The Melrose Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Spring Expo each year which is held at the Melrose School gymnasium. This year’s Expo was held on Saturday, April 14th. Even though the Minnesota weather was not very nice that day there was a good turnout for the event, both in Expo booths and visitors.

The parents of one of the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 had registered to have a booth for their business and asked the troop if they would also like to have a booth. Since they were both going to be there all day the troop would have the two deep leadership requirement covered. The troop was also asked to provide assistance to the people who had a booth as they brought their items into the gym at the start of the Expo and help to carry out items at the end of the Expo.

It has been 13 years since the troop has been a participant of the Melrose Expo. Our booth back then was full of Scouting memorabilia and literature. It even had a television playing videos of various troop activities. This year’s booth was more modest and was put together the night before the Expo. We included some photo albums, literature, and a couple shadow boxes of memorabilia. The booth was located in the first aisle and it did get some attention from folks as they walked by. Who knows, maybe the troop could get a new member or two to join. The best part of having a booth of course, is that it was one more way to get the Scouting program into the public eye and let people know that yes, Scouting does still exist in Melrose.

The planners of the Expo, and the people who had booths at the Expo, really appreciated having the Boy Scouts there to assist them before and after the event. The Melrose Chamber of Commerce was very impressed with the Scouts and even offered to give a $50 donation to the troop for their work. It was a great example of demonstrating that a Scout is Helpful.

Does your troop participate in local city Expos? What do they do? Leave a comment below and let us know what your Scouts have been up to in their community.

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    The Melrose Lions Club invites volunteers from the city’s various organizations to attend an annual dinner to recognize and commend them for their service to the community.The firemen, police reserves, and ambulance personnel are invited as well as the volunteers of the area food shelf, Project Give-A-Gift, Meals On Wheels, Melrose Area Museum, and other groups. The Melrose Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack were well represented this year by seven people, including the scoutmaster and cubmaster.

    It is a fun time to visit while having a great meal. This year’s dinner included chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, rolls, and cookies. If anyone left that dinner hungry they had no one to blame but themselves.

    After the meal, the president of the Melrose Lions Club thanked everyone for attending, and for their service to the citizens of Melrose. Another Lions members walked around the room with a microphone so that every volunteer could introduce themselves and state which organization they assisted. Nearly 100 people attended the meal.

    The evening ended with one member of each organization going to the front of the room to receive a numbered ticket. A drawing was held for three $100 prizes. The first number drawn went to the Melrose Boy Scout Troop. The second prize went to the Melrose Food Shelf. The third went to the Girl Scouts.

    The membership and leadership of Boy Scout Troop 68 and Cub Scout Pack 68 would like to thank the Lions Club for a great meal, and for the support they have given the Melrose Scouting program for nearly 40 years.

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      This year marks the eleventh year that the Central Minnesota Council has created a special council shoulder patch, featuring a point of the Scout Oath, as an incentive for their annual Friends of Scouting campaign. Of course, that means the point used this year is Clean. A bar of soap with the words “Scout Clean” is the focal point of the patch.

      I have collected these patches since they began, placing them in my three ring binders. A few of the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 wear one on their uniform. We are already wondering what next year’s “Reverent” patch is going to look like.

      Does your council create special patches for their Friends of Scouting drives? What have they recently done as a theme for the patch? Leave your answer as a comment below.

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        When I retired as the scoutmaster of Troop 68 at the end of 2011 we only had a membership of 8 or 9 boys. The Cub Scout pack was also going through a tough time. There had been several years that we did not have any Webelos Scouts graduate into the Boy Scout Troop. Luckily, both groups survived and began to turn things around.

        This year marks the second year in a row that the troop had Webelos graduate into Boy Scouting. The ceremony was held at the Melrose City Hall meeting rooms on Tuesday, March 27th. The Webelos Scouts were grinning from ear to ear as they crossed the bridge and joined the troop, taking their first steps in a new Scouting adventure.

        The newly formed Ninja Patrol has already grown to four members. They have been having a blast as new Boy Scouts. They already have a disc golf marathon under their belts and went to the Central Minnesota Ripley Rendezvous at Camp Ripley in central Minnesota this weekend. In May they will have their first real camp out as a Boy Scout when they go to Camp Watchamagumee. Most of them have already signed up for summer camp in July.

        The boys have quickly discovered the Boy Scouting is a far different program than what they had when they were Cub Scouts, and they seem to be loving every moment of it.

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          The very first time Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 played disc golf was when they attended a week at Crow Wing Scout Reservation in the summer of 1981. The camp had a nine hole course set up near the beach area. There were not any baskets at this course 37 years ago. The Boy Scouts had to hit poles with their discs in order to complete a hole.

          Things have changed in the sport since that first camp. Disc golf courses now have baskets and many have tee pads. Many Boy Scout camps have courses, as do many towns and cities. The sport has been growing and tournaments are held in several central Minnesota cities.

          The Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 have enjoyed the sport since those early years in the 1980’s. In fact, for the last few years, the troop has held a disc golf marathon as one of their monthly activities. They will usually play at two or three courses in central Minnesota, taking up most of a Saturday morning and afternoon.

