2016holidayFor the last few years I, along with many other Scouters and Scouts, have been buying the Scouting Village collection pieces. Last year my village filled an area larger than two foot by four foot. That was without all the 2015 pieces as part of the display. It would be a fair size larger this year. The Villa Philmonte piece, which is the larger piece of the collection, takes a good chuck of real-estate by itself.

I have been waiting for the B.S.A.’s holiday mailer to arrive to see what this year’s pieces would add to the collection. The mailer has arrived. Disappointment has arrived with it. There are no new pieces shown in the flyer. I always wondered how long there would be new “buildings” to add to a Scouting village. After all, the village seemed to be based on a summer camp theme. There are only so many buildings found at a summer camp. While last year’s Villa Philmonte building was nice, it really did not fit well with the rest of the collection.

So, did the people in charge of the collection finally run out of ideas? Or did last year’s collection not go over very well. (I know the Villa piece was rather expensive.) Is the collection done, or could there be more pieces next year?

It got me thinking. What other pieces could be added to the Scouting Village collection? Here are a few suggestions. How about a nature center, or a handicrafts lodge? A first aid/health lodge would be a good fit. A climbing tower, with climbers , would be something I would buy. How about a sauna for the beach area? We already have some larger wall tents, but how about some smaller backpacking tents? A summer camp needs an administration building. How about a horse stable and corral? Gosh, there are enough ideas for any other two or four years worth of buildings! And don’t forget the Scouts and leaders figurines.

Maybe it is a good thing for this to come to an end. The village would just start taking up too much room in the house if it kept going. But then, I could really just change things up from year to year. The are no rules saying I have to put up all the buildings up every year, but knowing me I would have to try. My house is not that large which means a fair portion of my living room would get used.

I may not set up the village this year. I have volunteered to have the troop’s Christmas party at my house so I think I will need all the room I have for the Scouts to use, especially since the patrol leader council has decided to invite the 5th grade Webelos Scouts to join us. The living room will already be a bit crowded as we gather to watch the movie. I would have to find somewhere else to set up the village if I do set it up.

How do you feel about the lack of new Scouting Village pieces this year? Have you been collecting them?

By the way, if you would like to see my set up from last year I do have the video posted to Youtube. It can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ2_xh_acto .

Thanks for Sharing!

    img_1049The Bears Den of Melrose Cub Scout Pack 68 had fun last weekend. They had their first overnight camping trip. It was held a couple miles south of Melrose in the backyard of one of the families. With a nice big backyard, and hiking trails nearby, it was a good spot for this fun activity. Eight of the ten Bear Scouts were able to attend the outing. I believe they each had a parent in attendance.

    The Bears were kept busy with several activities. They assisted in setting up the tents and laying out their gear. They took a hike to a nearby gravel pit, watching for animal tracks along the way to complete an award requirement. They learned about pocket knife safety as they earned their Whittling Chip badge. And, of course they played games. It is amazing how much noise eight third grade boys can make when they are having fun together. After it got dark, it suddenly grew very quiet, like someone had turned off the volume switch. It did not take long to discover the boys had decided to play a game of hide and seek. After that game was done the noise level rose again.

    I did not stay for the overnight. I did attend for a few hours, enough time to have supper with the den, chat with the parents in attendance, and have a little fun with the boys. My true reason for being there was to tell a story around the campfire before they turned in for the night. The story I chose? The Purple Gorilla story. It is a good story for that age group. Even the adults enjoyed it. As the story’s suspense reached its peak toward the end of the tale, I had everyone’s full attention. In fact, at one point I think everyone one of the boys jumped, and maybe even a couple adults. As I finished the tale with its interesting twist, the Scouts laughed and the adults smiled.

    It may have been a quite suspenseful story, but it really is not a scary story. In fact, one of the fathers told me the next day that the Scouts fell asleep very quickly once the turned in for the night. No nightmares were to be had. Let’s face it, the boys were worn out. The night did get a bit chilly though. It temperature dropped into the upper thirties Sunday morning. The young Scouts did not seem to mind very much. It was just another part of their weekend adventure!

