Troop 561's
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Boy Scout Troop 561
(St. John, Indiana)
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Icon File Name Comment  
Boy Led Troop.pdf Boy Lead Troop Guide for Parents & New Leaders  
BSA Medical Form 2015.pdf BSA Medical Form 2015  
BSAAdultApplication010113.pdf Application, BSA Adult  
BSAAdultIAssetInvetory10113.pdf BSA Troop Asset Inventory  
BSABudgetPlan010113.pdf Budget Plan  
BSALifeguardApplication010113.pdf Application, Lifeguard  
BSAMBApplication010113.pdf Application, BSA Adult Merit Badge  
BSATroopLeadership2013.pdf BSA Troop Leadership Guide  
BSATroopMeetingPlan010113.pdf Troop Meeting Planner  
BSAUniformInspection010113.pdf Form, BSA Uniform Inspection  
BSAYouthApplication010113.pdf Application, BSA Youth  
CalCouncilTbird Jan 2015 Newsletter.pdf Calumet Council Thunderbird January 2015 Newsletter  
EdgeMethod.pdf Edge BSA Teaching Method  
Guide to Safe Scouting 2011.pdf Guide to Safe Scouting  
Handbook for New Members, Troop 561 .pdf Troop 561 Handbook for New Members, Revised 2012  
Hike.pdf BSA Hiking Tips  
PTACTBirdNewsletter022015.pdf Pathway to Adventure Council: Thunderbird Newsletter 022015  
PTACTBirdNewsletter031215 Newsletter v2.pdf Pathway to Adventure Council: Thunderbird Newsletter 031215  
Scoutmaster Specific Training Flyer.pdf Calumet Council Scoutmaster Specific Training  
Tbird April 2015 Newsletter v2.pdf thunderbird news letter  
Troop 561 Leadership responsibilities.pdf Elections: Positions of Responsibilities  
WildernessFirstAid2014.pdf Wilderness First Aid Information Letter  


We Welcome You to
Join Our Troop
We meet on
7:00 - 8:30 PM
at the

Zion United Church of Christ
14804 113th Ave
Dyer, IN 46311-3511
(219) 365-5288


42 boy scouts
15 of 42 boys were new scouts beginning in January 2015
supported by

17 committee members
10 assistant scoutmasters
6 high school/college age adults (college reserve scouters)
1 scoutmaster
1 committee chair



2  Scouts
4  Tenderfoot
9 Second class
8  First class
7  Star
9  Life

Scouter Links


As the new scoutmaster for Troop 561, I would like to take my first minute to introduce myself.  I have been involved in scouting on and off for the past 30 years.  I started like most of you as a Tiger Cub and worked my way all the way to the rank of Eagle in 1994.  After my Eagle award, I went to college andearned my Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.  Yes, the rumors are true, I am a Rocket Scientist. 

After College, I got married and started a family.  I found myself being re-introduced to scouting as the new Den Leader of the tiger Cubs of Pack 905 when my oldest son Noah decided to enter scouting.  I continued on as Den Leader all the way to his Arrow of Light award and transition into Boy Scouts.

When Noah entered Troop 561, I followed suit and joined the troop as a Committee Member and eventually as Assistant Scoutmaster.  I attended summer camp with the troop last summer at Camp Napowan and had an amazing time.  It was then when I realized how much I missed scouting.

As the new Scoutmaster, I look forward to working with each scout in the troop to help them in their quest to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout.  I saw first hand how it helped me along my path in life and the great scouting memories that came with it.

Erik Tuftedal

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Cots063015.pdf Scoutmaster's Minute - Use of Cots  
Summer Camp Preparation (1)-2.pdf Scoutmaster's Minute - Summer Camp  

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November 2015-4.pdf November 2015 Calendar  



Hang Out 
Have Fun
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December 2015-4.pdf December 2015 Calendar  

   I always tell my kids if you lay down, people will step over you. 
But if you keep scrambling, if you keep going, 
someone will always, always give you a hand. 
But you gotta keep dancing, you gotta keep your feet moving.

