Archive for the ‘summer camp’ Category

Four Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 attended a week of summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp near Pondsford, Minnesota, during the week of July 13-19, 2008. They worked on advancement during the morning hours, had various troop activities in the afternoon, and participated in open programs during the evening.

On Wednesday evening, the Melrose Boy Scouts decided to go to the archery range and test their skills. In addition to the five regular round targets found on the hay bales there would be an apple hanging from a string to further test their skills. Would the Scouts be able to hit an apple with an arrow fired from a compound bow at 30 feet? It would not be easy.
The Melrose Scouts had already proven that they were fairly proficient with the compound bow during the troop shoot the day before. The range master was impressed and told them that should be working on earning the Archery Merit Badge. A few of the boys decided to earn it next year.
The four Scouts picked up their bow, knocked an arrow, and began firing arrows at the targets, hoping their would hit an apple. The two hour session was not even half way done before Avery pierced an apple with a well placed shot. Several minutes later, Lucas accomplished the same feat. That was two apples shot in one night by two Scouts from the same troop. The range master was impressed.
As the time neared to close down the range for the evening, the last group of Scouts walked up to the firing line. Jonah became the third Scout from Troop 68 to shoot an apple as his last arrow of the evening hit the target.
Pictures were taken, congratulations were expressed, and the Scouts went back to their campsite, each with two new apples in hand to eat at their leisure. It was a good evening at the archery range, one that would be remembered for years to come.
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    Our first morning at Many Point Scout Camp on July 14 was a sunny, cool morning. A jacket was needed, but we knew that within a couple of hours we would be shedding them as the temperature rose. This morning, the troop was in charge of the flag raising at the dining hall before breakfast. We had practiced the commands at our campsite before heading to the hall. The Boy Scouts were a little nervous, but I knew they would do great.

    Summers in Minnesota are well known for the critters. The mosquitoes and horseflies are the most dreaded insects in camp. Raccoons and chipmunks can be the two biggest nuisances in camp (other then the Scouts) if the foods, smellables, and garbage are not handled properly. The raccoons do their rummaging at night. The chipmunks, also referred to as mini-bears, are the scavengers during the day.

    We arrived at the dining hall a little early to review what we needed to do for the raising of the United States flag. A few staff members and a couple of Boy Scout troops had already arrived. The troops had started forming lines in front of their camp signs. The Troop 68 Scouts and leaders were walking to the flag poles to familiarize themselves with the set-up, and to finalize the commands. As one of the Scouts, Jonah, moved toward the flag pole a mini-bear run out from the nearby high grass with the goal of running between the boys and escaping into the woods. I happened to see it as it ran just inches in front of me…

    … and right under Jonah’s foot as he stepped forward. Jonah had not even realized he had stepped on the chipmunk’s head until I told him. He quickly stepped back but by then it was too late.

    The little critter was still alive, but its head had been crushed. The animal was laying on its side with its back legs still trying to run. A trickle of blood was leaking from its nose. As its body began to twitch we realized the injuries were critical, and that it would soon die. As one of the adult leaders lifted his foot to end the mini-bear’s suffering we heard a couple younger Scouts saying, “Don’t kill it!” I had to explain to them that the chipmunk’s injuries were too severe, and we needed to end its suffering.

    A few minutes later the flag was raised, the Pledge of Alligiance was recited, the Go Bananas song was sung, and the Scouts and leaders entered the dining hall. Food was now on everyone’s minds. The mini-bear was now history. But I and the Scouts shall always remember the little chipmunk who tried to run away but unfortunately ran across the wrong path at the wrong moment.

    (By the way, the chipmunk pictured is not the chipmunk of this story. The picture was taken of a chipmunk who found himself trapped in our garbage bag that was hanging on a tree. We allowed him to rejoin his friends in the woods.)

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      Four Boy Scouts, and two adult leaders of Melrose Troop 68 attended a week of summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp near Pondsford, Minnesota, from July 13, 2008 to July 19, 2008.

