All posts by Sam Jarvis

The Value of Scouting

thumbnail_OA2011_1“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country; to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

It may be a few years since I’ve been a Boy Scout, but I still remember the Scout Oath by heart. Since “crossing over” from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts when I was 11, I lived that motto for seven years until I turned 18: the cut-off age for being a Boy Scout. Those seven years were a whirlwind of emotions, memories, people, and experiences I’ll remember for years to come.

Since I’ve already recited the Scout Oath by memory, it’s only proper I follow up with the Scout Law. For any of you who were ever in the Boy Scouts, you may repeat after me: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Trustworthy: A Scout is expected to be honest and trustworthy.

Back when I was 16 or so, I was on a weekend camp-out somewhere and one of the other Scouts a few years younger than I was being just a complete thorn in my side. He would not listen to anyone and was hell-bent on trying to enrage me. He succeeded when he managed to lock me in a campsite outhouse for a half-hour. Once the door flew open, all I could see was red. I found him, grabbed him, lifted him up and threw him on the ground headfirst. Once he started wailing in pain while convulsing on the ground, I knew that I was more or less screwed. So, with Scout sense kicking in, I immediately fessed up what happened to the closest Scoutmaster…and didn’t get in trouble. In fact, the only thing that really happened that I recall was a brief troop meeting that reinforced that bullying is bad. Whether or not I got off lucky doesn’t matter; that was still a Scout being honest and telling the truth.

Loyal: A Scout is expected to be loyal to his friends, family, teachers and troop.

All I can really say about this is that it was an instinctual kind of point. I never felt like I had to switch Scout troops or schools, or felt like running away from home for any reason. Even now, the point resonates in my conscience by reminding me that my family and friends are of utmost importance over most anything else.

Helpful: A Scout is willing to volunteer to help others.

I’m sure a lot of people know of the old adage of the Boy Scout helping the elderly lady across the street. While I never did anything like that, I did participate in an array of service projects. One of the requirements for becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank achievable in Scouting, was to plan your own service project for the community and participate in it. While I must admit I never became an Eagle Scout and never planned my own project, I did take part in quite a few over the years. I can recall helping to repaint a fence enclosing a cemetery during my first year, and then helping to replant trees in a wildlife preserve a few years later during a separate project. That helped instill a desire to volunteer and the urge to help people out for the betterment of the community.

Friendly: A Scout is friendly to everyone, regardless of any factors.

While I don’t think I ever considered any other Scout during my time a bona fide friend, every single one was someone who was friendly to me and someone I could talk with. Camp-outs were often spent talking, laughing and generally having a good time with each and every one of them, regardless of age or experience. I felt like I belonged more to a large group of pals than a Scout troop at times. It was a great feeling.

Courteous: In addition to being friendly to everyone, a Scout is also polite to everyone.

Most of the time, everyone in the troop treated one another with respect and politeness, again regardless of age or experience. While I think respecting the Scoutmasters was definitely based off the primal feeling of “respect your elders,” the fact that dozens of teenage boys were more often than not respectful of one another was a miracle, and a showcase of following the Scout Law.

Kind: A Scout is gentle and treats other living things as he would also want to be treated.

When you’re out camping, you’re bound to see and experience a lot of local wildlife. Some of it, like birds and deer, are creatures that you observe from a distance and stay quiet around. Others are up close and personal: mainly the insects. However, aside from mosquitos that were swatted instinctively or the moths that would fly too close to our propane lamps and get zapped, insects were treated with the same gentleness and respect as larger, less “creepy” animals. That’s something I don’t think I’ve seen since on a large scale.

Obedient: A Scout follows the rules of his elders and obeys the law.

The leadership tree for a Scout troop usually goes like this: Scouts report to a patrol leader, a patrol leader reports to a senior patrol leader, and the senior patrol leader reports to the adult scoutmaster. There are also assistant leaders for each of those positions. Regardless of where you were on the totem pole, you followed the rules set forth by your superior. As pseudo-totalitarian as that sounds, most of them were pretty lax and I don’t recall there being any problems with any rules or leaders.

Cheerful: A Scout is optimistic and tries his best to make others happy.

I’ve always been an optimistic person generally, and Boy Scouts just reinforced that. With everyone around me being friendly, courteous, trustworthy and all the other qualities listed in the Scout Law, it was impossible not to be cheerful and enjoy camp-outs and Boy Scout meetings every time I attended one.

Thrifty: A Scout saves for the future, whether it is money or resources.

This, alongside Cheerful, is another instance of a value I may have already had but was reinforced by the Boy Scouts. I had my first summer job when I was 15 and could have easily blown through all that money on things I didn’t need or barely wanted just because I could. However, besides some big purchases like my current desktop computer at the end of my first summer working and my current laptop at the end of the second, I didn’t spend much money at all on anything. There was occasional video game or meal out with friends, certainly, but for the most part, I saved and spent wisely. The Scout Law certainly reinforced that.

Brave: A Scout can face danger and stand up for what he believes in.

