Scouts honor new commodore for Sea Scouting

Scouts honor new commodore for Sea Scouting

Scouts honor new commodore for Sea Scouting

Brandon Kathman  District Executive


Michigan Crossroads Council


The Boy Scouts of America honored local volunteer Wayne Hastings with the National Sea Scout Award in a virtual ceremony on May 21, commending him for his work with young people. 

Hastings has also been appointed commodore of the Sea Scouting program in National Service Territory 9, which spans Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Sea Scouting, while founded on the same core principles as traditional Scouting, places particular emphasis on boating and water-based activities.

“I have a real love for sailing and a real love of Scouting, and this is where they come together,” Hastings said.

A member of the Port Huron Yacht Club, Hastings volunteers with local Sea Scout Ship 109. In addition to nautical know-how, Hastings said he enjoys teaching youth leadership skills, which they will use throughout their lives. Ship 109 meets several times each month, and occasionally the youth help crew racing vessels during the club’s regattas

“It’s a different program, but all the Scouting values are the same,” Hastings said. “Being safe on the water is a lifelong skill living in Michigan. Knowing how to be safe on the water can save your child’s life or equip them to save someone else’s life.”

An Eagle Scout himself, Hastings grew up in Nebraska and was never exposed to the Sea Scouts as a youth. After learning about the program through friends at the yacht club, Hastings accepted a position as unit commissioner for ships in the Blue Water District, which covers the Thumb’s eastern coastline.

“Wayne is a fantastic volunteer and ambassador for the Scouting movement,” Christa Warner, executive for the Blue Water District, said. “We are so lucky to have him, and we are proud of all he has achieved.”

Eventually, Hastings became involved with the National Sea Scout Committee and helped to found new ships. He also serves as assistant council commissioner for the Michigan Crossroads Council.

“Now that I’m retired, Scouting is my full-time hobby,” Hastings said.

To learn more about the local Sea Scout program or other opportunities in Scouting, contact the district office at (810) 841-5568.

Scout restores centuries-old headstones

Scout restores centuries-old headstones

Scout restores centuries-old headstones

By Brandon Kathman
       Michigan Crossroads Council

A local scout is refurbishing the final resting places of Clarkston’s first families at Lakeview Cemetery, fulfilling his final requirement for the rank of Eagle Scout. 

“I chose this project because a love for history has always been a part of my life,” James LaZar, 17, said. 

LaZar’s efforts are part of a broader initiative to restore the 190-year-old graveyard. The Lakeview Cemetery Restoration Project is facilitated by the Daughters of the American Revolution and partners with many community stakeholders, according to project co-chair Joette Kunse.

“We want to see the stones restored because these are the early settlers of Clarkston,” Kunse said.

LaZar explained that his involvement began when he overheard Kunse telling his father about the initiative at a dinner event.

“As I listened, I knew this would be perfect for my Eagle Scout Project,” LaZar said. “I asked Joette if I could be in contact with her and choose this as my Eagle Project, and she happily agreed.”

Scouts from multiple units, including LaZar’s own Troop 189, participated in the cleaning phase of his project. The headstones scrubbed were among the oldest in the cemetery, with some predating the Civil War.

The cleaning process for each headstone began with scouring the edifice using only water and soft-bristle brushes. Once the outer layer of grime and lichen had been removed, each stone was doused with Wet & Forget, a multi-surface stain remover, and left to dry. This process was repeated twice for each marker.

“James chose an interesting beneficiary for his Eagle project,” Troop 189 Committee Chair Sherry Snudden said. “It’s really neat that his project will help sustain part of Clarkston’s history for years to come.”

According to LaZar, as clean as the stones appear now, they will only look better as time passes and the Wet & Forget does its job. Now that the intact stones look as good as new, LaZar will turn his attention to repairing the broken or damaged stones under the mentorship of the Carter Cemetery Preservation company.



