Archive for the ‘summer camp’ Category

In the last article I wrote about the weather during this summer’s week-long outing at Many Point Scout Camp, and the Tuesday storm in which lightning hit a tree near the administration building located less then a mile from our campsite. I did not get to see the tree while I was at camp but one of the Many Point staff members did get a couple pictures of the tree that was hit. Unfortunately, while I saved this photo, I forgot the name of the staff member. Oh well, you can see the damage to the tree. It is further proof to play it safe during thunderstorms and get to a safe place.

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    A lot comes to mind when I think about spending a week at summer camp. Scoutcraft, beach activities, and friendships are just a few, but there are a lot more.

    The weather always adds something to the memories of camp. I never forget to pack my rain gear because I know there will be at least one rainy day during the week. On the sunny days the temperatures can reach the 90′s, which can be pretty nasty when you add in the humidity of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. The mosquitoes and deer flies love the hot humid weather and often make the evenings a challenge to enjoy. Those are the days I am glad I made the investment of a screen porch to bring to camp.

    This summer’s trip to Many Point Scout Camp added a couple new memories to the many I already have. The week began with Sunday and Monday being sunny and comfortable days. The usually rainy day came on Tuesday as a cold front moved into the area. The light drizzle turned to a heavy rain along with thunder and lightning which closed many of the camp’s program areas for safety reasons.

    Suddenly, there was a bright flashing of light followed by a deafening boom of thunder that happened at the same moment. Everyone in our campsite jumped inside their tents, including me. My assistant scoutmaster, who happened to be sitting in the screen porch, looked up in the sky in time to see a “ball of fire” to the east of us. We later discovered that lightning had struck a tree near the MPSC administration building which is less than a mile from where we were camping.

    The cold front dropped the temperature enough that everyone put on a jacket or sweatshirt. Unfortunately, it stayed cool on Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday. It was so cool that the Scouts decided to skip their troop aquatramp period at the beach Thursday afternoon, and their two hours of sailing on Friday. They had suddenly become fans of disc golf.

    Even though the boys decided it was too cool to do activities at the waterfront they did keep busy with camp activities. And there was one advantage to the cool weather. The mosquito population was down, and the deer flies were almost nonexistent. I guess the insects preferred the warmer weather.

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      It was a nice warm morning on Sunday, July 12, when eight Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 met to spend a week at Many Point Scout Camp which is located north of Park Rapids, Minnesota. Unfortunately, the nice weather would not stay with the Scouts, but did they let that stop them from having fun? No way! They still had a great time.

      A typical day at camp is broken into three parts. The Scouts work on merit badges and advancement projects in the morning. They participate in troop activities in the afternoon. The boys scatter to all areas of the camp in the evenings when all program areas are open for fun.

      Monday afternoon was busy for the Boy Scouts of Troop 68. It began with an hour long session of team building games called Ethics in Action. They than participated in a camp service project for their Super Troop Award. Then it was time to cool off at the waterfront for a game of water polo.

      Tuesday’s activities included an hour of canoeing, a visit to the fire tower and museum, and the Ironman competition, but due to thunderstorms and lightning moving into the area these activities were cancelled for safety reasons. The campers used this time to relax in their campsite.

      Wednesday’s schedule included some the the troop’s favorite activities. The fun began at the Buckskin Camp climbing tower and bouldering wall. The troop went to the archery range to work on their skills with the bow and arrow, tomahawks, and sling shots. The afternoon finished with an hour at the beachfront sauna.

      The weather turned very cool on Thursday so the Scouts decided to play eighteen holes of disc golf on the camp’s new course instead of swimming at the beach. This was followed by the troop shoot at the rifle range.

      The weather stayed cool and cloudy on Friday so the boys followed their ‘camp reflection’ time with another trip to the disc gold course, instead of going sailing. Many of the boys improved their scores from the previous day. The day ended with the closing campfire program which included most of the troops in camp performing a song or skit. The Melrose Boy Scouts performed one of their favorite skits, The Pickpocket, to the enjoyment of the whole camp.

      The eight Scouts also did very well on working on advancement. They earned a total of 21 merit badges during the week.