While in Boy Scouts, I had to learn to do things I never thought I would have to before. You name it, I probably had to do it at some point, merit badge or otherwise: sleep outside in a tent, sleep outside without a tent, build and light a campfire, dive into water, kayak, dress a wound, make a splint, give a speech, go on a multi-mile hike, have a position of leadership, organize a meeting…the list goes on. Despite any fears or preconceived notions I had, I learned to do all of that and so much more.

Clean: A Scout is clean in both mind and body.

Keeping a clean mind as a teenage boy is one of the most difficult things anyone can do, but keeping a clean body was much easier since we all did that daily; as long as we weren’t “roughing it,” as they say. That idea of cleanliness extended beyond ourselves as well, to wherever we went. We always made sure that our campsite at the end of a camp-out was just as clean as when we had arrived, practicing the motto of “leave no trace.”

Reverent: A Scout is faithful to his religion and religious duties.

Confession time: I’m irreligious nowadays, bordering on agnostic. However, back when I was a Boy Scout, I was a Roman Catholic in a Catholic troop. As such, we always had a prayer before a meeting alongside the Scout Oath and Scout Law, as well as going to Sunday morning Mass if the option was available during a camp-out. We were, in essence, a troop devoted to God and our country, as the Oath outright states.

Those are the twelve points of the Scout Law – twelve points I always had in the back of my mind during my time in Scouting and subconsciously lived during my everyday life. I still live the majority of them now, even several years after having to leave my troop, because those twelve points are, in my opinion, among the twelve best characteristics a human being can have. Scouting may have taught me more than I can put into words, but those twelve points are an accurate representation of the values Scouting can teach absolutely anyone eligible.

Mastodon Reigns Supreme with “Emperor of Sand”

Mastodon.

The name alone carries a feeling of something massive and hulking, trudging its way through the unknown slowly, yet methodically, much like the extinct creature of eons ago. That exact feeling encapsulates the existence of the heavy metal band Mastodon. The Atlanta-based quartet released their newest album “Emperor of Sand” on March 31 via Reprise Records, with the album charting at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums, with 43,000 units initially sold.

“Emperor of Sand” mainly continues with the more straightforward stoner metal/hard rock approach Mastodon started experimenting with on 2011’s “The Hunter” and really embraced on 2014’s “Once More ‘Round the Sun.” However, there is also another side of Mastodon; their harsher, heavier sludge/progressive metal days starting with their 2002 debut “Remission.” I personally prefer the more hard rock Mastodon that has evolved within the past several years. While their earlier, sludgier discography is certainly good, they seemed to have found their niche rooted within stoner metal-tinged hard rock. However, whereas “Once More ‘Round the Sun” was completely rooted in slower, more melodic hard rock, “Emperor of Sand” shows glimmers of that sludge metal sound from what some consider Mastodon’s glory era starting with “Remission” and peaking at 2009’s “Crack the Skye.”

I adored “Once More ‘Round the Sun” so much I consider it one of my favorite albums of all time, so upon hearing the opening track, “Sultan’s Curse,” it was very nice to hear that it could have come right off the previous album. Opening with some ominous chimes, the song then blasts the listener with a pounding, yet melodic, riff complemented by the soaring vocals, the duty shared among drummer Brann Dailor, bassist Troy Sanders and lead guitarist Brent Hinds. The chorus then evolves into an atmospheric, dreamy riff courtesy of Hinds and rhythm guitarist (and mustache extraordinaire) Bill Kelliher. Overall, it was a solid track that was hopefully indicative of things to come.

The next track, “Show Yourself,” caught me completely off-guard, as the instrumentals were noticeably more upbeat than “Sultan’s Curse,” to the point where I felt like I could even get up and dance to the track; at least, until the guitar solos kicked in with their own flurry of notes. This sort of dichotomy is a theme among the tracks on the album. On one hand, there are more atmospheric and slower tracks such as “Andromeda” and “Word to the Wise”; ones I expected after hearing the opening two tracks, not to mention the previous album. However, I was also pleasantly surprised to hear the heavier, classic end of Mastodon’s sound, with songs such as “Roots Remain” and especially “Jaguar God” being pounding and relentless, with rapid-fire riffs and a clockwork-tight rhythm section reminiscent of their earlier albums. For as much as I enjoyed “Once More ‘Round the Sun,” it definitely lacked in tracks with balls, if you will. While I wasn’t disappointed with the lighter overall feeling of that album, I myself was raised in thrash and death metal, so I’ve a bit of a bias towards the heavier end of the metal spectrum. With tracks such as those, the itch I had since “Once More” was scratched with “Emperor of Sand.”