    Thanks for Sharing!

      img_1088Seven Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 had a blast at Philmont Scout Ranch this summer. The local newspaper was notified of the trip and decided that an article was in order. At last night’s troop meeting we received a visit from Herman, the newspaper reporter. He sat down with four of the seven Scouts for about 25-30 minutes. He had quite a few questions to ask, and the Scouts did a pretty good job of answering. It was fun to watch them as memories came back to them during the discussion.

      I did not attend the trip to Philmont so I decided to stand behind the table as the interview was being conducted. I have not had the time to sit down with the Scouts myself to talk to them about the adventure so I was anxious to hear what they had to say. I helped Herman by asking a few questions of my own that he might have asked if he had been to Philmont. I was also able to give a few details about the camp itself for which the Scouts did not have answers to give.

      When Herman left the meeting it just made me think that I may have to host a Philmont evening to hear their stories about the trip, and see the pictures that were taken. I might even have to make a few pizzas and have some sodas available.


      Thanks for Sharing!

        rockwellwallMany Boy Scout councils use incentives during their Friends Of Scouting campaigns. During the last several years, our council has used special council strip patches to entice donors to give a little more. Each year’s patch features a different point of the Scout Law. Of course, since I collect patches, I am one of those people who end up giving enough to get the patch. Or two.

        Before there were patches, our council used a different Norman Rockwell Scouting themed print each year as an incentive for the upper tiers of giving. These framed 11″ x 17″ prints were fairly popular. At least they were with me. I own all 15 prints. (I own doubles of a few of them after a family that used to be involved with Scouting decided to clean house and offered their collection to me.) Actually, 14 prints were of Norman Rockwell artwork. The one for 2010 used a painting by Joseph Csatari created for the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

        All fifteen prints are found in my home office. The doubles I have on the wall of my office at work. Did I use these in Scouting displays as I did with the print sets I wrote about in the previous articles? Yes, I did, but not very often. After all, these are framed and contain glass, so I had to be more careful of were they would be used.

        The photo shows the prints on the wall. They are hung in the order as I received them, from left to right, top to bottom. At least I am pretty sure that is the order. There have been a couple times they have all been off the wall so I may have a couple mixed up. If you don’t tell anyone, I won’t either.

        Has your council ever used framed prints as incentives in its F.O.S. drives? How many have you collected? Leave a comment below.

        Thanks for Sharing!

          jc_6088The Norman Rockwell reprint set I wrote about in the last post is not the only Scouting print set I own. I also have The New Spirit Of Scouting set featuring ten paintings of Joseph Csatari. These prints are also 11″ x 17″ and are great to have as part of my collection. Once again, I did use them in some displays, but since they are newer I did not use them as often. They are in much better shape than the Rockwell print set I have.

          I love the Joseph Csatari paintings nearly as much as Norman Rockwell. He is a fantastic artist. You can easily see that Joseph was paying attention as he learned from the master. While the Rockwell prints captured the early days of Scouting, Csatari’s paintings capture more of today’s spirit. During his 60-year association with the BSA, he created more than 150 Scout-themed paintings and drawings. Did you know that his permanent Boy Scout collection of paintings is housed alongside Norman Rockwell’s at the National Scouting Museum? That is one more reason that I need to make a trip to the museum someday.

          I wish the national Scout Shop would sell the Rockwell and Csatari print sets again. I bet there are a lot of current friends of Scouting and Scouters that would buy a set for themselves or as gifts. I would probably buy all three sets myself just so I could have an unused set of each in my collection.

          Which one of the ten is your favorite? Do you or someone you know own this set? Leave a comment below.


          Thanks for Sharing!

            nr_6086A long time ago, in a galaxy… Oh wait, Let me start again. Way back in the 1980’s, which is prehistory to today’s Scouts, a young scoutmaster began collecting Scouting memorabilia. That collection continues to grow to this day, although not as fast as it once did. Tonight, as I was looking through a closet downstairs, I came across a few items that I bet most of today’s Scouters did not even know existed for sale at one time. One of those items is a set of Norman Rockwell reprints.