      A typical day at camp includes working on merit badges and advancement in the morning, various troop activities in the afternoon, and open program areas in the evening. The four Boy Scouts from Melrose did a great job of working on the merit badges during the morning sessions. Each of them came home with four completed badges: Forestry, Soil and Water Conservation, Fish and Wildlife Management, and Mammal Study. A couple of the boys also began work on the Archery merit badge.

      The afternoon activities keep the troop pretty busy during the week. On Monday the boys went canoeing, swimming, and had some fun at the climbing tower. On Tuesday, they tried their skills at the archery range and took the opportunity to have a sauna. On Wednesday, they shot targets at the rifle range with the brand new 22 rifles, and then had fun on the aqua-tramp at the beach. After doing a camp service project Thursday afternoon, the boys spend some time sailing on Many Point Lake. The troop visited Itasca State Park Friday afternoon and walked the first 100 yards or so of the Mississippi River.

      The Boy Scouts had a great time while at camp, and accomplished quite a few things while they were there. They had such a good time that the troop has already made reservations to attend Many Point Scout Camp next summer during the week of July 12.

      Two other members of the troop missed summer camp because they are attending Philmont Scout Ranch this month.

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        It is hard to believe, but next week I will head out to attend a week of summer camp for the 25th time. That includes three weeks as a Boy Scout, and 22 times as an adult leader. That does not include the five trips to Philmont Scout Ranch, the trip to the BWCA, or the 2001 National Jamboree. I guess you could say there has been a lot of long term Scouting camping trips in my life.

        This year will also mark the 20th time my assistant, Eymard, will be attending summer camp. In fact, this will be his twentieth consecutive year of being a summer camp leader. Not bad for an 81 year old, huh?
        Of course, there are a lot of memories and stories to go with all those trips. When I sit down and think about it I find it incredible that that Eymard and I have helped nearly 200 Boy Scouts have a summer camp experience. And then I think about all the merit badges earned at camp.
        When I was a Boy Scout, Troop 68 attended our council’s camp, Parker Scout Reservation, located near Merrifield, Minnesota. Parker was closed as a summer camp in the late 1970′s so when the newly formed troop began attending summer again in 1981 we had no choice but to go out of council. We began with Crow Wing Scout Camp. We also attended Tomahawk Scout Camp and Many Point Scout Camp during that decade.
        I really liked Crow Wing myself, but the council that owned it closed it, sold the land, and created a new camp closer to their council. Tomahawk was okay but it was located several hours away from Melrose. Many Point has been our troop’s home since the early 1990′s.
        Troop 68 has only eight Boy Scouts at the moment. Two will be attending Philmont Scout Ranch while four will be at summer camp. It is different going to camp with such a small group. It was not that long ago when Troop 68 would send over twenty Scouts to Many Point. I guess it should be more relaxing in camp for Eymard and myself this year.
        While I am sitting in my favorite lawn chair in the screen porch in our campsite this year, I hope to write a few more blog entries. I may even take the video camera along and film a couple more podcasts for the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast.
        But then again, maybe I will take a cue from Eymard and just kick back and relax at camp this year. It should not be too difficult with only four boys to keep track of.
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          Here is a bit of a treat for you. I dug into the video vaults of Troop 68 and pulled out this little gem. Frisbee Follies, A Summer Camp Adventure was one of the first videos made by the Scouts of Troop 68. The Scouts made it during their week-long stay at Many Point Scout Camp in 1988. It was filmed with a vhs video camera almost twenty years ago, thus it is grainier then new digital footage would be.

          The footage was filmed during two afternoons. The Scouts and I made up a rough outline of the plot (of which I admit there is not much of one), grabbed the camera and started shooting. It was pretty much filmed in order, and many scenes were sort-of made up as we filmed them. I was the director, cameraman, and editor. I learned a few things while putting this video together, like music in the background of a couple shots would have been nice.

