Many years ago our troop began an activity on a camping trip that has since become a yearly tradition. We call it the egg drop competition. Each Scout gets a raw egg and has to create a package of natural materials. These packages are then dropped from higher points until only one egg remains unbroken. Has your troop ever tried something like this? #boyscouts #camping #activity

Here is the video we made from the 2012 Competition.

I was having lunch with my dad today when I noticed he had a copy of the American Legion magazine laying on his coffee table. I picked up the January 2020 issue and paged through it while we were eating our chicken fries. There were several good articles but one page really caught my attention.

A page named “Still Serving America” had several interesting facts, most about how the American Legion financially supported various groups over the years. The last fact did not list any dollar amounts but did list an interesting number. Did you know that a minimum of 45,373 Boy Scouts were sponsored worldwide by the American Legion in the most recent membership year? That is a lot of Scouts! (The page did not say anything about if this was just Boy Scouts or if Cub Scouts were included in that number so I think it may have just been Boy Scouts.)

The factoid did not list the ways the Legion sponsored these Scouts but I am sure many of those Scouts’ troops were sponsored by a local Legion club. We all know that the American Legion and the V.F.W. sponsor many troops and packs across the country. In Melrose, the Legion is the charter sponsor of the Cub Scout Pack while VFW post 7050 is the charter sponsor of the Boy Scout troop. Both units have also received financial support from the other club.

The Scouts, parents, and leadership of Boy Scout Troop 68 and Cub Scout Pack 68 would like to thank the American Legion for their support over the last 40 years and hope we can work together in our community for the next 40 years.

Earlier this year I was asked to run a class at a council merit badge clinic. The council has been trying to hold these on a monthly schedule this year. They had asked me once before to run a class but I had to pass do to my schedule. This time they asked me to run a class for the Collections merit badge. The date worked for me so I agreed to do it. I have a hunch I may not be asked back.

As the evening approached I gathered a couple boxes of stuff from my house to demonstrate different types of collections. I brought along some comic books, Star Wars toys, and a couple other things I collect. I also grabbed a package of Scout Handbooks that I had just received from eBay. I had reviewed the merit badge requirements so I was all ready for the class.

I arrived a little early so that I had enough time to set up my display and ask any questions I might have before the class began. Six Scouts had signed up for the Collections merit badge which I thought was a nice manageable group. If the Scouts came prepared we should not have a problem completing the requirements in the three hour session.

I knew we were going to have a problem once the Scouts arrived. Only two had come to the session somewhat prepared. Two others had only found out they were signed up for the class a night or two before the class so they had no idea what to expect. Well, we will make the best of it, I thought to myself.

We did what we could during the next few hours. The Scouts paid attention and seemed to want the badge. As a merit badge councilor I am trained to pass off requirements once they are completed. I am not going to sign a requirement that the Scout has not even tried to complete which means that all six Scouts went home from the session with a partial. I was proud that we at least completed three quarters of the requirements. I gave each Scout my contact information so they could finish the badge later.

I hoped that the Scouts would decide to finish the badge but only one Scout ever contacted me to do so. It is nearly a half year after the session and the other five boys still have not contacted me. Either they are not interested in finishing the merit badge or they found another counselor to work with, I guess.

I have not been asked to come back and run another class, and I think I know why. The cost of attending a class was $25.00. A Scout and their parents probably expect to receive a merit badge after attending a session. Sorry, but I am not signing off on a badge unless a Scout completes the requirements, whether they pay a fee for the class or not.

I have heard complaints from a couple Scouts in my troop who have attended a some of these classes. They go to the session prepared with the prerequisites for the councilor to review. They have stated to me that it is not fair that they prepare for the class to receive the badge, but other Scouts attend that are not prepared yet received a signed blue card stating they completed the requirements. If this is true, what kind of statement are we sending to Scouts? That you can buy a merit badge?

I did not get paid for my time running my merit badge class. I thought maybe the council would give the councilors a few bucks for their time and gas but I was told the money collected went to pay for the use of the facility. While I am sure there was a charge for the use of the rooms I would bet it did not come close to the money collected by the council. After all, there were several merit badge sessions that evenings, each with a group of Scouts. I think the council uses these sessions as a bit of a fundraiser, but I could be wrong.

Like I stated earlier, I do not think I will be asked back to run a merit badge session since I did not sign the blue cards at the end of the evening. You know what? That is alright with me. I do not believe a Scout should receive an award if he did not try to complete all the requirements. What do you think about it? Does your council conduct merit badge courses?

A group of parents held a few meetings during the end of the year 1979. Their purpose was to plan the beginning of a Boy Scout Troop in Melrose, Minnesota. The community did have a troop earlier that decade but it had disbanded when it lacked adult volunteers. This new troop committee was to form a new troop with new boys and have a troop for the current Webelos to graduate into.

John Schofield became the scoutmaster during the November 28th troop committee meeting. Another gentleman may agree to be the assistant scoutmaster. The troop committee had six members. The VFW Post 7050 was asked to be the charter sponsor. (They accepted the sponsorship.) It was decided that a troop rally would be held on Monday, December 10.

The committee met again on December 6. The new scoutmaster reported on his training sessions. The district executive reported that he would be going to both grade schools in town to talk to boys and their parents about joining the Scouting program. Four names were discussed for potential assistant scoutmasters. It was also noted that there was a zero balance in the funds left over from the old troop. However, five tents and some cooking pots had been found.

