Archive for the ‘summer camp’ Category


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 webmaster@melrosetroop68.org. 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 http://feeds.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
    Check out other Scouting podcasts at PTC Media.

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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 webmaster@melrosetroop68.org. 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 throughiTunes.
      or at http://feeds.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
      Check out the other Scouting podcasts at PTC Media.

      Thanks for Sharing!

        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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          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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