Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

That’s right! Today, August 17, Button the radical Boy Scout celebrates the two year anniversary of his first appearance in an online video that appeared on Youtube. It has been quite a ride since then. When I look back at those first videos it almost makes me cringe. His talk was slow. His movement were stiff. To tell the truth, at the time I was not sure what I should be doing with him.

What a difference two years can make. Buttons has developed into a somewhat hyperactive teenager who loves Scouting. He has appeared in videos by himself, with real Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and recently starred in a video with other puppet friends. He has conducted interviews of people in Scouting, gone camping, stayed physically fit, and even tried playing broomball. So far, Buttons has appeared in sixteen videos.

Buttons has also been a guest on two audio podcasts; An Hour a Week, and Akela’s Adventure. Both podcasts are part of the PTC Media family of Scouting podcasts. Buttons also made a live appearance at Pack 68’s School Night To Join Scouting in the fall of 2007.

So what is in the future for Buttons? More videos, of course. Plans are in the works for Buttons to star in videos about Leave no Trace camping and internet safety. Two more “Buttons and Randall Show” videos are being planned. And there is a rumor that Buttons could soon launch his campaign to run for the presidency.

Buttons and I have enjoyed creating these videos over the last two years. We hope you have enjoyed watching them. We invite you to leave comments for Buttons by clicking on the link below, or at the iTunes Music Store (by clicking HERE), or at the PTC Media forums.

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    I could not pass up sharing this comic with you. It is a Family Circus comic and asks a very important question about the Boy Scout Slogan, Do A Good Turn Daily. I actually saw it in a newspaper over a year ago, but only recently found an online version of it, and it is in color!

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      This note is more for myself then anyone else. The counter hit 20,000 visitors this morning. It has only been a little over three months since hitting the 10,000 mark, which took five months to hit. Thanks everyone!

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        The month of August is over. The means the time of the drawing for the dvd-r of Scouting promotional videos has arrived. I went back through the month’s comments, discovered who left a comment, and put each person’s name into a hat (up to two times).

        The winner of the dvd-r is… Tom! Tom left a comment to the Hour A Week post I made on August 22nd. Tom, you will need to contact me and give me your address so I can send you the dvd-r.

        I appreciate all the comments I receive from the readers of this blog. I hope you will continue to write and let me know what you think about this blog and it’s subjects. I wish all of you the best as your new Scouting program year begins. Happy Scouting!

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          July was a good month for visitors to “A Scoutmaster’s Blog”. In addition to those of you who are regulars readers there were a lot of new visitors to the blog. The articles about the eighty year old assistant scoutmaster, the camp ranger, and the Boy Scout pick-up lines were very popular.

          To thank you all for reading this blog I would like to hold a drawing this month. I plan to give two lucky winners a dvd I compiled which includes about twenty short Scouting promotional videos. These videos can be seen on our troop’s website and on Youtube. I have had quite a few people ask for a copy of this video during the past year so I thought this might make a nice prize for this drawing.

          If you would like to be entered as a participant for this drawing all you have to do is to leave a comment to an August article of this blog. Comments to previous blog articles will not apply. I will hold the drawing at the end of the month. Comments must include a name and email address (so that I can let you know if you are a winner.) Anonymous entries will not be included in the drawing. I will limit the entries to two per person. (This drawing is not sponsored by the BSA.)

          Good luck! And thanks for reading “A Scoutmaster’s Blog”.

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            I hate cell phones!

            Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. I really, really, really dislike cell phones. I dislike people talking on them while they are driving their vehicles. I dislike people talking on them while they are shopping. I dislike it when I am visiting with someone and they put me “on hold” to check who is calling on their cell phone. Don’t even get me started on text messaging or the bluetooth ear piece accessories.

            Even though I do not like this bit of current technology, I do understand the need for the things. I work in a lumber yard and the phones do come in handy to stay in contact with the contractors. Unfortunately, I see too many people, including kids, become a slave to the things and cannot seem to survive without them. I always thought people where supposed to rule technology, not the other way around.

            All that being said, in Boy Scout Troop 68 I treat cell phones the same as any other electronic device, such as handheld video games and mp3 players. Boy Scouts are not allowed to bring them on any troop outing or camping trip. Electronic gadgets are left behind so we can enjoy nature. I tell the boys that if they want to play video games then they should stay home. I do not want to hear AC DC, Nickelback, or some rap song blaring through the campsite. I certainly do not want the ringing of a cell phone interrupting the peaceful nature of being in the forest, and I do not want the Scouts calling home for every little thing, or talking to their friends all the time.

            I once made a vow to never own a cell phone, which surprised a lot of people I know. I am a bit of a tech and computer geek, probably a 6 on a scale of 1-10. My computer system at home is the envy of some people. (It is a Mac Pro, for those of you who need to know.)