The Boy Scout rally on December 10, 1979, was well received. Sixteen boys and their parents attended the meeting. Registration was paid through February 1981. Melrose had a Boy Scout Troop once again!

The troop has had seven scoutmasters during the past 40 years. John Schofield was the first. He was followed by George O’Brien, Don Gibson, Steve Borgerding, Mark Ettel, and Jim Engelmeyer. Dave Norling is currently holding the position of scoutmaster. There has been several people who have served as assistant scoutmasters and dozens of parents who have served on the troop committee. Without all these dedicated adults the troop would have been disbanded once again.

There has been hundreds of boys involved in the program during the four decades. Twenty five Scouts have earned Scouting highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout. The troop has been to a week long summer camp 39 times (only missing the first year), Philmont Scout Camp in New Mexico six times, attended the 2001 National Jamboree, and attended a few other Boy Scouts of America high adventure bases. The troop has an outing planned nearly every month.

Melrose Area Scout Troop 68 currently has 15 members. Five Webelos Scouts from Melrose Area Cub Scout Pack 68 will be joining the troop in February 2020. The Cub Scout Pack has also been operating for over 40 years.

It appears that Melrose Scout Troop 68 will be around for years to come. The Cub Scout pack is doing well and will provide Webelos Scouts to graduate to the troop. The troop leadership is doing well, but can always use more help. Yes, it looks like Troop 68 will be around for awhile yet and who knows, maybe we will be celebrating an 80th anniversary down the road.

Melrose Troop 68 had chosen the theme of hunting and gun safety for the month of October. This theme almost begged to have special guests brought in. After a short discussion it was thought to have someone from the Melrose police department come to talk to the Scouts during one meeting and someone from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources come in for another one.

The police chief himself came to the October 14th meeting. Police Chief Craig Maus spoke with the Scouts about gun safety and some of the different types of guns. He certainly kept the boys attention as he displayed a few items he brought to the meeting. It is always nice the have Chief Maus stop by for a visit. He was a member of Troop 68 for a short time as a youth.

At the following week’s meeting two officers from the Minnesota DNR stooped by to talk about the hunting rules in Minnesota. Officer Caleb Silgjord and his associate not only talked about hunting laws but they also brought along various animal furs for the Scouts to check out. Once again, the Scouts had a good time learning about hunting and gun safety.

The troop would like to thank the officers for coming to their meeting and sharing their knowledge.

Boy Scout top sellers with their prizes.

The Melrose Scout Troop 68 fall supper fundraiser is now a part of history. The troop did well and the Scouts and parents did a good job during the meal. One of the keys to having a successful fundraiser is to have the Scouts sell tickets for the event ahead of time.

Thanks to a few donations the troop had some prizes for the top ticket sellers. We did have one requirement toward the prizes. In order to qualify, a Scout had to sell at least $200 worth of tickets before the event.

We originally had three items to give away. We had a field bag, a soft sided briefcase/laptop bag, and a Sandbag pop-up mosquito netting. A few days before the supper we had another donation of a book bag to add to the prizes.

The first place seller would get his choice of one of the prizes. The second place seller would get his choice of the three remaining items. Third place would get to choose from the final two items, with forth place seller receiving the final prize. It is fun to watch which prizes are chosen for the first two places.

Six Scouts qualified by selling over $200 of tickets. The photo shows the four top sellers with their prizes. Trevor was the fourth place seller, Hayden took third, Austin was second place, and Ethan took the first place spot. Both Austin and Ethan sold over $300 worth of tickets, with a little help from their parents.

Way back in the 1980s (talk about a time trip) the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 would hold a Halloween party near the end of the month of October. It was a fun party, just getting together, playing games, eating food. They were good times.

Of course, some of the Scouts would come dressed for the occasion. Some would not, but everyone had a good time. For those who did dress up we held a costume contest. The troop members would vote for who had the best costume. Some years I dressed up, other years I did not. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and join the boys in the fun.

I remember the first troop Halloween party in the 1980s. I had a silicone two piece mask set similar to the makeup used in the Planet Of The Apes movies of the 1970s. It took a long time to apply and color but wow, did it look great. I wore it for that first party. I wish I had a picture of myself in that makeup. It looked awesome.

When the party for 1986 came along I did not have a costume to wear so I started rummaging through the closet to see what I could put together. I found my old Scout uniform and patch vest, some short shorts, a couple wrist bands, and an old wig my mother used to wear. Add different color socks and you get what you see in the picture. It was groovy, man!

Troop 68 has not held a Halloween party for many years, decades even. But they were fun when we did have them. Does your troop hold a Halloween party? How many of your Scouts dress up for the occasion?

As I was preparing items to put in a display for Friday night’s spaghetti supper fundraiser I happen to come across an old Scouting recruitment poster. This poster must be about 20 year old by now but you know the old saying, What was once old is new again.

I have always like this poster. I like the way the captions fit the pictures. I think it is well thought out. I am not sure how well it helped with recruitment across the country back then but I enjoyed the concept. Take A Hike (hiking). Hang Around (rock climbing). Get Lost (map and compass adventure). Fast Times (water skiing). All good!

It would be fun to see the Scouts BSA come up with a newer, more current, version of this type of poster. What do you think?