leadershipcartoonIt is fun looking around the internet and finding comical views about Scouting. Here are a couple that may make you think you should cut back on your Scouting time. You have been in Scouting too long if…

You don’t mind losing power to your house for three days.

You gave your wife a mummy sleeping bag rated for -15 deg F for Christmas, and it was the nicest gift you have given her.

You bought 10,000 shares of Coleman stock on an inside tip that they are about to release a microwave accessory for their camp stove line of products.

You can not eat eggs anymore unless they are cooked in a zip-lock bag.

You were nearly arrested by the airport security because you would not give up your official BSA pocket knife until the security guy said “thank you.”

You decide to lash together that new deck for your backyard.

Do you now of any others that should be added to this list?

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    disc golf albanyThe Boy Scouts of Troop 68 were asked to help by providing an activity for last August’s Night To Unite in Melrose. I volunteered my disc golf practice basket and the Scouts brought their discs. People had fun trying their putting skills, or discovering that they did not have any putting skills. Employees from the city of Melrose, and even a couple city council members, stopped by to throw a few discs and talk about the game.

    Melrose does not have a disc golf course, but the city now has an interest in one after watching the Boy Scouts and the public playing the game during that evening in the park. The city administrator asked the Boy Scouts and myself to attend the next park board meeting with a proposal to have a course installed in the park. Over the next couple days, a few Scouts and I worked out a plan for a nine hole course and, using my practice basket, actually played a game in the park. I worked up a cost estimate and other information and presented a plan to the park board at the end of August. The board members really liked the idea and the projected cost of the course. They stated that this idea would be a great project to bring more people to use the park, including tweens and teenagers.

    Earlier this month I received a phone from the city administrator asking me to attend the city council meeting on Thursday, October 16. The disc golf course proposal had passed the park board and had moved on to the city council for action. I needed to be there in case the council had any questions that needed to be addressed. I marked it on my calendar.

    The city council did have a few questions, but none of them were hard to answer. They all seemed to like the idea. When it came time to vote they all voted in favor of creating a disc golf course next spring. The budget they gave to it was lower than I originally proposed so we will not get the concrete tee boxes right away, but they would be a possibility in a few years.

    I was told I would be contacted over the winter to meet with the board to make the final preparations for the new course. I guess my work did not end with the proposal. It appears that I am the resident expert on disc golf courses. I had to chuckle to myself. I am probably one of the few adults in town who has played a lot of disc golf, and played on several courses in the area. I am not an expert but I guess I can help plan a local course.

    Boy Scout Troop 68 will have a hand in this park. I plan on getting a couple of them to help at the planning meetings this winter. I also plan to have them help build and install the course this spring. There should be plenty of service hours to go around. Unfortunately, the planning has already gone too far to allow one Scout to use this as an Eagle Project, but you know, those concrete tee boxes will need to be added in another year or two.

    Does your troop enjoy playing disc golf? Where do they play?

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      scouttradingpostIf you have been following this blog then you know my frustration in not being able to find the missing piece to my Scouting Village collection, the Trading Post. I was not quick enough that first year in buying the pieces and missed that building. I did find a few people selling it on eBay at vastly inflated prices, so I went without one.

      This year the Scout Shop (and scoutstuff.org) came out with the new pieces which included the cool looking Dining Hall. It made me want the Trading Post even more, but not enough to where I would spend $100 to get one. Then, as if the national sales team wanted to pour salt into my open wound, they came out with a “starter kit” that included all the pieces from 2012 and 2013, including the Trading Post! I had no intention of spending $80.00 just to get that piece, even if it included all those other pieces.

      A little over a month ago I received an email from a person who worked in a council Scout Shop in the southern United States. She stated that she was breaking apart a “starter kit” because other people also wanted to fill in gaps in their collections. She was willing to sell me a Trading Post! The price she gave me was very reasonable, but I would have to add shipping to the cost. By the time everything was added up I discovered I could add this missing piece to my collection for $31.00. Yes, that is double the price I would have paid if I would have bought it that first year, but I guess I learned a lesson.

      When I set up my Scouting Village toward the end of November it will include all the pieces available from the three years of the collection. I am looking forward to seeing it all together. One big question in my mind is whether everything will fit on that piece of plywood I bought for this purpose. I guess I will find out in a few weeks. If the Scout Shop comes out with more pieces next year I know I will need a larger piece of plywood.

      Stay tuned! I will be posting pictures of the village once I have set it up. I invite you to send you pictures of your Scouting Village, along with a brief description, to this blog so I can post them for the world to see.

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        Tonkawampus2The time has come. The selling begins today. This week I am beginning to sell the Order of the Arrow Tonkawampus Lodge Patches that I wrote about a week ago. As far as I can tell, these are had to come by, especially since this lodge does not exist any longer. (For more information see the previous blog post: http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=4413 )

        I am going to start selling the patches on this blog, which gives you, my readers, the first chance to purchase them for your collection. In the coming weeks I plan to expand the sale to eBay and other sites. The proceeds from these sales will go toward a campership fund to help Boy Scouts attend summer camp.

