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Greater St. Louis Area Council: Boy Scouts of America

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Gravois Trail


June 24
2014 Program Preview Slide Show

​Below you will find the PowerPoint Slide show that was used at the 2014 Program Preview Meeting in early June.

If you have any questions please contact Josh Bollam at 314-256-3060 or

Program Preview 2014.pdfProgram Preview 2014.pdf

June 10
Preparing For Camp
June 06
Troop 724 Donates Flags to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Gravois Trail Troop 724 stopped at Jefferson Barracks yesterday to make a special delivery to the National Cemetery’s director, Jeff Barnes. The troop donated 2,600 American flags to the cemetery to replace some of the old and frayed flags used during the district’s annual Memorial Day Good Turn.

Troop 724, comprised of Scouts with special needs, had originally planned to take a trip to Arizona this summer to an Indian reservation where they would learn Native American survival skills. Unfortunately, Scoutmaster Joe Vaughn and his unit of 17 Scouts were unable to raise the $7,500 needed for the trip. Despite the disappointment, the Scouts decided they would use some of the money to purchase new flags for Jefferson Barracks.

Every year on the last Sunday of May, Scouts from around the St. Louis Area place flags at about 190,000 graves to honor the nation’s veterans who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The flags donated by Troop 724 will certainly go a long way in helping to honor those fallen soldiers.

The unit is still determined to make its trip and will continue to raise money for a journey to Arizona next summer.

Eagle Scouts Luck and Nick along with Scoutmaster Joe Vaughn presented over 2,500 new flags to Jeff Barnes, the cemetery's director.

June 05
Troop 580 Takes Memorable Trip to Sea Base

A whole year in the making, Troop 580 finally embarked on its seven-day trip to the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in the Florida Keys last week. The high-adventure trip began when the group of eight, five scouts and three leaders, flew into Key West on May 28 for the start of an unforgettable voyage.

The Troop spent five nights out on the water aboard a 42-foot sailboat under the guidance of Captain Gerald. After getting their sea legs and overcoming some slight cases of sea sickness, the group spent the week sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, even playing some sand volleyball during their short stints back to land. Home base for the Troop was located on Lower Matecumbe Key, which is located 75 miles south of Miami.

Despite scattered rain showers over the first three days, Troop 580 found plenty of time for fishing. The Scouts managed to catch 89 fish, including a 2 ½ foot shark, to win the award for Most Fish during the week.

When the weather finally cooperated towards the end of their stay, the Troop had the opportunity to snorkel along the coral reef in calm waters. Beneath the surface the Scouts explored an old ship wreck and took in the sights of being surrounded by thousands of fish.

For more information about Sea Base, visit



paddle boarding.jpg




May 30
Congrats to Gravois Trail Silver Beaver Honorees

​Gravois Trail is proud of its 2013 Silver Beaver honorees, Keith Guller and Joe Vaughn. The two received their awards during the Annual Council Meeting and Recognition Dinner on May 28. Read more about each recipient below.

Keith Guller
For more than 13 years, Keith Guller has been a leader in the Gravois Trail District’s Friends of Scouting campaign- first as a team leader, then as chairman and currently as his district’s development chairman and member of the council’s executive board.  In 2007, he received the District Award of Merit.


In the St. Louis area, Keith is the chairman for the National Kidney Foundation’s board of directors, an organization he has supported for over 15 years. He initiated the Guller Family Lectureship in Preventive Cardiology for the Barnes Jewish Hospital Foundation and as a board member for 10 years, works to connect the hospital and a family of charitable donors.  


Keith is a founding member and serves on the current board for the Institute for Private Business at the John Cook School of Business at St. Louis University. This organization assists key executives and owners of family or private businesses with ways to resolve critical issues, shape the growth of their businesses and power the future of the St. Louis region. He is also an active member of the Association for the United States Army raising funds for veterans’ children to attend college.


Joe Vaughn

Joe Vaughn's devotion and dedication for the Special Needs Scouting program is second to none. Joe currently serves as Special Needs Activity Chairman and has also held the position of Assistant District Commissioner–Special Needs.

A veteran who served his country in the U.S. Air Force, including a tour in Vietnam, Joe completed Wood Badge Training while serving on the Gravois Trail District’s Adult Leader Training staff. He also served on the staff of Xtreme2000, the council-wide camporee of 2000.

Joe has received Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow, District Award of Merit, Proficient Trainer’s Award, God and Country, National President’s Scoutmaster Award of Merit and Scoutmaster Key.


May 26
Pictures From 64th Annual Memorial Day Good Turn

Thanks to all participants who attended Sunday's Memorial Day Good Turn. The 64th annual event was another success. Below are some photos from the day. If you have a picture you'd like to share, please email it to​





May 22
Memorial Day Good Turn Scheduled For Sunday, May 26

Recognizing Fallen Soldiers Has Long Tradition in Gravois Trail District

ST. LOUIS, Mo. –
For more than five decades, nearly 4,000 scouts have gathered at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, located along the banks of the Mississippi River, over Memorial Day weekend to place an American flag at the grave of every deceased soldier within the cemetery’s fences. The tradition, now entering its 64th year in the Gravois Trail District, is one of the longest running Memorial Day events within the Boy Scouts of America today. The 2013 edition is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 26.