            The set is called “Scouting Through The Eyes Of Norman Rockwell”. It contains ten 11″ x 17″ reprints of various paintings by Norman Rockwell, which I believed were used for the annual Boy Scouts of America calendar. The ten prints feature some of the most iconic paintings of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts done by Mr. Rockwell. (See the picture below for the names of the prints in the set.)

            I bought the set as soon as I saw it in the local Scout Shop back then. These prints did not just stay in the package. I used them, and used them well. They were used for courts of honor. They were used in displays set up around town. If I thought they fit into something I was doing I was not afraid to get them out and put them to use. The many tape marks are proof of that.

            I have not used them in any displays for over ten years or more. They are now keepsakes in my Scouting collection. In fact, I kind of wish I never used them in displays. The tape marks and slight crinkles do mare the looks a bit. But I did, and that is the way they are. Maybe the prints mean even more to me since I did use them. I know people enjoyed looking at them.

            The set is labeled as Series II. Unfortunately, I did not pick up a set of Series I when it was available. To tell the truth, I do not even remember seeing Series I for sale. I did a quick search on eBay and did find a Series II set for sale at a Buy It Now price of $45.00. I don’t think I am quite ready to buy another set at that price, even though it does appear to be in much better shape then mine. Although at $20.00 I would maybe think about it.

            Do any of you have this Norman Rockwell print set? Have you put it to use like I did, or did you keep your set in pristine condition? Add a comment below.


            Thanks for Sharing!

              Eagle MedalAs a scoutmaster I did not plan any Eagle courts of honor. After all, that was not my job. The Eagle Scout plans his court of honor with the help of his parents. I did give advice and help a bit when asked, but I usually stayed away from the planning. That is not to say I was not involved in the court of honor. As a scoutmaster I often spoke about the Scout during the ceremony, and many times I was the presenter of the award. Since stepping down from the scoutmaster position I have served as the master of ceremony for one court of honor.

              Monday night was the first time I found myself involved with the planning of an Eagle ceremony. The new Eagle Scout sat down with me, the assistant scoutmaster, and another Eagle Scout of Troop 68, and threw around various ideas as he decided on what he liked and did not like. Text messaging came in handy as he contacted a few people to see if they could participate in the ceremony. By the end of the meeting we had the agenda pretty well planned, and he seemed happy with the way it looked.

              So why did I become involved in the planning this time around? Because the Scout has a short amount of time to get things organized. He is currently in college, working most nights, and to put it simply, is quite busy. His court of honor is going to be held this Sunday so yes, he needed some assistance getting things planned. I have agreed to be the master of ceremonies and his scoutmaster will be the presenter of the Eagle award. He does have a few people lined up to say a few words.

              I have seen some fairly elaborate courts of honors over the last 36 years, and I have seen some simple ceremonies. This one will not be an elaborate one, and that is okay. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the court of honor is planned by the Eagle Scout to be the way he wants it to be. That is what matters. Too tell the truth, that is all that really matters. It is his moment and no one else’s. I think Sunday’s Eagle Scout court of honor will be a nice ceremony, and I am looking forward to being a part of it.



              Thanks for Sharing!

                posterTonight kicked off the ticket sales for Boy Scout Troop 68’s fall fundraiser. The spaghetti supper will be held at the Melrose American Legion on Saturday, October 29th. Serving will be from 5:00 to 8:00 in the evening.

                The troop usually does pretty well on its meals fundraisers. In the spring we held a pancake and sausage breakfast that did very well. The spaghetti supper will be done in the same manner. The Scouts will have three and a half weeks to go out and sell tickets. Adult tickets will cost $7.00 in advance, and will be 50 cents more at the door. Children’s tickets are $5.00 each, also 50 cents more at the door. Children age 4 and under eat for free. Presales are the key to having a great fundraiser so we encourage the Scouts to do they best the can.

                The parents will be in charge of the food preparation the day of the meal. The Boy Scouts will set and clean tables and wash some of the dishes. We do require at least one parent or guardian from each family help out the day of the meal. We often have other family members helping out also.

                The meals do require everyone to work hard that evening (or morning) but the results at the end of the day make it all worthwhile. Not only does the troop earn money for the costs of the program, but the Scouts also earn credit that they can apply to camp. It is a win-win all around.

                Thanks for Sharing!