        The patches will sell for $10.00 each, plus $1.00 for shipping. Buy two patches and it is still only $1.00 for shipping. There will be a limit of two patches per person. For payment and shipping information, or if you have any questions, you can contact me at stevejb68@yahoo.com .

        My goal is to sell at least twenty patches by the weekend. I would appreciate it if you would help me to spread the word.

         

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          TheLeadersCampfireA week ago I was on Skype chatting with Chris (formally known as Cubmaster Chris) and we began talking about were we currently involved in the world of Scouting. Chris’ youngest son is a Boy Scout, and I have been spending time assisting the local Cub Scout pack get reorganized for the new year. It is almost like our roles have kinda somewhat reversed from the days we hosted a little podcast called The Leaders Campfire.

          As we were talking Scouting it was inevitable that our old podcast would come up in the discussion. It has been nearly three years since we recorded the last episode. As we were reminiscing about the “old days”, Chris mentioned an email he had received from a Scout leader somewhere stating that he missed the old PTC Media podcasts, and that there just was not much to choose from anymore.

          Our conversation about Scouting continued for a little while longer before we decided to brush the dust off The Leaders Campfire and create one more podcast, based on the things we had just been talking about. Chris did a quick search of his computer and found that he still had the audio files for the beginning and end of the show, and even the commercials. We decided to record the show as if we had never quite doing it, and never reference the fact the it had been nearly three years since the last one. Chris hit the record button and the new podcast began.

          We both expected the show to maybe be a half hour long or shorter. After all, we did not really have much to say. To our surprise, the show ended up being nearly 50 minutes long. I guess we had more to say than we thought we did. Chris decided to edit it and post yet that Saturday night.

          Chris did not think the show would receive many downloads. After all these years who would even think about listening to the two of us talking about Scouting, he reasoned. I thought we would get at least 50 downloads. After all, we still had over 300 likes on the PTC Media Facebook page. Plus, there were still people subscribed to the podcast on iTunes. It would be interesting to see how this would play out and who would be correct.

          By Monday morning we had received over 50 downloads of the show. To tell the truth, both Chris and I were surprised. I sent Chris a note asking him how long he thought it would be before we reached the 100 mark. We reached that mark and downloads still kept happening. I checked the stats as I wrote the podcast and discovered we are now over 200 downloads! That may not seem like much when you compare it to some well known podcasts but for a podcast that was retired 3 years ago? I am still amazed that people want to listen to us, and we do thank you for support of the podcast.

          Maybe that Scout leader who sent that email was correct. Maybe there still is a need for more Scouting themed podcasts. Unfortunately, Chris and I may not be the ones to produce a weekly or monthly podcast anymore, but there must be someone out there willing to do one.

          PS: As far as I know there are currently only two Scouting related audio podcasts that I found. The first is Cubcast, produced by the Boy Scouts of America. The other is the Scoutmastercg Podcast by Clarke Green. Check them out when you have a chance.

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            Tonkawampus S19 Lodge PatchI recently had a great visit with a couple of old Scouting friends of mine. We had not seen each other for a few years so it was great to get together for a few hours to reminisce about the “old” times and catch up on how we have all been doing. Of course, we also exchanged some Scouting memorabilia. I gave him two 2010 Boy Scout Fleece blanket patterns which he can use to make a couple patch blankets, and he gave me various patches for my collection and a special surprise.

            A fair number of the patches given to me were Tonkawampus Lodge #16 Order of the Arrow patches, #S19. This lodge was chartered in 1924 in the Viking Council, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2006, during the merger of the Viking Council and the Indianhead Council of St. Paul, Tonkawampus Lodge #16 and Agaming Lodge #257 merged to form Totanhan Nakaha Lodge #16.

            The patches given to me are shown above. I have done an online search for this patch and had a hard time founding it anywhere. eBay did not have this patch offered by anyone. I finally found some information on the Internet Guide to Order of the Arrow Insignia, but even that page did not have a lot of information, other than stating that this was the 80th anniversary patch for the lodge.

            My friend told me this could be one of the last patches made for the lodge before the merger. Hidden in the design of the patch is the year 2003. The first two feathers, following by pictures in the two zeros, followed by three feathers, gives us the year 2003. That is a pretty cool design in my opinion. I plan to add a couple of these to my collection of OA patches, which will be even more special since this lodge does not exist any longer.

            My friend gave me this collection of Order of the Arrow patches with one stipulation. I could keep some for myself, but I should try selling the rest and use the proceeds to provide camperships for Scouts who may need some assistance paying for summer camp. I thought that was an excellent idea. I know of a couple online sites, like eBay, that would probably be good places to post sales for these collector patches. We discussed what price should be listed but neither one of us had a good idea what that price should be. I finally sat down today to see if I could find something online on an average price for this patch but found nothing. Not a thing. Do I have a rare patch here?

            I decided to write a post about it here before I started auctioning them off on various sites. If you have any information about this patch I would love to hear from you. I was thinking about asking a starting price of $10.00 each. Too high? Not high enough? What is your opinion?

