PTC Trip 2014.511When I was at the Philmont Training Center for a week last June, I gave my camera quite a workout. I think I came back with around 900 pictures from the trip. That is a lot, even for me. I remember my first trips to Philmont for 10 day backpacking treks in the 1980′s when I took 150 photographs and thought that was a lot of photos. Just goes to show the difference between film and digital technology I guess.

Almost every night during my stay at PTC I would wonder on over to the Philmont Base Camp and look around, take a look through the trading post, and maybe stop by the snack shop for a bag of popcorn or an ice cream cone. One evening I decided to play with the camera and see what kind of night shots I could take. Would this simple point and shoot Canon camera take good pictures when there was little light? I was going to find out.

I was pretty happy with the pictures. So was Bob, the district executive from our council who also went to PTC that week. I thought it might be fun to share the pictures with you so I posted 14 of them to a Flickr album for you all to view. Check them out and let me know what you think of them. The link can be found at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevejb68/sets/72157645252031607/  .

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    ButtonsDisplay1It has been awhile since Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, has shown up for anything. He has been laying low and taking it easy. Even his Facebook page and Twitter accounts were not seeing much action. But this month, things changed a bit and he was active once again. He has been busy assisting with display for the local School Night To Join Scouting, or as the councils in the state of Minnesota called it, Rocket Into Scouting! Here are a few pictures of Buttons hard at work putting that display together. He was also in attendance during the evening with his display, greeting the boys into the grand world of Cub Scouting.

     

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      Cub_Scout_CharactersAs I mentioned in the last post to A Scoutmaster’s Blog, I have been helping to reorganize the pack leadership. We now have what I feel is a strong committee of four committed parents. I also plan to stay on the pack committee to lend my assistance and support during this program year. I guess that means we have a committee of five.

      Last night we held a pack committee meeting to prepare for next Monday’s pack meeting, the first one of the new year, and the first one featuring the new leadership. Unfortunately, one adult leadership position is still unfilled. While we were planning the pack meeting agenda one of the committee members asked who was going to be running this meeting. After all, we still do not have a Cubmaster.

      I raised my hand and said I would act as Cubmaster for this first pack meeting. I also explained that was the reason I was trying to get the committee to come up with a detailed agenda. If I was going to be the acting cubmaster I wanted to know exactly what I needed to prepare for. We all know what the Boy Scout Motto is, correct?

      I could see a sigh of relief go through the committee when I offered to be the face of the pack meeting. I think we have a good agenda planned. Something patriotic. Something Cub Scouting. Something about the dens. Something to recognize the new Scouts. Something to present to every Cub Scout. And even a couple of loud songs for the boys and families to sign along.

      This is going to be completely different for me. I am used to working with 11-18 year old boys. I have noticed that  Cub Scout age boys are a completely different breed of cat. I will admit that I am a bit nervous. Can I do a good job of pulling this off? I think I can, but we will all find out on September 29th.

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        2014_Rocket_Scouting_web_adAs the Cub Scout program year came to a close last May our cubmaster stepped down from his position. His youngest son has graduated out of the pack. That left the pack without a cubmaster. It also left the pack without an active pack committee. Everyone who was registered as a committee member no longer had sons as members of the pack. The pack had no leadership in place for this fall, and no one had done anything to try to take care of that problem over the summer.

        I was a member of the pack committee, but it was pretty much in name only. I was a name on the roster because a third person was needed to keep a pack committee formed. The committee rarely, if ever met. I did try to hold two committee members over my tenure but not much came of them. The cubmaster pretty much did things on his own, but he kept the pack alive.

        In August, as I saw School Night to Join Scouting coming closer on the calendar, I finally decided that something should be done to try to get some leadership in place before the new boys and parents showed up to join the Cub Scout pack. I sent out an email to a small list of Cub Scout parents I was able to get ahold of, asking them to come to a parents meeting to start preparing for a new year. I received four replies. Two said they would attend, and the other two stated they would not be participating in Scouting this fall. I did not hear anything from the others.