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        I just discovered this video on Youtube featuring behind the scenes pictures from Scout Camp: The Movie, which is being released on dvd this month. I am looking forward to seeing this movie. I think the troop will be having a movie night after I get a copy.

        And here is a short clip from the movie featuring the Boy Scouts as they arrive at the beach for their swim checks.

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          It appears that there will be a new movie making its way around the country this year. It is about spending a week at a Boy Scout summer camp and is called, oddly enough, Scout Camp. From the preview it looks to have some humor and some serious moments. I have read it a Scout forum that the movie is written by guys who were Scouts themselves growing up, and it does not follow the guide to safe scouting very well. Oh the horrors!

          I am hoping this film comes to central Minnesota. I would like to see it and perhaps bring the troop along. After all, there are very few movies made about Boy Scouting. I love one line from the preview, “I’m fine. I am the scoutmaster.”

          Here is the preview of the movie:

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            Ah, the closing campfire program at summer camp. The final bit of fun and laughs. The place were awards are presented from a week of adventure. The last gathering of the campers and troops. And, if your troop is doing a skit or song, it could be the last time at camp for the Scouts to experience excitement or anxiety. Luckily, the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have enough experience to fall more into the excitement group instead of the anxiety group.

            The four young Scouts of Troop 68 (the older ones were at Philmont this summer) threw around a few ideas during the week for a skit to do for the closing campfire. The Buckskin Staff of Many Point Scout Camp had encouraged each troop to come up with a song or skit for the program. My four Scouts finally decided on the Invisible Bench skit.

            Everything was fine, until Friday morning when the senior patrol leaders met with the camp’s program director and were told that skits should have a “Superheroes” theme to them. My Scouts went into a near panic mode. They did not know any Superhero skits. What could they do now?

            During the morning program and afternoon activities we threw around several ideas and finally decided on the Invisible Bench skit. Only it would now be the Invisible Plane skit. The boys would portray various Superheroes gathering to join Wonder Women on an adventure. They would wait in the invisible plane until she arrived. Various superheroes were chosen to be in the skit, along with a quick intro for each one. After a few practices we Scouts were ready to perform.

            The Scouts from Troop 68 were called down to do their skit during the middle of the program. I thought the boys did a good job, as did all the troops who did a skit. There was some impressive talent during this year’s program. And of course, I had my video camera there to record it so I could share some of it to you.

            This post to the Melrose Scouting Production Podcast features the Invisible Plane skit, and the Supersize skit done by another troop from the Central Minnesota Council. I have to apoligize about the lighting. It was getting pretty dark by the time the troops performed their skits. And for some reason my camera decided to “hiccup” a couple times at the start of the Invisible Plane skit. Recording Boy Scout functions can be frustrating at times.

            I invite you to leave a comment using the link below, or at the iTunes Music Store, or at the PTC Media forums. Drop me an email at It really is great to hear what you think about the podcast videos.

            Click here to DOWNLOAD this Podcast
            Subscribe to Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast through iTunes.
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              The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have been performing a little skit/song called Star Trekking since the mid-eighties. (See blog post from August 2, 2006) It has been quite popular with most campfire audiences. In 1990 (wow, eighteen years ago) the troop performed this skit on a local television station station. This video was taped by one of the parents, luckily. Two and a half years ago I placed the video online at YouTube for the world to see. Since then, the video has received over 39,000 views, and averages somewhere around 50-60 views per day.

              Well, it seems that several of this year’s Buckskin staff at Many Point Scout Camp has seen the video. Some more then once. One Friday, the last full day of camp, our camp commissioner visited our campsite and asked me if I was the one in the video that was on YouTube. I said I was and gave him a quick explanation how that all came about. He was grinning from ear to ear when he asked me to sign his cap, and then asked me if I would perform the skit with some of the camp’s staff during the Friday night closing campfire program. I agreed, but wondered when we would have time to practice. After all, the staff would be busy all day. He replied that I should meet them at the camp lodge at 9:00 that evening.

              The campfire was scheduled to start at 9:30 pm. Not much time to practice.

