Ethical Navigators Weekly Update – May 17


  • Updated: More details about our next Outing: camping in Mark Twain National Forest over Memorial Day weekend.
  • Plans in place for outings and add-ons from May through July.
  • For children age 8 and up,please consider going to Camp Quest.
  • Our next General Meeting will be at 9:45 am on June 21.
  • Updated: We had a productive Council Meeting this morning.

May 22-25: Camping/Civil War/Shut-Ins
We have selected Silver Mines Campground in Mark Twain National Forest for our May camping outing. This campsite is less than an hour drive from both Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park and the Civil War battle site at Fort Davidson State Historic Site. We have a reservation for Memorial Day Weekend (May 22-25).

Here is the schedule:

  • Friday: meet at Silver Mines Recreation Area Campground (PDF).
    Directions: From St. Louis, take Interstate 55 south to Hwy. 67 south; then, at Fredericktown, take Hwy. 72 west to Hwy. D following it to Silver Mines.From St. Louis it should take about 1 ½ hours to 1 ¾ hours, depending on what part of town you’re starting from. Once you get close there are signs pointing the way.Note: Google Maps seems to only recognize “Silver Mine Recreation Area” when the actual name is “Silver Mines Recreation Area” (note the plural).We have sites 39, 41, 42, 45, 46,48, 53, & 55 in the Prospect Loop.
  • Saturday Morning: expedition to the Fort Davidson historic site.
    Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic SiteThe visitor center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
  • Saturday Afternoon: water, hiking, and climbing fun at Johnson’s Shut-Ins.
  • Sunday: hiking, swimming, and rock hounding on the trails of Silver Mines.
    The 2-mile long Silver Mines Trail follows both sides of the river.  West Section leads to Riverside Picnic Area.  East Section (1 mile) leads to Turkey Creek Picnic Area.  From there, a 1.2 mile trail leads to Mill Stream Gardens Conservation Area, managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
  • Monday: swimming and climbing at the Amidon Memorial Conservation Area.
    This site features the pink granite Castor River shut-ins and the Cedar Glade Trail.
    Amidon Memorial Conservation Area is located south of Route J, approximately eight miles east of Fredericktown. County Road 208 fords the Castor River on the area.

Note that this is an unusual camping outing because it falls on a three-day weekend. Some families will be there Friday-Monday, but please don’t feel that you have to do that to participate. You can join us for a day or two.

Further details:

  • The cost for the weekend with be $30/person for ages 7 and up and $25/person for ages 6 and younger.
  • We will have combined meals all-day Saturday and Sunday and breakfast on Monday. If you are coming Friday night, please arrange your own dinner with your family.
  • Andy Ford will investigate integrating a service project with one of our activities.
  • One of our new families, the Crawfords, have room in their vehicle for two additional people and their gear. If you want to go but need a ride, please let us know so we can put you in touch with the Crawfords.
  • Please bring your shirts and sashes so that we can wear them with pride when we visit Fort Davidson.
  • We will have safety equipment for our bouldering adventure, but it would be a good idea to bring your bicycle helmets, if possible, as a backup.
  • Please use this camping checklist as a guide for packing for the weekend.
  • Haley Pepper will work with the older Senior and older Junior Navigators for advanced responsibilities. Ideas included a flag ceremony, more food responsibility, building fires, etc.

Please RSVP for the weekend, but the end of Monday the 18th, if possible. So far, we have the following as confirmed (with number of adults/children after the family name):

  • Crawford (1/1)
  • Finney (4/2)
  • Fonseca/Pepper (2/2)
  • Ford (1/2)
  • Mike & Mel Johnson (2/2)
  • Karlen (1 or 2/2)
  • Semler/Assington (2/1)
  • Wilson (1/1)

Additionally, we’ve heard maybes or preliminary yeses from the following that we would like to confirm:

  • East (1/1)
  • Jim and Andrew Johnson (1/1)
  • Whompton (2/2)

We’d like to have confirmation of these maybes, and we’d like to hear from anyone else who is planning to go.

May 31 Add-on
Family Float Trip/Paddle for a Cause on Sunday, May 31 at 1:30pm.

Join the Open Space Council for a fun-filled summertime float trip on the beautiful Courtois, Huzzah, and Meramec Rivers to raise funds for this year’s Operation Clean Stream! This family-friendly float trip is approximately 3 hours long. A delicious picnic dinner and outdoor games will follow the float.

Early bird registration is available until May 15, 2015 and tickets may be purchased for $55/adult and $15/youth (age 15 and under). Tickets purchased after May 15, 2015 are $60/person for adults and $20/youth (plus service fee if purchased online.)

Tickets may be purchased online. Tickets include paddles, canoes, life jackets, shuttle, and dinner. All money raised from this event will go to support Operation Clean Stream, an annual river cleanup and restoration event in the Meramec Watershed.

Reminder: An add-on is an event that some families in Navigators might attend, but not an event for which we are having a formal presence. If you know of other events that might be fun for Navigators, please let us know, and we will advertise them and add them to our calendar.

