiday season, and I was forced to resort to my plan B: take the plunge myself.

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