        The night of the meeting arrived. I held onto hope that at least three people would attend. One parent did call to say they were running late. Other than that, no one showed up. At seven thirty I was still the only one. I called the parent back to tell her she should not bother to come to the meeting. At 7:45, one father did arrive. He and I had our meeting times mixed up. The two of us did agree to try another parent meeting in two weeks.

        The second meeting was held on Tuesday, September 9. Two mothers and one father attended that meeting. My goal was to get the beginnings of a committee formed and plan a program agenda through December. By the end of the meeting we had a new committee formed (with a chairperson, treasurer, and advancement person), and a preliminary program agenda through next May. One parent had someone in mind to ask about being a cubmaster. Another parent thought there might be one more parent to join the newly formed committee, which by Wednesday evening the committee had another member.

        I am very pleased that we have this much in place for Thursday night’s School Night. I know I will be heading up the meeting that night but I do not really mind. I want the pack to grow and do well. After all, these are the boys who will hopefully be graduating into the Boy Scout troop in a few years.

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          village 8pc setI remember when the Boy Scout stores began selling the Scouting Village pieces a couple years ago. I decided to start collecting them a little too late and missed out on getting the lighted Trading Post building. I still do not have one. When this year’s village pieces became available at our local Scout Shop I bought all three immediately. I did not want to make the same mistake a second time.

          I recently noticed that in addition to this year’s collection pieces, scoutstuff.com has an eight piece starter set available to purchase. The set includes all the pieces from 2012 and 2013, including the lighted Trading Post. So, in other words, I can now get the piece I am missing, if I am willing to spend $80 on the whole set. Since I have all the other pieces already, I do not think I will be doing that.

          I wish the scoutstuff.com website would make all the pieces available as single pieces. It is obvious they are manufacturing the pieces again, otherwise why wouldn’t they have offered the pieces online earlier to clear out inventory?  I am sure I am not the only one who missed out buying a building during the last two years, or maybe I am. I does frustrate me a bit, almost to the point of thinking that this will probably be the last year I will collect the Scouting Village pieces.

          It is a great idea to offer the set to new collectors, but I feel it is a slap in the face to those of us who began collecting two years ago. What do you think about it?

          http://www.scoutstuff.org/set-village-lighted-8pc.html

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            jambopatches2014I know many of you collect patches, be they council strips, Order of the Arrow lodge flaps, or activity patches. One of the several patch collection I have is of the 2001 National Jamboree. I collect from that event because I attended it with nine Boy Scouts from my troop. I still add patches to this collection when I can pick them up at a reasonable price. Here is a photo of the patches I collected from eBay auctions in the last three weeks.

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              discgolfwaterThis month is the beginning of the new 2014-2015 program for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. The Scouts got together one Saturday last month and plotted out their monthly themes and activities for another year. A few of the traditional outings made it in, and a few new ones joined the program. Here is a look at the schedule for the next twelve months.

              September 2014: Safe trip afloat/ canoe safety
              1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings Popcorn sales
              9 – Committee Meeting
              18 – School night to join scouting
              22 – Court Of Honor
              26-28 – canoe trip and camp out
              29 – PLC Meeting

              October 2014: Leave no trace/packing
              6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
              6 – start ticket sales for supper
              6 – Popcorn Sales Due to Chris
              14 – Committee Meeting
              25 – Road Cleanup
              24-26 – Kramer’s/clay pigeon shoot
              27 – PLC Meeting

              November 2014: Knot tying
              1 – Troop fundraiser supper
              3, 10, 17 – Troop Meetings
              18 – Committee Meeting
              22-23 – Overnight/ rock climbing
              24 – PLC Meeting

              December 2014: Personal fitness/ management/advancement
              1, 8 – Troop Meetings
              9 – Committee Meeting
              13 – Snow Tubing/Christmas Party
              15 – Court Of Honor

              January 2015: first aid/ fire safety
              5, 12,19 – Troop Meetings
              20 – Committee Meeting
              24 – Water Park Brainerd
              26 – PLC Meeting

              February 2015: Uniforms/Sewing
              2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
              17 – Committee Meeting
              20-22 – Camp Stearns
              23 – PLC Meeting