              I was at the lodge at 9:00, which was a one minute walk from our troop’s campsite. Only half of the staff that were to be a part of the skit were there. The rest showed up as they arrived from their program areas. Unfortunately, we did not really have much time to practice. In fact, all we had time to do was to choose who would play what roles, go over each person’s lines once, and practice the refrain. We did not even get to run through the song one time. This could be interesting, I thought to myself as I walked back to my campsite. Luckily, most of the participants had viewed the skit on YouTube and had a good idea how it was done.

              I brought my camcorder along to the campfire program and was able to find another staff member to record the skit. When the time came, I left my seat in the audience to join the staff at the side. As we walked out to center stage I could not help but think of the possibility of the train wreck that was about to occur. After all, we really had not practiced together.

              I did not have to worry. The staff came through with flying colors. And better yet, the hundreds of Scouts and adult leaders in the audience loved it. The cheering at the end of the skit was overwhelming. We had pulled it off, and pulled it off well.

              Once I returned home from summer camp I had a problem with the camcorder. It began eating my tapes. One of the tapes it tried eating was the one that had the footage of Star Trekking. I had promised the staff that I would put this video online for them to see. I needed that footage. I bought a new camcorder, and luckily was able to retrieve the video from the campfire program. In fact, I should be able to get a few podcasts from the footage. Unfortunately, the footage is pretty dark since it was filmed after sunset.

              So here is that video of Star Trekking, performed at the Many Point Scout Camp closing campfire program on July 18, 2008. This video is dedicated to the 2008 Buckskin camp staff, and to the camp’s Ranger Scott, who appears in that YouTube video.

              Please leave a comment here using the link below, at the iTunes Music Store, or at the PTC Media forums. Or drop me an email at It really is great to hear what you think about the podcast videos.

              Click here to DOWNLOAD this Podcast
              Subscribe to Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast through iTunes.
              or at
              Check out the other Scouting podcasts at PTC Media.

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                Aquatic activites are a huge part of Boy Scouting, at least here in the land of 10,000 lakes. The aquatics beach at summer camp is probably the busiest area of the camp. You will find Boy Scouts swimming, sailing, rowing, canoeing, and snorkeling. Water polo and greased watermelon are two popular team activities.

                Safety first is always on the beach staffers’ minds. Safety Afloat and the Safe Swim Defense are the rule, not just something to think about. The number of staff members at the beach front is probably greater then any other area of program activities.

                Since these rules are enforced it can leave Scouts who are not good swimmers out of some of the activities. For example, if a Scout who has not passed his “swimmers” test wishes to go canoeing with the troop he will need a canoe partner who is a certified lifeguard. If a troop has a few non-swimmers then this could create a logistics problem.

                So what happens if your scoutmaster is a non-swimmer? Well, I can talk about this from a first person perspective because I am that non-swimmer scoutmaster. (Yeah, I know. A scoutmaster in the land of a quadrillion lakes who cannot pass the BSA swimming test. Pretty bad huh?)

                Let me explain. I like swimming, but I have never been a strong swimmer. I probably could be a stronger swimmer if I would actual go swimming more often then once or twice a year, but I really do not see that happening any time soon.

                I have a “condition” that usually keeps me out of the water. No, it is not a skin condition or something that others can catch from touching me. My body temperature drops very easily. I only go swimming when it is a hot day, with little wind, and in very warm water. All three conditions need to be met by Mother Nature.

                When my body temperature drops I begin to shiver uncontrollably. My muscles tense up through my body. Sometimes, in the worse cases, it becomes painful. And it takes a while to warm back up again. So, I seldom go swimming with the boys. I know my limits.

                Unfortunately, this means I miss out on many of the aquatic activities at summer camp. I will swim with the troop on a nice hot day but usually I am found in the non-swimmers areas. I can only go canoeing with the Scouts if there is a staff member available to be my partner. I have never gone sailing with the boys.

                Yes, it bothers me that I cannot participate in these activities. I understand the reasons for the BSA’s policies, but to tell you the truth, it does make me feel worthless as a scoutmaster at times. I have even though about resigning the position of scoutmaster and let someone else take over who could be with the Scouts through all these activities. But then the troop moves on to the climbing tower, or the archery range, and I forget all about what I missed, until the next time we go to the beach.

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