The first Memorial Day Good Turn in the Greater St. Louis Area Council (GSLAC) took place in 1950 and was completed by scouts in what was then called the Grant District, but today is referred to as the Gravois Trail District. Since the mid-1990’s, the event has grown to include all units within GSLAC and the manpower is certainly needed. Every year on the last Sunday of May, area scouts take roughly two hours to cover the 330 acres in Jefferson Barracks and place flags on nearly 190,000 graves.

To honor the Barracks’ fallen soldiers each year, a procession of Boy Scouts march from the National Guard base into Jefferson Barracks Cemetery where a ceremony then takes place at the main flag pole on the grounds. Scouts who earned Eagle Scout during the past year serve as color guard and scout buglers play “Taps.” From there a guest speaker addresses the crowd before Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Scouts and Girl Scouts disperse to put out flags, all of which are furnished by Jefferson Barracks. This year’s keynote speaker will be Lieutenant Brian T. Leicht of the U.S. Marine Corps. Leicht, a graduate of Oakville Senior High School, earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2007.

Such a large scale event wouldn’t be possible without a plan in place. St. Louis native Bill Frein is the man behind the preparations and will enter his 13th year running the good turn in 2013. Although he took over the reins in 2000, Frein has been involved with Memorial Day Good Turn since the 1970’s during his time as a Scoutmaster. The Eagle Scout and Silver Beaver Award recipient relies on a committee of 18 people to help carry out the day’s tasks and ensure the event runs smoothly.

“I just feel that it’s a way that I can help recognize those who have given time to our country to serve in the armed forces and the military, and I am a veteran myself,” said Frein, who was drafted into the army from 1956-58.

Opened in 1826 as the first permanent U.S. Army base west of the Mississippi River, Jefferson Barracks was at one time the largest military base in the U.S. Its military operations stopped in 1946. In 1866, JB was established as a national cemetery and today it is one of 131 national cemeteries under the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is also one of the oldest interment sites within the VA’s system and has buried veterans from every U.S. war, including the American Revolution.

Once known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day was established after the Civil War to honor the Confederate and Union soldiers who died. Today, the event commemorates all of those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It wasn’t until 1967 that a Federal law declared Memorial Day as the official name. 



May 21
Summer Day Camps Are Almost Here!

Can you believe we are just two and a half weeks away from the first summer day camp? From a Webelos-only camp​ to fishing and shooting sports, Gravois Trail has something for everyone this summer! Camp is one of the best things about Scouting so make sure everyone in your unit gets the opportunity to experience the fun. The good news is it's not too late to sign up! Simply click here to get more information and register.

BSA Galatic Trek.jpg

Webelos Twilight Camp | June 10-14, 2013 | 5-8:30 p.m. | Cost: $60 | Director: Alexia Arensmeier
The Webelos Twilight Camp offers several activities not found in other Gravois Trail day camps. Participants have opportunities to learn campfire cooking and wood crafting and play team-building games. Of course, the always popular shooting sports is also available. Since this camp is scheduled over Flag Day, Scouts will participate in a special flag retiring ceremony.

Bee Tree Fishing Camp
| June 25-27, 2013
| 4:30-8:30 p.m. | Cost: $60 | Director: Tim Davis
Scouts bring their own fishing pole and we’ll supply the bait. Participants learn the basics about fishing and take part in fun games such as the casting contest. Other activities throughout the week include BB guns, archery and sling shot stations. Expect special presentations such as touring a fishing boat or learning about robotics as part of the BSA’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program.

Simpson Park Shooting Sports | July 9-11, 2013 | 5-8:30 p.m. | Cost: $60 | Director: Sue Brewer
As the name suggests, this camp is dedicated to learning the skills and safety techniques when it comes to BB guns, bows and arrows, and sling shots. Participants also get the opportunity to launch the district’s new and improved catapults. A representative of the BSA’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program will visit campers for a special presentation.

Cub Scouts Twilight Camp | July 15-18, 2013 | 4:30-8:30 p.m. | Cost: $60 | Director: Mary Knapp
Field sports and shooting sports consumes this four-day camp. Activities such as BB guns, archery, sling shots and catapults are offered as well as some traditional team sports. When not on the field, Scouts can tap into their creative skills to complete fun crafts and toys.

May 20
May Roundtable Handouts

Forms and flyers from the May Roundtable are now available. Please make sure to fill out and return the 2013 Popcorn Commitment Card, which is located in the handouts.​

May Roundtable Handouts.pdfMay Roundtable Handouts.pdf


April 25
District Hike Location Change!

Due to excessive rainfall in the St. Louis area in recent weeks, the Gravois Trail District Hike ​is being relocated to Clydesdale Park (9801 Green Park Rd.). If we stayed at Minnie Haha we would have to hold a district swim! 

The hike is just $5 per person and registration can be done online or by filling out this form: District Hike.pdfDistrict Hike.pdf. The form can be mailed to the GSLAC office or dropped off at May roundtable. If you are interested in the map, here is the route for the 2 mile, 3.2 mile and 10 mile options. District Hike Map.pdfDistrict Hike Map.pdf


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Welcome to the Gravois Trail District blog.