Scouts prepare to host week-long leadership training

Scouts prepare to host week-long leadership training

Scouts prepare to host week-long leadership training

Written by Meredith Foss

Local scouts are hard at work preparing for National Youth Leadership Training, a training course for young leaders that will be held at D-Bar-A Scout Ranch in Metamora on July 10-15.

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) is an advanced 6-day leadership course that teaches scouts what it takes to be a leader, how leaders should react to challenges, and other essential knowledge leaders must know. As with many Scouting programs, the course is administered by experienced scouts serving as “youth staff.” 

“NYLT is leadership training for youth taught by youth,” Jennifer Sanker, vice president of operations for Michigan Scouting, said. “The course is structured like a Scout BSA unit. As both girls and boys will participate, the structure resembles the concept of a linked troop between a male and female troop.”  

The program is open to scouts who have completed eighth grade, earned their First-Class rank, and been approved by their scoutmaster to attend. 

NYLT was built on the platform of Junior Leader Training: a continuation of the basic BSA leadership training. In the early 2000s a large group of scouts and leadership experts created a new and more demanding course which would become NYLT. They made sure that this new corse included the most recent leadership ideas with vital and meaningful training for the modern scout. 

When scouts first arrive at NYLT, they are immediately grouped into patrols. Throughout the week, these patrols will take on many challenges and must work as a team to solve them. Each patrol’s goal is to find the true meaning of leadership. 

“I think one of my favorite parts of NYLT was when I was a participant,” Teodoro Gammons, a youth staff member, said. “I was put into a group of other scouts that I had never met before. It put me outside of my comfort zone. But, with the training provided through the week, you bond with the group. It was an amazing experience.” 

Every day of NYLT introduces scouts to a new interconnecting concept or lesson. Scouts are taught through a wide array of hands-on presentations, games, quests and discussions. Each adventure that participants undertake during NYLT is as a patrol, teaching the scouts that as a group they can be much stronger. According to Sanker, each patrol has a troop guide to help them acclimate to the course and stay with them until the patrol begins performing as a team.

Many past staff members have described their experience as “exciting and eye-opening,” as they were able to see scouts’ skill levels increase throughout the week. 

Those interested in learning more about National Youth Leadership Training or Scouting in general should visit or call the local district office at (947) 886-5736.


Local volunteer named VP for Michigan Scouting

Local volunteer named VP for Michigan Scouting

By Brandon Kathman  District Executive

Scouting’s Michigan Crossroads Council has nominated and confirmed a local volunteer to serve as a vice president for Scouting in the state of Michigan.

Jennifer Sanker, a manager with General Dynamics, will now oversee “district operations,” supporting the volunteer leadership structures of 15 districts across the state. According to the council, Sanker previously served with distinction as chairwoman for Scouting’s local Pontiac-Manito District. During her tenure, Scouting in Oakland County weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdowns, emerging with one of the best retention rates in the state.

“I would like to see us continue to grow and come back from the COVID situation,” Sanker said. “We want to re-engage people and bring them outdoors. I want to have all our districts experience that growth and that comeback” 

Sanker said her time with the movement began with her sons. Though she has received numerous honors for her work with young people, including the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor local Councils can bestow, she said she is proudest of working with her own boys.

“I’ve had four boys go through the program. When they were still 16, they could stand up in front of a crowd and get them excited to do things,” Sanker said. “For me, that’s heartwarming.”

According to Sanker, the joy of watching young people grow made her stick around even after her children aged out of the program. Sanker said she especially enjoys working with youth in the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society. She will remain an advisor with the Order of the Arrow’s local chapter.

With Sanker now serving at the council level, Dane Bezemek, a volunteer from the Holly Area, was selected to take her place as district chairman. Bezemek has served as a liaison between Scouting and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of their most critical chartering partners for local units.

Scouts partner with local ONTV network for show

Scouts partner with local ONTV network for show

Scouts partner with local ONTV network for show

By Brandon Kathman

Scouting’s local Pontiac-Manito District has partnered with the Orion Neighborhood Television network to produce a monthly show, “Scouting on Air,” which will feature gear reviews, camp cooking segments, service projects and interviews with the organization’s state and national leadership.

