Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category


Boy Scout Troop leaders are parade grand marshals.

When I received a phone call from the Melrose Chamber of Commerce a few weeks ago I thought it might be about the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 handing out the small USA flags before the Riverfest parade again, like the troop has done for many years. I was about to receive a big surprise.

During the Chamber’s Riverfest festival planning meetings they choose a person or persons to be the grand marshal(s) of the parade. This year it was suggested the Eymard Orth and myself should be the grand marshals in recognition of the many years each of us has not only put into the local Scouting program, but also the other organizations we have been involved in over the last 4 decades.

The phone call was to ask if I would accept the honor of being a parade grand marshal. I said if Eymard would than I would also accept the honor. He did, so we are.

The local newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, interviewed the two of us last week. The article based on that interview was on the front page of this week’s edition. As always, Carol, the writer, did a great job with the article. (The picture seen with this article is the one used in the newspaper.)

So, on Saturday night, Eymard Orth and myself, Steve Borgerding, will ride down Main Street in Melrose in a red convertible. We will be wearing our Scout uniforms. We will be representing the Scouting program. We will also be drinking a lot of water since the temperature is forecasted to hit the 90s. We might even have to carry an umbrella to provide some shade along the route.

As this night approaches I can not help but think of how the movie Follow Me Boys ends with a parade for their scoutmaster of 20 years. I realize the parade we will be in is not a Scouting parade like the one in the movie, but I still feel there are a couple parallels there. Eymard now has 30 years with the troop, while I have 39 years.

The Scenic District of the Central Minnesota Council held its final roundtable meeting of the year on Tuesday, December 11. I have not attended a roundtable for quite awhile but I attended this one because I was asked to speak about the B. S. A.’s high adventure bases. I am glad I did attend this meeting.

Scoutmaster Dave Norling of Melrose Area Troop 68 was recognized with two awards during the meeting. He received his certificate for completing “Basic Leader Training.” He also received the special council neckerchief for being 100% trained. I believe he may be second adult leader of Troop 68 who has received the neckerchief. District executive Sam Ross made the presentations.

Congratulations to Scoutmaster Dave Norling!

The Boy Scouts of America needed a new place to hold the 2013 National Jamboree. Fort A.P. Hill, located in Virginia and the site of several previous Jamborees, would no longer be available for this major event. After a lot of searching and fundraising, the B.S.A. purchased property in the mountains of West Virginia and quickly began developing the site for its needs. The Summit Bechtel Reserve opened on time for the 2013 Jamboree and became a hit with the Scouts and adult leaders.

A special program was held during three weeks of the summer of 2018 at this new high adventure base. The Summit Adventure Leadership Training course, also known as SALT, introduced Scouts to the various programs offered at The Summit. Thanks to a generous donor, the cost of the 5 day course was reduced to $45 per participant, plus the cost of transportation.

When the Central Minnesota Council received this information they began the process of trying to create a contingent of 40 or more Scouts. If they could find the forty Scouts the cost would be $325 per participant, which included the cost of a charter bus. Four Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 quickly registered for this event. Two of the troop’s adult leaders applied to be adult leaders. One was chosen to be one of the four chaperones for the trip.

The contingent of 42 Scouts and four adult leaders left the council office in Sartell Sunday evening on July 22nd and arrived at The Summit Monday afternoon. During the next few days the crew members received a sampling of many of the high adventure activities which included BMX biking, mountain biking, skateboarding, a high ropes course, rock climbing, shooting sports, and more. They even visited areas of the base that most campers never get a chance to visit, such as the logistics center. Two highlights of the trip were the 3200 foot long zip line Tuesday morning, and the white water rafting adventure Thursday morning.

Was the trip a success? Did the Scouts have fun? Well, let’s put it this way. When the Melrose Scouts were asked if they would like to go back for a full high adventure program they all agreed they would love to have the chance to go back to The Summit. I guess the answer to the question would be “Yes!”

In May I discovered that four Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 had signed up to attend the new S.A.L.T. program at the Summit Betchel Reserve in West Virginia. The Summit Adventure Leadership Training is a five day program designed to give participants a chance to sample many of the activities found at the Summit, along with some training on how to promote the Summit in their troops, districts, and councils.

I have never been to the Summit. I wanted to visit the base during the 2017 National Jamboree but things did not work out for that to happen. I decided to call the council office and check if they needed any adult leaders go to on the trip. They told me they were looking for leaders and if I was interested I should send in a “resume”. The last time I needed to send a resume to the council was when I applied to be a Scoutmaster of one of the troops for the 2001 National Jamboree.

It took me week to get around writing a resume. As I was writing it I thought to myself, as I listed my Scouting accomplishments, this could work for me or against me. The council may decide to choose younger leadership or a couple Scoutmasters for this trip. Oh well, the decision was theirs. I sent it in and waited for a reply.

For the next week I waited for a reply. To tell the truth, I was starting to have second thoughts about the whole thing. I would soon be 58 years old. Maybe I did not want to camp out for a week long trip anymore. I have not spend a week camping since I stepped down as Scoutmaster in 2011. The hot, humid, and possibly rainy weather known to be in West Virginia during July was another concern. I think I have grown a bit soft since I moved on to a committee position. I was also a little concerned because I had very little information about what would be required from the adult leaders.

