Archive for the ‘Film & Books’ Category


I am sure I am not the only long time Scouter that has accumulated a fair amount of Scouting memorabilia over the years. I think it is inevitable. But when you actively collect anything you come across the collection grows a lot faster, and you develop a lot of subcategories within the collection. Handbooks, novels, coffee mugs and patches are probably the most common Scouting related collections.

Last year I discovered that there was a short comic book series that featured a comical look at Boy Scouting. This series, printed in 1951, was named The Little Scouts. According to the Comic Vine website, there were five issues printed in this series, but a few more stories were printed in Dell Four Color comic series that featured the same characters. Each comic book featured a few short stories of a group of Boy Scouts.

I was able to pick up one of these comic books. It is shown above. According to the information on Comic Vine this is #5 in the series. I have looked through it and found it to be entertaining and fun to read. It may not be quite “socially correct” by today’s standards but it was published over 60 years ago. It like reading the humor found in the books back then. I think I need to begin the hunt to see if I can find the rest of them.

Do you know of any other Scouting related comic book series? Leave a comment and let us know about it.

A couple years ago I was looking around on eBay and came across an auction for the graphic novel Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, Book 1: A Brave Is Brave. I bought the book and discovered it was signed by the illustrator Zach Lehner. Unfortunately, it was made out to Dan, not Steve, but whatever. I had a signed book!

The graphic novel tells the story of a Boy Scout-like group called the Junior Braves who went out on a weekend camping trip. When they arrived back home they discovered a virus had wiped out most of the population and zombie-like mutants were wondering the streets. The goal was not only to survive this strange new world but to find their parents.

I enjoyed the book. The artwork was great and story was fun. The Braves had to use their “Scouting” knowledge to survive, along with a bit of luck. Not everything in the story went well for the Braves which added a nice touch to the plot. How would your troop do if they suddenly found themselves in this situation?

I received the second book of the series today, Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, Book 2: Out Of The Woods. I dove into it after work and read the whole book this evening. The writers did a good job continuing the story and introducing new characters. Once again the artwork was great. I do not want to give the plot away but I will say they Braves discover a second Junior Braves “troop” and not all goes well.

I think most teenagers would enjoy the book, especially if they are a Boy Scout. After all, these books about about “Scouts” during a zombie apocalypse.

Have you seen these books in your local book store? Have you read them? Did you enjoy them? I look forward to reading your comments.

When you are an adult leader, or a former Cub Scout or Boy Scout who is now grown up, it is fun to look back at the Scouting days of your youth. It is fun to reminisce about those Pinewood Derbies, camping trips, or award ceremonies. That is one reason I take so many pictures when I attend a troop or pack function. I know the boys and their parents will enjoy looking back at them several years from now.

Since the national office of the Boy Scouts of America does not seem to do much of anything to promote Scouting outside of their own organization (or if they do, I never seem to catch it) I always appreciate it when I see Scouting represented in a good light in the newspaper or in a magazine. Thanks to my parents I have been reading some issues of a magazine called Reminisce. It features stories written by the readers of those days gone by. Articles include stories from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. At my age, somewhere in my fifties, I find many of these articles fun to read and even historical.

A few times I have stumbled across pictures and stories in Reminisce that are Scouting related or feature pictures of Scouting events. I really enjoy reading these stories, and the pictures are a blast to look at. One issue a few months ago even featured Cub Scouts participating in a soapbox derby of the cover of the magazine. Another larger photo was included inside. I have spotted Scouting pictures in other issues. Oh, those long ago days…

Have you read any magazines lately that feature Scouting related stories, that are not Boys Life or Scouting magazine? What magazines were they? What was the story? Leave a comment and let us know about it.

Like I stated in the previous post, I collect Scouting memorabilia. A large portion of the collection is books: handbooks, merit badge books, Fieldbooks, training books, and fictional novels. Most of the fictional novels are from the 1910’s through the 1920’s.

Last year I found a set of four books in a comic book shop in Alexandria. I almost looked past them. After all, you do not expect to see Scouting books in a comic book store, but the edge design of the books happen to catch my eye since they are similar to other fictional Scouting themed novels from the early 1900’s. The dust jacket on the one book gave a clue that this could be a Scouting series. I was right. This Dan Carter, Cub Scout series, written by Mildred Wirt, was printed from 1949-1953.

I looked them over, thought about the price marked on the books, and decided they would make a nice addition to my collection, especially since the one book still had the dust jacket, which I have since discovered makes a book more collectable to some collectors.

Later, I took a look in the iTunes store to see if these books were available as digital versions. They were! A six book mega-pack was available for a very reasonable price. Yes, you read that correctly. There are six books in the series which means I am missing two of them. Oh well, I have the digital versions so I may read all six books, when I find the time to do so. I have too many books sitting on my bookshelves waiting to be read, and more on my iPad.