             

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              cubscoutpackmeetingI was a little nervous before that meeting on Monday, September 29th. It was to be my first time as acting as a cubmaster. Being a scoutmaster was no problem. I did that for 30 years. But this was a whole different age group, and a new set of parents and family members. Could I keep the interest of these 6 through 10 year olds during the meeting, and keep them and their families entertained? I was about to find out.

              We began the evening at 6:30 by breaking the pack into their dens to create posters representing their group. Then, about 7:00, we began the pack meeting. The three Webelos Scouts lead the opening by acting as the honor guard and bring the flags forward. Well, the one flag forward. And an empty pole. We had a United States flag but we have not been able to find the old pack flag yet. The Webelos Scouts decided they wanted to march the empty flag pole as a symbol for the missing pack flag. It confused a few parents who did not know what was going on until the end of the meeting when I explained it. Once the flags had been posted we said the Pledge of Allegiance and repeated the Cub Scout Promise.

              The first order of business was to have each den of Scouts bring up their poster and explain what they had drawn. I had the Webelos Scouts go first so they could set an example for the younger dens. This went quite well and the boys were happy to explain their posters. Unfortunately, anyone sitting more than two rows away from the front probably did not hear the Tigers and Wolves very well.

              It was time for a song, time for these boys and their parents to make some noise. It was a chance to test their singing voices and to see if they could keep up with me. What was the song? The Hole in the Ground song. Repeat after me. As verses were added the song got longer and faster. And louder. We had a good time. Too bad it did not get recorded.

              Fifteen boys were in attendance that evening. Five returned from last season, and ten were new to the program. I asked the new Scouts to come forward so the committee and I could present them with patches for their uniforms. We gave them the troop numbers, the council shoulder patch, and the World Crest patch. Before handing out each of the patches I explained the meaning of the patches to the Cub Scouts and their parents. From the smiles on the boys’ faces it seemed as if we were presenting them with their first awards.

              Since their were no real awards or beads to hand out during this first pack meeting of the season the committee had decided to hand out neckerchiefs and slides to the Scouts. I started with the Tiger Den and moved through them all to the Webelos Den. I think a few of the Bear Scouts were already eyeing up those fancy Webelos neckerchiefs. Once again, the boys were grinning from ear to ear as they received their neckerchiefs. It was another “award” of recognition for them.

              The meeting ended with the three Webelos Scouts retiring the colors, followed by announcements from the pack committee.

              I had a great time. The boys told me they had a great time and gave me a thumbs up. I guess I did pretty well. The committee talked to me afterwards and offered me the position of cubmaster. I tuned them down stating that Monday nights is still Boy Scout night night for me. Maybe if they would have left the meeting on Tuesday nights….

              They asked me why I did not say something before they had created their schedule for the year. I just smiled. Inside I really wanted them to find a cubmaster. To my surprise, one of the committee members sent an email out two days later to say she may have found someone to take the job.

              I did have fun as the cubmaster for that one night. And to tell the truth, I began thinking to myself that maybe I should have accepted the position, but my heart still lies with the Boy Scouts. But you know, maybe I could do both. No, I should just continue helping out on the committee level and being the liaison between the troop and the pack.

              But I did have fun that night as the cubmaster of Pack 68.

               

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                kindergarden funThe regular meeting of Boy Scout Troop 68 began its usual way Monday night. The Scouts had an opening and then began the skill development session of the meeting. The theme was the Scout Law. It was time to review the twelve points and their meanings. Daniel, a Life Scout, lead the discussion. Scoutmaster Jim finished it by informing the Scouts they would have the chance to use several of these points during a good turn that would happen in several minutes.

                The troop meets at St. Mary’s School gym during the cold weather months, October through April. Monday night was the first meeting for this season held at the gym. The principal of the school had asked the scoutmaster if the troop could help with a little project. A meeting for the Kindergarten children and their parents was also being held at the school that evening. The teacher was hoping for several minutes to meet with the parents alone. Could the Boy Scouts keep these young children entertained for ten minutes during that meeting?

                When Mr. Doyle escorted the small students into the gym the Boy Scouts where ready to begin the game session. I thought there would be maybe a dozen kids, but they kept coming in. More and more. The line stopped when 24 Kindergarteners walked into the gym. You could tell several of them were a little frightened by the big Boy Scouts. We did not let them think about it before breaking them up into five smaller groups and starting the game.

                It was a very simple game. The kids took turns rolling balls into three bowling pins, trying to knock them over. The Boy Scouts acted as the pin setters, the ball return, and the helpers to lead the youngsters to do well. The Scouts were quite excited. When one of the little ones knocked all three pins over the older boys were the first ones to cheer and get a high five from the successful youngster. Several of the youngsters were really getting into the game. A few stayed a little shy and reserved. I think they all had fun. To tell the truth, after a few minutes it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the Boy Scouts or the Kindergarteners.

                I immediately saw the photo opportunity going on so I quickly grabbed my iPad. I was busy snapping photos and even took a couple videos. I look forward to sharing the photos with the troop and the school.

                After the children left and the meeting returned to normal, the scoutmaster gathered the Scouts and held a short discussion about what just occurred. Which points of the Scout Law did the Scouts practice during this visit? How did they feel about playing with this age group? Was it a good Good Turn?

                I think the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 will remember this evening for quite awhile.

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