            I surprised myself, and others, when I bought one of those inexpensive pay-as-you-go-type cell phones last February before leaving on a trip to Florida. After getting separated from the family at Disney last year, I thought it might be nice to be able to stay in touch with people this year. I also was thinking that a phone could come in handy at Scout functions if there was an emergency. I did use the phone quite a bit at the state-wide Ripley Rendezvous in June to stay in touch with other staff members. I do let the Scouts use it to call their parents as we arrive home from activities. It somewhat embarrasses me knowing that they know how to use it better then I do.

            I still dislike cell phones. Mine spends most of its time on my bedroom dresser. Now and then though, it does have its uses. I do take it along on trips and on Scout functions. I still refuse to take mine with me wherever I go. At least for now…

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              There have been sixteen members of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 that have attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Each Eagle court of honor has been different, with each Eagle Scout planning the ceremony to his own liking. Some ceremonies have been simple, others have been quite elaborate. But none were quite like the latest one held last month.

              Chris, our troop’s sixteenth Eagle, but the town’s seventeenth, scheduled his Eagle court of honor for Sunday, May 20, at the Melrose City Park pavilion. When I awoke that morning I noticed that it was not looking very nice outdoors. A quick check on the internet told me the forecast for the day included cool temperatures, wind, and a chance of rain. It did not sound like good weather for an outdoor court of honor.

              The park pavilion has the kitchen and bathrooms located on its north end. The west side has a four foot high wall with roll up curtains above. The south and east sides have no walls and are open to the park. When I thought of the day’s weather and the openness of the shelter I was a little concerned so I called Chris’ home to ask about a plan B. I discovered there was not a plan B. I decided to dress warm.

              The court of honor was the coldest and windiest one I had ever attended. I do not think the temperature ever made it into the sixties. The easterly wind chilled us even more as it blew through the pavilion. The clouds threatened rain but luckily did not live up to its thunder. Toward the end of the ceremony I did find myself shivering. But you know, the weather is not the thing I will remember the most about this day.

              The most memorable thing about Chris’ Eagle court of honor was the upbeat attitude of everyone involved, and the jolly atmosphere of everyone in attendance. To put it simply, we had fun. It was one of the most humorous court of honors I have ever attended. Oh, it was solemn when it needed to be, but there were plenty of giggles along the way. This court of honor became a great example of how we can take a situation that is not ideal and turn it into something fun and memorable.

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                I do not think there are many people out there who can say they have been a Boy Scout leader for 27 years. I think I heard somewhere that the average tenure of a Scout leader is only about three or four years. I do not know if that is accurate or not, but I think I can safely say that I have a tenure longer then ninety percent of the Scouts leaders nationally.

                Those years have included some excellent memories and great activities. I have made friends with some wonderful boys and their families. Some of those friendships are still going strong after twenty years.

                I will not lie though. There have been some awful times during the last three decades. There have been times when I wanted to quit, tried to quit. Times that I have felt totally inadequate. Times that I have felt as if I was the only one in the world who cared. Times when I felt the troop would be better off with someone else as the scoutmaster.

                Whenever I felt that way I would take a night to sleep on it. Usually, things would look better in the morning. Sometimes it would take two nights. I think once it took a week. Somehow, things always seemed to get better.

                Anyone who has been a scoutmaster can tell you about the unique challenges that come with the job. Most scoutmasters are married and have a spouse to talk with about those very challenging moments. I am single. I do not have that option. It can be really tough having no one to talk to when things get overwhelming. Sometimes I wish I was the superman, the man of steel, the man who can solve all the world’s problems, or at least the troop’s problems. Well, I am not a superman. I am just a guy who happens to be the scoutmaster of a small town Boy Scout troop.

                In my basement rec room there is a wall on which hangs the awards presented to me over the years. They include the District Scouter of the Year, the District Award of Merit, the Scoutmaster Award of Merit, and the Silver Beaver Award. I will admit, the wall looks impressive. Are these awards the reasons I have stayed involved with Scouting for so long? No, they are not. They are simply the icing on the cake.

                The reason I have stayed on as a leader of Troop 68 is, simply, the boys. Yes, they can be very trying on my nerves at times, and yes, my patience is not the same as it once was. However, I really do enjoy working with them. They help to keep me young at heart. They teach me things as I try to teach them a few skills and pass on a few words of wisdom. I would like to think that the few years that I spend with them will somehow help them to be better citizens in some small way.

                So yeah, the reason I am still in Scouting is the kids, the friendships, and the good times. It has been a great adventure, these last twenty seven years. I just might have to stick around for a few more.

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