Morgan Freeman, Actor

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First aid method.pdf First Aid Method  
shock.pdf Signs of Shock  

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2014-15GroupLeaderHandbook(1).pdf Wilmot Group Book 2014-2015  
February 2015.pdf February 2015 Calendar  
SkiingMovement.pdf Skiing: A Sport of Movement  
SkiList.pdf February Supply List  
Smart Style Safety2.pdf SMART Style Safety for Snowboarding  
SnowSports2015.pdf Snow Sports February 2015 Troop Meeting Presentation  
snowsports2015.pptx Snow Sports February 2015 Troop Meeting Presentation  
Wilmonttrailmap.jpg Wilmont Trail Map-Green-Blue-Black  

MARCH 11-12, 2016


APRIL 8-9, 2016


Never tell people how to do things. 
Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. - George S. Patton

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June 2015.pdf June 2015 Calendar  

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Basic Suggested Camping Gear Troop 561.pdf Basic Suggestions  
BenefitsSummerCamp.pdf BSA Harris Study: The Benefits of Summer Camp  
Summer Camp Equipment List561-2.pdf Summer Camp Packing List 2015.2.pdf  
Summer Camp Equipment ListT561.pdf  

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Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops.pdf Wild Turkeys, Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops  
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup.pdf Wild Turkeys, Asian Chicken Noodle Soup  
Basic White Bread.pdf Wild Turkeys, Bread  
Blueberry Dijon Chicken and Asparagus.pdf Wild Turkeys, Blueberry Dijon Chicken & Asparagus  
Carmel Pecan Brownie Dessert.pdf Wild Turkeys, Carmel Pecan Brownie Dessert in Iron Skillet  
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza in Cast Iron Skillet.pdf Wild Turkeys, Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in Iron Skillet  
Chicken & Beef Stew + Sausage.pdf Wild Turkeys, Chicken 7 Beef Stew + Sausage  
Cornbread Recipe.pdf Wild Turkeys, Cornbread  
Fish in Foil 2012.pdf Scorpions, Fish in Foil  
French Pork Tenderloin in Bacon.pdf Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon from France  
Hearty Minestrone Soup.pdf Wild Turkeys, Hearty Minestrone Soup  
Hunter’s Best Cornbread –EVER.pdf Cornbread from March 2014 Campout Cook Off: Best Ever!  
LeadershipPositions.pdf Boy Leadership Positions & Responsibilties  
Maple Glazed Pork Chops Mash Potato.pdf Wild Turkeys, Maple Glazed Pork Chops & Mashed Potatoes  
March 2015.pdf March 2015 Calendar  
March Cooking Campout - Permission Form.pdf March 2015 Camping Permission Form  
MenuTips2014.pdf Menus, Shopping, and Cooking Tips 2014  
Mushroom Ancho Black Bean Chili.pdf Wild Turkeys, Mushroom Ancho Black Bean Soup  
Pasta Fagioli with Italian Sausage.pdf Wild Turkeys, Pasta Fagioli Soup  
Potawatomi Hike2015.pdf March 28 2015 Potawatomi Hike Flyer  
Rich Autumn Pork Stew.pdf Wild Turkeys, Rich Autumn Pork Stew  
Sausage and Peppers.pdf Vipers, Sausage and Peppers  
SausageReview062013.pdf Sausage Food Review New!  
Smokey Maple BBQ Chicken.pdf Wild Turkeys, Smokey Maple BBQ Grilled Chicken  
SnakeMenu101008.cwk (WP).pdf Snake Patrol Menu 2008  
Spinach Bread Receipe010712.pdf Wild Turkeys, Spinach Bread  
Teriyaki Chicken Fajitas.pdf Vipers, Chicken Teryaki  
Troop Menu & Duty Roster-1.pdf Menu & Duty Roster Form  
TroopDutyRoster1.pdf Duty Roster  
Watermelon Salad.pdf Wild Turkeys, Watermelon Salad  
Wild Turkey Chili.pdf Wild Turkeys, Turkey Chili  

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HillsFAQ.JPG How Do I Ride A Bike Up Hills?  
horsehealth.pdf Riding a Horse and Physical Fitness  
Permission_Slips_Feast_2014.pdf Permission Form Feast of the Hunters Moon-October 5, 2014  
Permission_Slips_October_2014.pdf Permission Form October 17-19, 2014 Mountain Biking Campout  
tdc_cyclist_guide.pdf ADA Cycling Guide  

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April - Hiking Campout Permission Slip.pdf April 2015 Hiking Campout Permission Form  
April 2015.pdf April 2015 Calendar  


SERVICE IN THE COMMUNITY help other people at all times.

Upcoming Opportunities to Serve

Sunday, February 15, 2015 - Zion Church Sausage Day:  
Continuing 61 Years of Sausage Making Tradition


Scouts organize food items.