              March 2015: Merit badge/Advancements
              2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
              17 – Committee Meeting
              21 – LPMRB Outing
              23 – Court Of Honor
              30 – PLC Meeting

              April 2015: Cooking
              6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
              17-19 – Watchamagumee
              18 – Scouting for food drop off
              25 – Road Cleanup/scouting for food pick up
              21 – Committee Meeting
              27 – PLC Meeting

              May 2015: Swim Safety
              4, 11, 18 – Troop Meetings
              15-17- Ripley Rendezvous
              18 – Summer Camp Meeting (Parents & Scouts)
              19 – Committee Meeting
              25 – PLC Meeting

              June 2015 Fire Starting/Campfires
              1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings
              16 – Committee Meeting
              19-21 – Camp out/Disc Golf
              22 – Court Of Honor
              29 – PLC Meeting

              July 2015: Summer Camp
              12-18 – Summer camp

              August 2015: Geocaching/ Hike safety
              1 – Yearly Planning Session
              3, 10, 17- Troop Meetings
              18 – Committee Meeting
              21-23- Sibley Camp Out
              24 – PLC Meeting

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                dining hallI arrived at the Central Minnesota Council office early for Tuesday night’s roundtable so I spent some time checking out the Scout Shop. There was only a couple of us looking around when the clerk asked me if she could help me find anything, like books, awards, Christmas items…

                The mention of Christmas items caught my attention immediately. Just last week I had checked the scoutstuff.com website to see if there were any new pieces for the Scouting Village that had began two years ago. I was anxious to see if this village would be continued and what this year’s pieces would be. Unfortunately, I found nothing on the website. So when the Scout Shop clerk mentioned Christmas items I had to ask about the Scouting Village.

                She replied that they had received the new pieces that very afternoon and have not had a chance to get them on the shelves yet. Awesome, I thought. I asked if I could see them and followed her into the storage room where she opened the carton. I believe I was the first Scouting volunteer in my council to see the new pieces, and this year’s building grabbed my attention.

                The newest building in the series is the Lighted Dining Hall. I thought is was well designed and quite colorful, but a little small in scale for a dining hall. Only one troop would fit in here, I thought. Oh well, it is a village building piece and they are not in the same scale as the people or even other buildings. It is still a pretty cool looking piece and I am anxious to add it to my set up this year. The website states (Yes, it can now be bought online), “A welcome addition to the holiday Scouting Village, this piece enhances any collection. Porcelain rendering of a BSA camp dining hall is beautifully detailed—complete with outdoor picnic tables!”

                The next piece that I noticed was the “Tree Sales” Figurine. I like this piece because it reminds me of the years that Boy Scout Troop 68 sold Christmas Trees as a fundraiser. The website says, “Premium-quality accessory adds character and dimension to your Lighted Scouting Village scenes. Polyresin tree figurine features a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Leader hard at work on a Christmas tree sales lot.” I have to agree the the figures do add quite a bit to the Scouting Village scene.

                The third and final piece of this year’s collection is the “Popcorn Tree” Figurine. This piece features a Boy Scout and Cub Scout decorating a Christmas Tree. The site says, “There’s nothing more iconic to BSA than popcorn! This polyresin figurine features a Cub Scout and Boy Scout decorating a tree with popcorn garland and ornaments.” I thought this could be a great gift for the unit’s “popcorn kernel”, the chairperson of the popcorn fundraiser.

                I bought all three pieces right then. I was not going to wait and have the same thing happen to me that happened two years ago when I waited too long to buy them and missed out on getting the Trading Post. (I still do not have one.) I look forward to late November when I set up my new expanded village. I think this will be the last year I will be able to use that piece of plywood I use for the base.

                I was not the only person who bought the set that evening. Within ten minutes of my purchase another set was bought and the Scout Shop was out of the Lighted Dining Halls. Since I am a roundtable commissioner I also took time during the meeting to give a quick shout out for this year’s Scouting Village.

                Have you been collecting the buildings and figurines? What do you think of this year’s additions?

                http://www.scoutstuff.org/house-lightd-dining-hall.html

                http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-tree-sales.html

                http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-popcorn-tree.html

                trees for sale
                popcorn tree

                 

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