Do you collect old Scouting themed books? Which ones do you have?

img_6109I have a lot of photo albums. Scouting photo albums, that is. Most of them include pictures of troop meetings, weekend outings, summer camps, and courts of honor. There are also albums of the trips to Philmont Scout Ranch, the High Knoll Trail, and the 2001 National Jamboree. In total, there are 39 albums of Boy Scout Troop 68, covering activities from the mid 1970’s through this year.

The reason I am posting about this is because I just finished putting the last photograph in the 39th album this week. This brings me up to May 2016, the troop’s Camp Watchamagumee outing. It is time to start another album. Or is it?

As I was placing photos into the page sleeves I began thinking to myself, maybe this should be the last photo album I create of troop functions. After all, the only time they get viewed in when I use them for in displays for Scout Week in February or at one of the troop’s meal fundraisers.

I also began thinking about the cost of each album, not just the book but also the cost of printing the pictures. Each finished album runs about $40-$50 by the time it is done. When you stop to think about it, I have a lot invested in these albums.

Then I thought of a third point. Most people, including myself, are more into looking at photos on their phones and tablets than they are to picking up an physical album. That was the main reason I bought an iPad. Not to play games but to carry my photos with me. Add to this that we all share digital photos so easily these days it begins to make little sense to create physical photo albums.

Finally, what is going to happen to all these albums when I am done with Scouting? No one is going to want them. Our troop does not have its own hut or building. (We meet in a school gym for meetings.) The only place that may want the books is our local historical museum. Yeah, they would probably love to have over 36 years of local Scouting history to add to their collection.

So there it is. In this digital age I really do not see a reason to create any more Scouting photo albums for Troop 68. What do you think? Am I wrong for thinking this way?

Now that the Scouts of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 have left on their trip to Philmont Scouts Ranch I have been thinking about my trips to the ranch, and the DVD I have in my collection known as The Philmont Documentary Collection. It is one of my favorite Scouting DVD’s. I was even able to chat with Larry McLaughlin, the producer and creator of the DVD, during a Leader’s Campfire podcast episode. (More of that interview can be heard at http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=1920 )

Recently, while browsing Facebook, I scrolled across information about another DVD about the ranch. It is a collection of 40 short films created by David E. Carter during the years of 2006-2008. The DVD includes segments on all 36 of Philmont’s backcountry camps, as well as 3 special features.  It was only sold for two years in the Philmont trading post, and has not been available since then. This newly-edited version includes additonal content that has never been seen before. It contains over two hours of video.

It looks like this is a DVD I need to add to my collection. The price of $22 includes shipping. Not a bad price if you ask me. My only wish is that it was filmed in high definition, but alas, it was created before all the new tech was readily available.

More informations can be found on the website at http://www.sanibelfilms.com/philmont-dvd.html

Do you plan to order yourself a copy?

2016Handbooks - 1Gosh! I do not know if you have heard or not but the Boy Scouts of America have changed the requirements for the Boy Scout advancement program. Scout is now a rank, which means there are seven ranks instead of six. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have changed a fair amount. Star, Life, and Eagle Ranks not so much. These changes could bring a few changes to your troop’s yearly program.

Of course, these changes to the advancement program need to be reflected in the Boy Scout handbook, which means a new handbook needs to be written. I was hoping to see a new handbook by the end of last year, but I was told during last month’s roundtable that they would be out some time in January. Knowing the B.S.A.’s history of getting things out on a timely basis. I thought that meant we would have to wait until February.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last week that stated the new handbooks were now on the shelves and available for sale. I drove the thirty miles to my nearest Scout Shop on Saturday to pick up one for myself, along with some items for the upcoming Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet. I ended up buying six handbooks; one for me, two for the scoutmaster and his assistant, and three for the Scouts. I like to keep a few on hand so new Scouts have them quickly available when they join the troop.

I have already received an email from the father of one Scout who has asked me to put one handbook aside for him. I have a feeling the other two could be claimed by the end of the week. I bet I will need to pick up more of them when I attend next month’s roundtable in Sartell.

I was caught a bit off guard when I saw the price of the new handbooks was $14.99. I should have known they would not be the same price as the old handbooks. Oh well, we have to have them.

Did you get your new handbook yet?

Boys Life poster picIf case you do not know it yet, today, May 4th, is Star Wars day. That means it is time to say, May the fourth be with you! Yes, it is a bit of a silly pun, but it is a fun silly pun. The folks at Boys Life Magazine have decided to have a spot of fun with Star Wars day by creating their own poster to celebrate the new holiday. What is your favorite part of the design? Is it Pedro the burro as Luke Skywalker? Or could it be Pee Wee and Westly as the two droids? How about the Death Star depicted as a glazed donut? I do not think I would care for the alfalfa shake, even with the cherry on top.