Love is not patronizing and charity isn't about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same -- with charity you give love, so don't just give money but reach out your hand instead.
Mother Teresa 


The young men of Troop 561 have been an answer to our prayers." 
-VFW Member Mary T. Robert

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Sea Base Florida Keys | Brochure | Islamorado Weather



is a joy and  a natural wonder equal to the Rocky Mountains.  If you were in Denver, you’d be skiing and hiking, right?  Well, the same goes for our nearby ocean of FRESH water.  

Sailing is active.  Constant attention to trimming and steering is needed to make the boat go.  The smaller the boat, the more active it is.  The bigger the boat, the higher the loads. 


Unlike power boating, including jet skis, a sailboat cannot go any direction.  It can GET anywhere, but not necessarily in a straight line.  There are physical limitations that Mother Nature presents, such as ‘you can’t sail directly up wind’, but you can GET upwind.  Sailors quickly learn to cooperate with Mother Nature.  

There is a grand opportunity to apply science and math (hey some of us LIKE that stuff).

Sailing employs a variety of skills and personalities.  Some folks are good at mechanics.  They can see sail shape and adjust to conditions.  Other folks have a feel for different personalities and help meld those into a functioning crew, a team.  Some are organizers.  Some are competitive.  Some are leaders.  A boat works well with a variety of folks.  

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5Guys.pdf Eat Burgers and Fries to Benefit High Adventure October 23, 2014  
HA newsletter 1.pdf High Adventure Newsletter April 2015  
newsletter June.pdf High Adventure Newsletter June 2015  
Parental Permission Sea Base.pdf Seabase Parent Permission Form 062815  
Sea Base medical forms.pdf Seabase Medical Form 062815  


Lake Central May 9, 2015 Triathlon

1st Place in Age 1-19.  6:36 in 400 meter swim.  44:11 for 12 miles on the bike.  22:12 for 5K run  Total time 1:15.03.

“Where is there a boy to whom the call of the open road does not appeal?” - Baden Powell

November 2015




Troop 561 Scout #579 races to the Gobbler 5K finish in 22:18.

Scouter #148 Gobbled up the 5K in 23:45 and #578 finished in 30:12

More times will be posted.

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PresidentialFitnessHistory2007-1.pdf Presidential Fitness Report  
Running5K.pdf Tips on Running a 5K  

This scout has fallen victim to a zombie attack.

Scouts work together to build a fence from wood planks to keep zombies from getting in.

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May 2015.pdf May 2015 Calendar  

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August 2015-3.pdf August 2015 Calendar  
Dunes_Permission_Slip.pdf August Geocache Dunes Camp Permission Form  




Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, 2015 Opening Flag Ceremony

Parker Danner called the meeting to order and Michael Zajac presented the American flag. 

Scout/Scouter Announcements

Mr. Revior talked about being prepared and that everyone in your patrol should know your phone number so if they weren't at the meeting they would know.  

Mrs. Poulos needs permission slips for the lock-in by the fourth.  Show up at the lock-in at 6:00pm.  Sam Barber will do knots for the climbing merit-badge at the lock-in.  Bring TV's, games, gaming systems, movies, and if you want your own snack.  Snacks will be provided at the lock-in.  Mrs. Poulos asked scouts to turn blue cards for the climbing merit-badge tonight.  

Mr. Fabisiak collected money for popcorn and gave out prizes.  

Scouts sang "Happy Birthday" to Hayden Kammer and Jake Carstenson. 

Then we had patrol time.  Patrols did what ever they needed to do.  

Patrol Activities


Scoutmasters' Minute

After patrol time, we got in the meeting room and Mr. Revior did his "Scout-Master Minute", on the website.  "Bring pictures, information, and cool stuff to put on the website and help make it bigger."  

Closing Announcements & Ceremony

Parker Danner closed the meeting and Michael Zajac retired the American flag.





Michigamea Lodge 110 Arrowmen

Resources By Native American Peoples

American Indian Center of Chicago

Art Gallery


OA Meetings


OA Chapter Meetings - 6:30 p.m. - The First Thursday of Every Month.  

All OA members are welcomed to attend.

First United Methodist Church/Lansing

18420 Burnham Ave, Lansing, IL 60438

LEC (Lodge Executive Committee Meetings) 7:45 p.m.- First Monday of Every Month.  

All OA members are encouraged to attend.

Meeting Location to be posted soon.

