Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Scout Ranks

Melrose Troop 68 Scout meetings have been put on hold as social distancing has become the new normal as the virus moves across the nation and the world. While I feel sorry about meetings and activities being cancelled for the next month I feel worse about the high school and college students and athletes whose activities and games have been cancelled for the year. While I understand the need for social distancing I often wonder if things could have been handled differently. But that is just my opinion.

Meanwhile, Scout Troop 68 is trying to work their way through this new challenge. Troop meetings have been cancelled. Our March outing was cancelled, as was the March court of honor. The patrol leader council meeting has been postponed. The council’s Ripley Rendezvous has been rescheduled for later this year.

The troop has their spring pancake and sausage breakfast fundraiser, which was planned for March 29, put on hold. Due to state government regulations and the American Legion not being available anymore it will probably get cancelled.

The troop committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, was conducted in a new format. It was the first time in my forty years of being an adult Scout leader that the committee met online for a video chat conference. We held a second online meeting on Monday, March 23.

Today, March 28, I plan to try an online meeting with some of the newest members of Troop 68 to work on their Scout Rank requirements. On Monday, we are going to hold an online troop meeting and try to get the Scouts started on a couple different merit badges.

Of course, we are all frustrated with the current restrictions but we understand why they are in place. My fear is that if this lasts too long we may start to lose membership in Scouting. Online sessions may work fine but they cannot really replace a troop outing or outing. Hopefully this will soon pass as we can return to Scouting as it was meant to be.

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.

The Bottomless Lake song may have been new to the Boy Scouts at this Many Point Scout Camp summer camp campfire, but they sang good and loud by the end of it.

boy scout memorabilia

Boy Scout Troop 68 of Melrose holds two meal fundraisers each year. The spring meal is usually a pancake and sausage breakfast that includes scrambled eggs. The fall meal has been a spaghetti supper for the last few years. The troop does well with both fundraisers and is able to keep up with the yearly expenses.

The 2019 spring breakfast fundraiser takes place this weekend at the Melrose American Legion. The parents will be working in the kitchen while the Scouts take care of the tables and the dishes. I will probably do the same thing I have done for the last thirty years, pour coffee, visit with the people who come by for breakfast, and keep an eye on the Scouts to make sure they get their work done.

Another of the jobs I have, and one that I really have made my own, is to create a table top display for the meal. I began to take items out last night to prepare for Sunday’s meal. As you can see from the picture I will have both Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting items in this year’s display. The Cub Scout Pack has been doing well and I wanted to include something for the elementary aged children.

One item not shown in the picture is the patch blanket I plan to hang. I may even bring both of them. I do have clothing racks that work very well to display them. Add in a few photo albums and I think there will be enough Scouting memorabilia for families to view.

How often do you set up a Scouting display in your community? What do you include in it? When do you set it up? Leave a comment and let us know about it.

ice bucket challengeI am sure you have all seen it online, on one social site or another. One person challenges another to donate to the ALS foundation and/or pour a bucket of ice water over their head. It is currently quite popular, and at the time I write this the organization has received over $70 million dollars from nearly two million donors in only 27 days. Not a bad fundraiser.

I have watched videos of people I know on Facebook accepting the challenge. Videos of friends I know, relatives, and even former Boy Scout Troop 68 members. No one has named me to the challenge. Until today. Nathan Blommel, an alumni of Troop 68, and a former tennis and racquetball buddy, decided to include me in his challenge.

I do not do well with cold. I seldom went swimming with the troop unless it was a very hot day and the water was fairly warm. I did not do very much winter camping when I was a scoutmaster. My body temperature drops quickly and I start shivering uncontrollably. It is not a very pleasant experience. I can easily see myself turning into one of those Minnesota winter snowbirds, who travel to the warm southern states, once I retire.

But a challenge is a challenge, and needs to have a response, so here is the video for you all to see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUWJ6GRm85Y&feature=youtu.be

Philmont Wagon 1984

Philmont!  I attended a week long session at the Philmont Training Center (PTC) this month and on the way back from the trip to New Mexico Bob and I looked at the pictures I had taken of my trip to the facility in 1984, which also happened to be the first time I visited Philmont Scout Ranch. It was interesting to see what had changed over the last three decades, and also what had stayed the same. If you have been to the ranch a few times over the decades you will know what I mean.

I thought those of you who have been to training center years ago might enjoy seeing this slideshow of my 1984 trip posted to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. Even those of you who have been there recently will enjoy seeing the new buildings and other changes to both the training center and the base camp from which the Boy Scouts leave on their 12 day treks into the backcountry. You will notice that one of the biggest and best changes has been the new Welcome Center at the base camp.

By the way, three of the songs used in the video are song by members of the Philmont staff over thirty years ago. They are from a cassette tape I bought in 1984 at the base camp trading post. The album is called Philsongs: Remembered Days. I checked the store this month and did not see this available to buy anymore, is cassette or cd formats. I converted the cassette to mp3’s several years ago so I could listen to the songs on my iPod.

Video Information: 640×360, time 10:31, 108.9 MB. m4v format.

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tabletopdaylogoA friend of mine recently posted a link on Facebook to something called International TableTop Day which will be held on Saturday, April 5th. I have never heard of this but it caught my interest so I decided to check it out. It is pretty much just like it sounds. Here is a short quote from the website:

International TableTop Day is a celebration for all the fans of tabletop gaming. A single day where the whole world is brought together in a common purpose of spending time together and having fun. We hope you find the resources you need — to connect new fans to experienced group organizers, retailers with their community, and publishers with the international community — all in one place.

This sounds like an event that would be right up my alley. I like to play board games, card games, and Dungeons and Dragons. Gosh, they all happen to be tabletop games! I enjoy the thrill of competing against my friends as we sit around a table playing Munchkins or Risk. Of course, I also prefer to win, but as they say, you can’t win them all.

As I considered this event I thought this could be an excellent activity in which Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops could participate, even if it was just within their own units. I can vision dens of Cub Scouts playing Sorry, CandyLand, Pokemon, or various card games. I can see Boy Scouts playing Monopoly, Scrabble, Magic, or D&D. I see scoutmasters and cubmasters being beaten at their own games by competitive Scouts of all ages. Could you imagine local packs and troops getting together for this one day of gaming that does not involve a video screen?

What do you think of this? Would your troop or pack be interested in joining an event that is international?

I usually get a bit irritated when only three of the ten members of the troop show up for a troop meeting, but tonight it worked out very well. It was a true boy run meeting.

The boys in attendance were the assistant senior patrol leader and the two newest boys. After the opening, the ASPL discussed the points of the Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat. The new boys had a couple requirements left to finish their Tenderfoot Rank so he worked with them to complete the rank.

Eymard, the troop’s assistant scoutmaster, took the new boys to one side of the park shelter for their Tenderfoot scoutmaster conference. I sat down with the ASPL to review his upcoming Eagle service project. The boys then played a few holes of disc golf, did some planning for the menu for this month’s outing, and closed the meeting.

I was proud of the boys for what they were able to accomplish during the meeting. I look forward to Tuesday night when two Boy Scouts attend the committee meeting for their Tenderfoot board of reviews.