June 26-28: Camping/Caves/River
We will camp at Onandaga Cave State Park the weekend of June 26-28. This park will provide opportunities for spelunking, hiking, and playing in the Meramec River. Lance Finney is planning this weekend, and more details will come later.

July 5-11: Camp Quest
Camp Quest is a “place for fun, friends and freethought for kids ages 8 to 17. We provide a traditional sleepaway summer camp experience with a wide range of activities, including sports, crafts, games, swimming and campfires.” If you had experience with a sleep-away church camp and wish your children could have the same experience except replacing the religious message with “critical thinking, ethics, scientific inquiry, philosophy and comparative religion”, this is the place for you. Camp Quest is open for children ages 8-17.

Camp Quest Kansas City will be running July 5-11 at Knob Noster State Park, between Kansas City and Sedalia, Missouri. We do not expect this to be an official Ethical Navigators event, but we view this as a “Super Add-On.”

Camp Quest is only $430 for a full week of sleep-away camp. Let us know if you have any questions, and we will try to facilitate this as much as possible.

July 17-19: Camping/Float Trip
Our formal outing for July will be be another float-trip camping weekend at Meramec State Park, where we went in July 2014. We have campsites reserved for July 17-19 Tom Draney is planning this weekend.

General Meetings

June 21
Our next General Meeting will be at 9:45 am on June 21 at the Ethical Society in preparation for the Onandaga Cave State Park outing. We will probably make cave-related dioramas to learn about the caves.


May Council Meeting

This morning, six members of the Council and two guests met in the Ethical Society Nursery School’s Green Room:
Tom Draney (Treasurer), Lance Finney (Communications), Andy Ford (Junior Navigators), Bob Heck (Travelers), Haley Pepper (Junior Navigators – called in), and Ellen Wilson (Quartermaster). The guests were Kyle Crawford and Rebecca Karlen.

The meeting was mostly focused on the details of upcoming meetings and outings as described above. In addition, we discussed the following topics:

  • Shirts – Our last order of shirts from Navigators USA included some incorrect sizes and damaged merchandise. If you received a shirt of the wrong size or a damaged shirt, please return it to Draney so he can try to get it returned to the national organization.
  • AEU Assembly – The National Organisation for the American Ethical Union has expressed interest in the Ethical Navigators, and they want to learn from us for use at other Societies. Unfortunately, their national meeting is the same weekend as our campout to Onondaga Cave, so we probably won’t send a delegate. However, Pepper will be on the East Coast before and during the Assembly, so she is trying to find a way to provide information.Further, we recently discovered that the 2016 AEU Assembly will be here in St. Louis, so we will offer to present more fully at that meeting.
  • Navigator Regional Meeting – Navigators USA is holding two Regional meetings for discussions about curriculum, leadership, etc. The closest meeting for us is in Indianapolis, IN on June 6. If you are interested in participating either in person or online, please let us know. Pepper will try to call in, and she requests assistance from other families in participating in the meeting, perhaps splitting the time in shifts.
  • Pinewood Derby – We plan to have a Pinewood Derby as a fall General Meeting activity. Originally, this was going to be a September activity, but we might move it to October to make room for an opportunity to camp at a Society member’s cabin for free on a September weekend. Additionally, we might want to make construction of the cars be a multi-week SEEK Special Project. We will have to co-ordinate with the SEEK leadership as the fall approaches.
  • September Outing – A Society member has offered use of a somewhat rustic cabin for a camping outing in September (this is the same cabin that the Coming of Age group uses each year). We really like the idea, and Heck is going to work with the member to hammer out details. We might include Pinewood Derby construction as part of the activities there.
  • Senior Navigators – Heck presented swamp camping as a more advanced activity. The group was interested, so Heck and Pepper will investigate the idea with Senior Navigators leader Stuart Morse for a 2016 outing.
  • Fundraising
    • Sales – Pepper presented an idea that she and Bruce Wulff have been working on, to sell miniature versions of the Peace Pole that the SEEK kids painted last week. It might also be combined with selling painted rocks. We could sell them at the Society’s Activity Faire. We will continue thinking about this idea.
    • Badges – Pepper is coordinating the badges for the Navigators Chapters around the country. For her time, our Chapter has been making a small profit on these sales (this is normal for scouting groups). Pepper proposed perhaps foregoing the markup for a new chapter that is struggling to raise funds. We discussed the idea, but we tabled it for further conversation around a campfire.
  • National – Pepper told us that she has applied with the national organization for a job in a new position as Outreach Co-ordinator that would be created for her. The national organization liked the idea but doesn’t have the funds at the moment. There may be fundraising or grants to try to support this position.
  • Council Meetings – We decided that we will try not to have Council Meetings in the weekend directly preceding a campout – we should have at least two weeks between the Council Meeting and the major outing to ensure we have enough time to handle remaining logistical questions.

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