OA Events



2015 OA Inductees


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2014 Spring Fellowship Registration.pdf Spring OA Fellowship Registration Form  
2014_Lodge_Fun_Event.pdf Fun Event, Crestwood, IL -June 14, 2014  
Nutshell June 2013.pdf Nutshell News, June 2013  
Nutshell News Dec 2013.pdf Nutshell News, December 2013  
Nutshell_News_October_2013.pdf Nutshell News, October 2013  


"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. 
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”



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OlympicsCampoutPromo1.pdf Sports Olympic Camp Promotional Flyer-Don't Miss This One!  
Permission_Slips_Sept_2014.pdf September 2014 Olympic Permission Form  
Troop 561 Sports Olympics Saturday Schedule of Events.pdf Olympic Event Schedule  

August 8-10,2014

Air Fest 2014 was an aviation focused Scout Camporee. 
Thousands of scouts and scouters attended from across the Midwest.

The purpose of this event was to expose scouts, ages 8-21, to all that the field of aviation has to offer.
We partnered with Lewis University to expose the scouts to higher education as well as
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
and how both are essential to a career in aviation. 
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AIRFEST2014.pdf Air Fest Information Sheet 2014  
Permission_Slips_August_2014.pdf August 2014 Permission Form  

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September 2015-4.pdf September 2015 Calendar  
Troop 561 September 2015 Fermilab Campout Permission Form.pdf September 2015 Fermilab Camp Out Permission Form  

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October 2015-4.pdf October 2015 Calendar  


Camp Belzer, Indianapolis, IN



We learned to climb on Saturday and "pulled stakes" at 5 a.m. on Sunday to beat pending bad weather that struck Washington, IL,.34 miles NW of our campsite.  

Technology in hand, our leaders 

adjusted our plan and we arrived home early without incident.

Upper Limits

Animated Knots

Climbing On Homewood

Climbing Magazine

Climbing Merit Badge

Climbing Videos

DPM Climbing

Getting Ready to Climb

How To Treat a Rope Burn

Mad Rock Climbing

Most Common Climbing Injuries

New England Ropes

Practical Uses for Knots

Six Knots You Should Know

Training to Climb

Rock Climbing First Aid Kit

Ace Bandages

Athletic Tape

Band aids

Cycling/Weightlifting Gloves

Neosporin Ointment

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bloomington_waiver.pdf Upper Limits Climbing Waiver  
morrainevcampmap.pdf Morraine View State Park Map  
RockClimbingResearchYoung.pdf Study on Rock Climbers  


Memorial Day 2012

Led by Matthew Palm, Troop 561 recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  Matthew delivered an eloquent and reverent prayer at Camp Butler National Cemetery on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 7:00 a.m.  Following the prayer, the troop placed flags on grave sites and posted American flags on the grounds.  After placing flags at Camp Butler, Troop 561 endured record hot temperatures, visited Lincoln's home, heard presentations by two representatives at the Illinois State Capitol, and concluded the day by touring the Abraham Lincoln Museum.
Back at camp scouts and scouters played frisbee and a game of 16 inch softball.  
On Sunday the troop ventured out to New Salem, Illinois and 
returned for a few lessons in knot tying.

Thanks go to Barb Amft, Assistant Scoutmaster for planning and organizing the four day 
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Day camp out.



Adult Leader Training




See your email for the time and date of the next

Troop Committee Meeting





Roundtable is a monthly meeting of scouters & parents from packs and troops across many communities that gather to discuss scouting ideas.

Roundtables are held at 7:00 p.m.

the 1st Thursday of every month

 at the

First United Methodist Church/Lansing

 18420 Burnham Avenue

 Lansing, Illinois 60438

For more information contact

Mary Beth Swibes at






Youth Protection Training

Uniform Accessories

Flying Tigers Surplus 

Who is responsible for updating our website within my troop?

A scout elected by the boys will serve as the webmaster for six months.  

Mr. Danner will serve as the web advisor beginning January 1, 2016.  

Treasury and Accounts


  Kara Bishop is the troop treasurer.  At each Court of Honor, parents will receive an account balance and be asked to pay quarterly dues.   If dues are not paid within 30 days, it will be debited out of of your account.  This procedure will be inserted in the parent handbook under revision. 


Adult Training


Anyone who is in direct contact with the youth (e.g patrol advisors) 

must have indoor and outdoor ASM training.  

See the Scoutmaster Specific training .pdf attachment in the first window of our website.