In the end, “Emperor of Sand” may just be the quintessential Mastodon album. While an argument over the best Mastodon album has no definitive answer, “Emperor of Sand” is certainly the best at showcasing the evolution of their sound, combining the stoner metal-tinged hard rock of modern Mastodon with the sharp, progressive-sludge metal of early Mastodon through a variety of tracks. It’s definitely a must-listen, even for Mastodon fans who were disappointed with the band’s lighter, more mainstream direction in recent years. While I do believe “Once More ‘Round the Sun” is still the band’s best record as a whole, “Emperor of Sand” has a variety not found in the former, and may even signal a return to form long-time Mastodon fans have been craving if the band decides to return to their roots even more for the next album.

Women’s Lacrosse Demolishes Goucher in Landmark Game

 

Etown’s women’s lacrosse team decimated Goucher College 17-1 in their Landmark Conference game Saturday, April 1, with the game coinciding with Etown’s Senior Day.

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Junior Carly Thompson scored five of the 17 goals in Etown’s dominating performance.

The game began at 1 p.m., and the Blue Jays started out strong, with senior Allison McLamb scoring the first goal just 27 seconds into the game. Etown ran away with the game from there, scoring seven more goals to put them up 8-0. Goucher College finally responded at 14:52 in the first half, as Goucher first-year Alyssa Long scored to put the Gophers on the board. However, that was the only point the Gophers would score not only during the first half but during the entire game as Etown made four more goals in the half to end it 12-1.

Etown started the second half strong as well, with senior Addie Stang scoring two goals within the first eight minutes of the half. Despite a red card issued to junior Katie Thompson at the 20:30 mark, Etown never lost momentum, scoring three more times before the end of the half to make the final score 17-1. This overwhelming win puts Etown up 8-1 for the season, 2-0 in Landmark Conference, while Goucher falls to 1-10 as well as 0-2 in the Conference.

Stang and Junior Carly Thompson led the charge for the Blue Jays, scoring four and five goals respectively. Meanwhile, K. Thompson, senior Megan DeMichele, and graduate student Dana Robidoux each scored two goals, while McLamb and sophomore Julia Ferrante each scored one. This game pushes C. Thompson to 35 season goals and Stang to 31.

“It’s nice to see all the hard work we put in on- and off-season finally paying off,” K. Thompson said.

Meanwhile, sophomore goalkeeper Abby Kopytko had three saves, while first-years Jennifer Beihoff and Caity Howell had one save each.

“I’m really proud of the team and how they’ve been doing this year,” Kopytko said. “We blew it out of the water.”

Prior to the game, Etown honored several of its women lacrosse players for Senior Day by calling them out by name and detailing a short blurb about each senior’s time spent on the team. Seniors Stang, DeMichele, McLamb, Becky Graessle, Rachel Reed and Halley Donlin were all honored.

“The seniors are really pushing it. They’re the big attackers,” Howell said.

The women’s lacrosse team’s next game will be a non-Conference game against Stockton University at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5 at Wolf Field.

Etown Students React to Presidential Inauguration

Protest sign used by sophomore Ryan Thomas at the Woman's March on Washington.
Protest sign used by sophomore Ryan Thomas at the Woman’s March on Washington.

On Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States of America.

Trump’s inauguration has met with worry and anger due to some of his proposed ideas, such as building a border wall along the Mexican border and making Mexico pay for it. This includes some students at Etown.

“My heart broke and I cried,” senior Ariel Davis-Robinson said of the elections results.

“We had students who were concerned about potential for violence or rioting no matter who won,” Stephanie Collins, Interim Coordinator of Multicultural Programs at Etown, said. “Post-election, I think that students started off by feeling angry and disappointed.”

“We weren’t ready to be productive at that point,” Collins said.

Now that the inauguration’s over, however, students have sprung into action to stand up for what they believe in. On Jan. 21, the day after President Trump’s inauguration, some students with the aid of the Office of Diversity made the trip to Washington D.C. to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. While the explicit purpose of the march was to protest for women’s rights, it was also to send a message to President Trump – that the minority groups in America will be heard. The Women’s March website states that “We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.” Over one million people attended the march.

The week following the march, the Office of Diversity picked up a campaign by the Women’s March organizers entitled “10 Actions for the First 100 Days.” Every 10 days starting Jan. 21, a new action would be announced the participants could do. The first action was to write and send postcards to U. S. Senators about what the sender believes in and how he or she is going to fight for that belief. Corresponding to this, a table was set up outside the Marketplace on Jan. 26 and 27 where students could learn about the 10 Actions campaign and write their own postcards. In addition, the postcards are also still available at the Mosaic House. According to Collins, over 100 postcards have been filled out so far.

“I’ve written postcards to my senators explaining how my reproductive rights should not be in the hands of men who could care less about me,” Davis-Robinson said. “I hope they read it and the thousands of other postcards they will receive and realize how many lives they are affecting.”

Aside from organized events, some students have taken matters into their own hands.

“The students I work with are fired up about this,” Collins said. “We have students going to the immigrants and refugees rally [on Jan. 31] in Lancaster. We had students drive to Philly to be at the Philly airport for some of the protests the other day when they started the [travel] ban.”

“They’re really living out our motto, as a college we ‘educate for service’,” Collins said. “This is a way that we’re serving our community: by staying civically involved.”