          This year’s marathon took the Scouts to three courses in the area, including two that have been recently installed. This year’s marathon, which was held on April 21st, began at the course in Albany, at which the twelve Scouts played a round of 18 holes. After lunch they moved on to the new Upsala course which was installed last summer. The final nine holes were played at the Long Prairie course, which was created a few years ago.

          The Scouts kept their scores at all three courses. After the last disc was thrown, all the scores were added together to create a marathon total. The three Scouts with the best marathon score each received a three pack of disc golf discs. This year’s best scores were (3rd place) Jacob, (2nd) Luke, and (1st) Carter. Even though not every Scout received a prize, they did all agree they had fun and a great time.

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            When I became the assistant scoutmaster of a six month old Boy Scout troop in June 1980, I never in my wildest dreams think I would become a bit of a journalist. A month later I wrote my first Scouting-related article for the weekly local newspaper, with the help of one of the committee members. Little did I know I would continue doing this for nearly four decades.

            Those early articles, known as The Scouts Review, were only a few paragraphs long, recounting what happened at the weekly troop meetings. We also did a longer article about the monthly outings, usually with a picture or two. The Melrose Beacon supported our efforts by printing anything we submitted to them. After several months we stopped writing about the weekly meetings and only wrote about the monthly outings, service projects, courts of honor, and other special events. Most of our Eagle Scouts and their projects were covered by the newspaper. Some of the summer camp or Philmont trek articles appeared in two parts spread over consecutive issues.

            For some reason, even after I became the scoutmaster, the articles remained my project. No one offered to take over the duty, although once in a great while of of the committee members submitted an article about an event. During the 1980’s and 1990’s I was pretty good about getting something in the paper every month. By the time the 2000’s came around I was starting to grow tired of the responsibility. By the 2010’s I was not submitting articles on a regular basis, maybe once every two or three months.

            The articles were a great way to keep the activities of the Boy Scout troop in the public eye. The Melrose Beacon was great in supporting both the troop and the Cub Scout Pack. I am sure many of the Scouts and their families clipped those articles for their scrapbooks. I tried to save every one of those articles. Sometimes other local papers printed pictures of the Scout events. I saved those clippings also.

            I now have four three ring binders full of the last 37 years of Melrose Beacon Scout articles, along with some clippings from the Hometown News, the Sauk Centre Herald, and the St. Cloud Times. The fourth book is nearly full. It will soon be time to begin a fifth book.

            These binders usually sit on a shelf in the closet of my office, but a couple of times a year they come out of the dark and are seen by the public as part of a Scouting display during our spring and fall meal fundraisers. I had to work on them today to get ready for the spring breakfast to be held on Sunday, April 8th. There was over two years worth of clippings to tape into those books but they are now complete and ready to be viewed. It sort of boggles the mind when I think of the Melrose Scouting history found in those four binders.

            Does someone in your troop or pack write articles for your local newspaper? Does someone in your troop collect them, maybe the troop Historian? Where are they stored? How often do they get viewed?

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              Springtime is nearly here. That means it is nearly time for the Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 spring fundraiser, a pancake and sausage breakfast! This year’s breakfast will be held at the Melrose American Legion on Sunday, April 8th. Serving begins at 8:30 am and continues until 12:30. Adult tickets are $7.00 in advance, and $8.00 if bought at the door the morning of the meal. The Boy Scouts are currently selling tickets.

              The troop does fairly well with the spring fundraiser. The proceeds go toward the program costs such as advancements, training, and helping to keep down camping costs. A good fundraiser goes a long way to keeping the Scouting program affordable for families.

              Does your troop have fundraising meals? Let us know how your troop does by leaving a comment below.

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                I became an assistant scoutmaster at the young age of 19 in June 1980. Shortly thereafter, I began receiving Boy’s Life and Scouting magazines, the two official publications of the Boy Scouts of America. I enjoyed reading them, and they were a part of my training during those early years of being a scoutmaster of Melrose Troop 68.

                Instead of recycling those early magazines I held onto them. I thought they could come in handy as a reference. As the years went by and the pile grew larger I bought some magazine file boxes to store and organize them, still thinking I may look back at them some day. As the decades went by I continued to save the issues. The collection grew!

                It has now been over 37 years since those first issues arrived. For over 37 years I have been collecting and filing both magazines. I probably have about 450 issues of Boy’s Life (12 per year) and over 185 issues of Scouting magazine (5 per year). The collection, seen in the picture, covers more than ten feet of shelving.

                I have now reached the point at which I am wondering why I have kept all these magazines. I have only looked at a few back issues a couple of times. What should I do with them all? There are over 600 of them, with more coming every month. I doubt there are many people with as large of a collection as I have. I would hate to just throw them away. I know of no one who would want them. I doubt the local museum has a need for them. I am sure the local Scout office would want them for any reason.

                What do you think? Do you have a suggestion on what to do with this collection? Leave your comments and suggestions below. Thanks.

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