Merit Badges


Merit badges are based on  boy interest and help boys advance.  After they get a blue card from the scoutmaster it is largely up to the boys to move forward.  Scouts and scouters are encouraged to see for advancement ideas.  A list of merit badge counselors can be found in the troop documents of our webpage.  Talk to adult leaders for additional connections. 



For more information see:

Leadership Roster

The current leadership roster for Troop 561 is located in the Troop Documents section.  
This is a private site and can be accessed with an account and password.

The links below are not intended as endorsements
 but as general ideas about gear for outside activity.
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Boy Scout Troop 561 Committee Meeting – Monday.pdf Committee Meeting Agenda March 9, 2015  

Troop Finances

Pay your quarterly scout dues or contact our troop at:

Boy Scout Troop 561

P.O. Box #17

St. John, Indiana 46373

If you have additional ideas for enhancing fundraisers that will supplement 
our boy's summer camp and/or high adventure, please contact Mr. Gerstenkorn.
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BSAFundraisingApplication010113.pdf Application, BSA Fundraising  
Scout Account Funds AuthForm.pdf Scout Account Funds Authorization Form  


Scott Gerstenkorn, Committee Chair


Barb Amft, ASM

Russ Gibson, ASM, Patrol Advisor

Monty Walker, ASM

Dennis Miklaszewski, ASM

Mike O Donnell, ASM

Sandy Danner, ASM, Fundraising & Advancement

Tonya Sakal, Patrol Advisor

Daryl Sakal,ASM

Kara Bishop, ASM, Treasurer

Frank Revoir, Life to Eagle Advisor

Sue Zajac, Patrol Advisor

Rich Fabisiak, ASM, Popcorn Kernel

Mike Watta, ASM, Popcorn Kernel

Mrs. Wagner, ASM, Quartermaster

Mr. Wagner, ASM, Quartermaster


In the fall of 1992, in their 2nd year of Webelos, they started to look around for a boy scout troop.

They looked at one troop in town and some were happy and some were not.  Then they looked further out of town and those that were not so happy were now happy.  But those that had been happy were now not happy.

They had a den leader who wanted to keep the whole den together.  So the den leader started to ask around about a former Cub master he knew, who was interested in starting a new troop in town.

His name was Tom Popiella and he had most excellent ideas on how to organize and run a troop.  So with his son Mathew, the scorpions, and a few others boys the troop was formed and stared in February of 1993 at the Blue of Gold crossover of  Cubscout Pack 550 from  St. John, Indiana.

Mr. Popiella and the new scouts needed a name and they thought of the idea of 561.  The "5" was for the district  and the "61" was for the start of the first humans  in space .   So 561 was born.

(Pictured Left to Right:  Adam Miklazewski, Paul Sullivan, Nathan Zajac-Troop SPL, Kenny Banaszak, Brian Bukala and Tom Popiella)

Scoutmaster Popiella held office for 3 years then  Jan Rozich   Pam Stanberry co-chaired the scoutmaster position. Then Dave Staples was scoutmaster for a time.

In 1997 the den leader from the original scorpion patrol, Dennis Miklaszewski was scoutmaster for 3 years.  Then, Tim Banaszak was scoutmaster for 5 1/2 years.

Warren Wood,  Kris Sorrenson, and Frank Revoir served as scoutmaster, - each for three years.

In  February 2016, Troop 561 will turn 23 years old.  We're sure the original group would look at the present troop and be very proud.

Now there are many more tales of Troop 561 but that is for another time.  So for now  get er done and have your fun.

E. Dennis Miklaszewski, Former Scorpion Den Leader and  Troop 561 Scoutmaster

Stay Tuned for News from the Popcorn Stove

Mike Watta & Rich Fabisiak, ASM
Popcorn Kernals Troop 561

Popcorn Sponsors in 2013

 Strack & Van Til's -St. John, Schererville and Cedar Lake
Alsip Nursery
Walt's (Dyer and Crete)
 Jewel in Crown Point

Business Sponsors

Strack and Van Til's
MC Sports
Dairy Queen

Culver's in Dyer
Jak's Warehouse
Ziggy's Finland


On behalf of scouts, scouters, and families that so generously gave of their time and resources, we would like to extend our thanks to all those that participated 
in the 4th Annual Golf Outing.  
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Golf.pdf BSA July 2013 Golf Starter  
GolfFlyer2015v3.pdf 2015 Lincoln Oaks Golf Invitational Flyer