Each episode will be produced and hosted by scouts from across Oakland County under the guidance of media professionals. According to the Michigan Crossroads Council, Boy Scouts of America, the show’s intended audience includes both active scouters and the general public.

“I was invited to help launch Scouting on Air shortly after I achieved my Eagle rank,” Brooke Muzzy, 18, one of the show’s anchors, said. ”Having the opportunity to create a program about Scouting has been so rewarding, I have made new friends and learned so many new skills in the last few months.”

Becky Andrus, ONTV’s outreach coordinator, said the relationship began when Scouting was featured on Orion Outreach, a program highlighting local nonprofits. After three appearances, Andrus suggested that they consider producing their own show. Working with the district’s leadership, ONTV provided youth journalists, anchors and producers with the requisite training courses to create a show.

“This training allows them to be involved in all aspects of the production process, from producing and directing to hosting and editing,” Andrus said. “ Everyone at ONTV is so excited to have the scouts in the studio creating their own show.”

According to the Pontiac-Manito District, their first episode will feature an interview with Jennifer Sanker, vice president of the Michigan Crossroads Council. Furthermore the episode will include coverage of their most recent district campout and a segment on “high adventure” expeditions to the Boundary Waters of the Minnesota-Ontario border. Scouting on Air’s pilot will begin airing on the network next week, with new episodes released monthly. The show can also be viewed on the ONTV YouTube channel.

“This is exactly what community television is all about, and we can’t wait to see the first episode of Scouting on Air,” Andrus said.

Local Scouting district celebrates first female Eagle Scout

Local Scouting district celebrates first female Eagle Scout

By Meredith Foss:

Local Scouting district celebrates first female Eagle Scout

Brooke Muzzy, 18, has become the first female Eagle Scout in Scouting’s local Pontiac-Manito District.

Muzzy grew up with the Scouting movement even before she joined as a member.  Muzzy watched, participated and learned alongside her brothers as they grew from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, and Brooke was growing too. She started off by joining Crew 2128, a co-ed Scouting program dedicated to high adventure activities. In 2019, when girls were finally able to join the Boy Scouts of America’s traditional programs, she decided to join Scouts BSA Troop 185 with other girls who wanted to try out Scouting.

“Much like Dorothy needs the friends she finds as she followed the yellow brick road, a scout needs friends to help as they follow the trail to eagle,” Muzzy said. “Your parents, friends, and scout leaders will be the people you find along your trail through Scouting.”

Through Scouting Muzzy has been on many adventures, a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico being one of the most memorable. Philmont is a high adventure camp where scouts backpack hundreds of miles through the mountains. She was even selected to be crew leader for the expedition.  

Brooke learned to become a great leader, as she was elected Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 185. She attended National Youth Leadership Training, a week long course teaching scouts how to become better leaders for their units, and she was selected to teach on staff the following year.

Muzzy started to plan an Eagle Project to benefit the community during summer of 2021. Muzzy faced a few challenges along the way, but successfully completed her Eagle project, clearing brush and invasive plants along a section of trail and building two permanent benches at Camp Agawam.

Brooke had her Eagle Court of Honor last Sunday at D-Bar-A Scout Ranch, surrounded by Scouting friends and family celebrating her achievements. Muzzy chose to thank several adult volunteers who helped her along the way, gifting commemorative mentor pins to Troop 185 Assistant Scoutmaster Lynn Foss, Committee Chair Jeff Egner, Scoutmaster Wayne Beutler and Pack 7 Cubmaster David Weatherwax.

“Not only has it been an honor to watch Brooke grow as a leader, it was also an honor to receive a mentor pin from her,” Lynn Foss said. “I look forward to her realizing that she can achieve any goal she sets her mind on.”

Meredith Foss, 14, is a youth journalist with the Scouting on Air television program.