          The basic plot was to see how we could eliminate the frisbee players one by one through various mishaps as they chased a frisbee across the camp. I will admit that a couple eliminations where a bit on the weak side, some of the chase scenes are a bit dull, but a few shots turned out better then we could have ever hoped for. My favorites are the monkey bridge and the tether ball mishaps. Just to let you know, no Scouts were harmed during the filming of this project. It just looks that way. If fact, when we saw the footage ourselves the first time, we were amazed that no one was hurt.

          I hope you enjoy this first attempt at producing a short film. We did it for ourselves, but we also played it on our local television cable access channel. Let me know what you think about it. Have my videos gotten worse, or better? You be the judge.

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          Watch Video on the troop’s website.
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            Some of the best things about attending summer camp are the campfire programs at the beginning and the end of the week. The 2007 staff of Buckskin Camp of Many Point Scout Camp did an excellent job of keeping everyone entertained during this summer’s opening campfire program. Due to a rain storm that happened to wonder into camp that evening, we had to have the program in the dining hall. The location did not damper the spirit of any of the Scouts, leaders, or staff. Everyone had a great time.

            This video of the Melrose Scouting Production Podcast features the Buckskin Staff singing a song about Scouting as the campfire program came to a close. I do not know what the song is titled, but it is a great song that includes the twelve points of the Scout Law. It is a catchy little tune and I find myself humming it while I write this blog entry. Enjoy it and tell your friends about this podcast.

            Download Video Podcast
            Watch Video on the troop’s website.
            Subscribe through iTunes.

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              Parker Scout Reservation is the name of our council’s camp. It is located north of Brainard in central Minnesota. It was the council’s summer camp until the late 1970′s when the council ran into financial difficulties. It is now used mainly for training sessions, Boy Scout weekends, and Cub Day activities.

              I attended summer camp at Parker three times during the years that I was a Boy Scout of Troop 68 in the mid 1970′s. I have many fond memories of those week-long camps. We ate in the dining hall and always had to sing a song or two before the evening meal would begin. The Friday night campfire programs were great fun and actually gave me a start in performing during campfire programs, something that has carried on through my time as a scoutmaster. I remember earning the pioneering merit badge and having so much fun that I really did not realize I was earning a badge.

              I believe the camp closed down in the summer of 1978. In 1980 or 1981 a motorcycle gang tore through the seldom used camp and did major damage to the dining hall and beach area. Many of the windows in the dining hall were broken, and most items inside the hall were damaged or destroyed. Glass bottles were broken and thrown along the beach making it unsafe to use. I arrived for a training weekend shortly after the damage was done and was extremely saddened to see the vandalism done to this place of so many of my Scouting memories.

              The was a bright spot to be found after all this vandalizing. The council began to once again invest money into the camp and begin making improvements. When the council began it’s fall popcorn fundraisers it promised to invest the council profits from the sale into the camp.

              A lot of camp improvements have been make during the past two decades. The dining hall and been improved and expanded. The kitchen has been modernized. A new freezer and food storage building has been built next to the hall. A large picnic shelter and barbecue grille shelter have been constructed. New shelters have been built at the rifle and archery ranges. Many of the camp buildings have been remodeled and winterized. A logging company has gone through the camp during the last two years and removed thousands of old growth trees thus reducing the risk of wild fires while adding addition funds for future camp improvements.

              The are major projects planned for the next few years. The rifle range and the Order of the Arrow ceremony sites will be moved to another part of camp. This will make room for a new castle-shaped building to be used for Cub Scout Day Camps. A few existing buildings will also be receiving makeovers to make them more usable for weekend functions.

              Will Parker even again be used as a summer camp? I doubt it. I think it is actually used more now then it ever was during its years as a summer camp. It will be interesting to see what the next decade or two has in store for this camp that was once know as Camp Clyde.

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                Here are a few pictures from summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp.

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