After a week I received a reply from the Central Minnesota Council. They would be glad to have me join the crew if it still worked for me to get vacation time. That would not be a problem. I had already been approved the time off at work. I would have to let the Scoutmaster know I would not be spending a couple of days at summer camp which the troop would be attending the week before the trip to the Summit.

I called the council to inform them that I would be glad to attend the Summit. I would soon add a third Boy Scouts of America high adventure base to my list of bases attended.

Wow! Has it really been over three years since I have done a Melrose Scouting Productions video podcast? I guess it has. The last one was posted on December 1, 2014. I think it is time to do something about that.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, the mayor of Melrose, Joe Finken, attended the annual Cub Scout 68 Blue and Gold Banquet. After the meal, but before the award presentations, Mr. Finken was invited to come forward and say a few words to the Cub Scouts. He gave a nice talk which focused on teamwork. He spoke well and had the Scouts’ attention the whole time. With this podcast we would like to share Mayor Finken’s talk.

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My brother and I were Boy Scouts for three and a half years in the mid 1970’s. My youngest brother was a Cub Scout. My mother was a den leader, and my father was a troop committee member. Scouting was strong in my family, but not quite as strong as it was in one of my cousin’s family.

Jim Ehlert, my uncle, had five sons. All five sons were involved in the Scouting program. Jim became a scoutmaster when his oldest son was a Boy Scout. Jim held that position for a number of years as all the boys grew threw the program. In fact, all five of the young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Once in awhile, back in the 1970’s, our families would meet at grandma’s cabin on Kings Lake. We would sometimes exchange skits and songs that were popular in our troops. We would also swap Scouting stories and experiences as we sat around the campfire.

I was a little in awe of Jim during my teen years, as a lot of Scouts look up to the adults who are Scout Leaders. I also admired him for holding the position of scoutmaster fo so many years. When his sons finally graduated out of the troop he retired as scoutmaster and took on a different Scouting position.

Occasionally, after I became the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68, Jim and I would have the opportunity to chat about Scouting. He would ask me how things were going in my troop, or ask me to tell him about the latest high adventure trip that we had attended. They were fun discussions.

On Tuesday, September 19, Jim passed away after a battle with kidney disease. He was in his 80’s. I guess I will not be sharing anymore Scouting stories with him. Until that is, until I join him in that great summer camp in the sky.

I was never a member of the Order of the Arrow as a youth. I became a member in the mid-1980’s when I was a scoutmaster, along with two Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. I enjoyed being a member and saw the value of it for the youth so I promoted it during the next 25 years. Since it is a youth based program, I only was as active in the Order of the Arrow as the Scouts in the troop were active. Some were busy years, others were not, but we always had a couple members of the O.A. in the troop.

I stepped down as the scoutmaster at the end of 2011 and although I still tried to get the boys to participate I was not very successful. It has been a few years since the troop has held an Order of the Arrow election so I was pleased this year when the patrol leader council decided to have one this spring. I talked with the new scoutmaster and the youth membership trying to drum up interest again. The election was held on February 6th during our troop meeting.

The former lodge advisor and his son, who is a former lodge chief, live in Melrose so it was easy to have a lodge representative stop by for a visit. Chris and Chuck gave a short talk about the Order and had the troop watch a short video. Scoutmaster Dave and I found that four Scouts qualified for the election. I was surprised when it was announced that all four Scouts had been elected. I should actually say nominated since a Scout does not become a member until he has attended a conclave.

I did not realize that our small troop could have all four Scouts be nominated for membership. I though that only a couple would be allowed since we only had ten members. I guess the rule has changed about how many Scouts of a troop can now be nominated.

Following the election we looked up the dates of the Naguonabe Lodge conclaves for the spring and fall. I was a little surprised to discover the date of the spring outing. I remember it was usually held early in the month of May. We discovered it would be held later in the month, the same weekend as our scheduled troop camping trip. This was not an ideal situation.

As the weekend approached, only two of the four nominees decided to attend the conclave. A third is still deciding if he wants to be a member, while the fourth has decided he does not really want to be. He says he is busy enough with other things, like a job. I was going to attend the conclave with the boys, but the scoutmaster had something else come up that weekend so I decided to help with the troop outing.

Our two new Arrowmen enjoyed the conclave and seem to be proud to be members of the Order of the Arrow. They are already talking about earning their Brotherhood at next year’s spring conclave. I am happy to hear that. And hopefully, we will have a few more nominees ready to at that time.

This poem from circa 1964 was posted in our Naguonabe Lodge newsletter this spring. It is a good fit to remind us to take an active part as members in the Order of the Arrow and not “just belong.”

What Are You?
(Author unknown)

Are you an active brother, the kind that would be missed?
Or are you just contented that your name is on the list?
Do you attend the meetings and mingle with the flock?
Or do you stay at home and criticize and knock?
Do you take an active part to help the work along,
Or are you satisfied to be the kind that “Just belong?”
Do you ever go visit a member that is sick?
Or leave the work for just a few and talk about the clique?
There’s quite a program planned that I’m sure you’ve heard about
And we’ll appreciate if you, too, will come and help us out,
So come to the convention and help with hand and heart,
Don’t just me a member, but take an active part.
Think this over, member, you know right from wrong,
Are you an active member? Or do you just belong?
We all have something we can contribute and when we work together amazing things can happen. I believe even more could be accomplished at conclaves and other events if we take this to heart. Just remember W W W “The Brotherhood of Cheerful Service.”