Archive for the ‘Memorabilia’ Category


2013-11-26 patch blanketIt is hard to believe that it is nearly three years since I first seriously began thinking of taking thirty years of patches from various Scouting events and sewing them on a blanket like so many Scouters have done. In the summer of 2012 I laid out one of my Scouting blankets on my ping pong table and started placing patches to see how it would look, and play around with an arrangement. After six months I came to the conclusion the patches were not going to sew themselves so in January of this year I began sewing patches.

After the first row was sewn, the blanket laid untouched for a few months. I do not like to sew. Finally, the second row was complete. By the time I was working on the third row I discovered I had a hard time keeping the patches straight and that the blanket was starting to bunch up a bit. I tried an experiment when I began the fourth row. I had a bottle of Fabri-Tac so I tried spot glueing the patches into place to try to keep them straight. It worked, very well in fact. I decided to try using only glue on a few patches to see if they would stay without sewing. They did. Sewing was now done. The rest of the patches would be glued into place.

Last Sunday I finished the last three rows on the blanket. It took me nearly 11 months from when I first grabbed a needle and thread. If the Fabri-Tac had not worked well I would bet the blanket would not be even one third of the way completed today. I was able to glue 4 patches in the same time I was able to sew one patch. I just had to be careful. I only had one chance to place a patch properly when I glued it.

There one hundred forty two patches in twelve rows on the blanket, including the segment patches from summer camp. For the bottom half I used a straight edge to keep the patches in line. The first patch is from a 1980 council camporee. The last patches were from the 1996 summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp. Patches from Wood Badge, Philmont Scout Ranch, and awards earned at the summer camp rifle range are included. In the middle of the blanket I placed an assistant scoutmaster and a scoutmaster patch to represent those troop positions I held during those 16 years. A roundtable commissioner patch can be found along the left edge. Order of the Arrow conclave patches and one from the 1995 B.S.A National Meeting complete the blanket.

The only thing left is to find a way to display the blanket when it is part of Scouting displays set up around town. The best thing I have found online so far is an expandable garment rack. I am open for suggestions if you have any.

If you click on the picture a larger version will appear. Which one is your favorite patch? Do you see the one from America’s Funniest Home Videos? How does this blanket compare to your patch blanket? Send me a picture and I may post a future article featuring your blankets.

Now it is time to consider starting work on the second blanket….

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    Patch BlanketI do not know about you, but I hate sewing. Maybe one reason for that is I am not very good at it. And it takes too long. And I keep sticking myself with the needle. That is why when I decided to take the Scouting patches I have collected over the last 33 years and start sewing them onto blankets (yes, that is plural) I knew it was going to be a challenging task to accomplish.

    Well, I have two rows of patches sewn to the first blanket. They cover the years 1980 through 1984. I have discovered that sewing gets tougher when you start moving further into the center of the blanket. Also, I am having trouble keeping the patches straight. They seem to move on me when I am not paying attention. Grrrrr. When it came time to start the third row I decided to try a few spots of Fabri-Tac permanent adhesive to hold them in the proper place while I sewed them. It worked very well, but I was still sticking my fingers.

    I finally decided to try completely glueing a patch into place. Actually, it was three little ones, quality unity patches. After an hour I checked them. The glue was holding very well. I tugged on the four previous spot glued patches and the glue was holding the patches to the blanket very well. I decided to glue four pocket patches along the border.

    Wow, what a time saver. I am able to position and glue ten or more patches in the time it would take me to sew one patch. Of course, they will be stuck permanently to the blanket, but I really have no intention of ever removing them. I have only one chance to position them properly or I will end up with a mess.

    The goal was to have at least one blanket done to use in the displays we set up around town during Boy Scout anniversary week in February. If I glue them, I may have both blankets done in time for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday. Actually, I could probably have the first blanket done by this weekend which would be great because the troop’s overnighter will be held at my place, and I will need the ping pong table open so the Scouts can have their their table tennis tournament.

    I will wait another hour or two before making a final decision, but I have a feeling the rest of the patches will be glued. Of course, I would not use the Fabri-Tac for glueing patches to a shirt. Sewing or Badge Magic is still best for that type of use.

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      Roundtable StaffLast Tuesday was my second meeting as a member of the roundtable staff once again. I have to admit, I am having fun. And I think the Scouters who have been attending have discovered my method of roundtable training is a bit different then other peoples’ methods. I do not like to just stand there and talk. I like to move around, change up my voice tone, and even get everyone up on the feet to do things. I think the roundtable commissioner likes what I have brought to the table. At least I hope he has. Here is a review of things we both covered at this month’s Scenic District roundtable.

      This year we start our roundtables with a two part opening, one part patriotic and one part Scouting related, and we plan to change it up for each monthly meeting. For this month we began with the American Creed and the Scout Law.

      We would usually go into skill development next but since it gets dark early this time of year we switched things up and went outside for our game. Yes, you read that correctly. We played a game. The goal is to introduce troop leaders to possibly new games they can bring back to their troop to play. This month’s game was Tip, played with a frisbee. The two teams tossed the disc to each other. Team members would try to “tip” the disc to other team members and then have someone catch it. The team scores one point for each successful tip, but only if the disc is caught at the end of the tipping. The Scouters had a blast playing the game and really got into it. I believe a few grass stains may have been taken home.

      Back inside the meeting room, Al and I conducted a brief uniform inspection and talked about the uniform being one of the methods of the Scout program. I opened a discussion of this month’s Jamboree On The Air and the Jamboree On The Internet. Many of the Scouters had not heard of these events. Al lead a discussion about the duties of a troop’s junior leaders.

      Before the meeting I had set up a table display of my patch collections, including OA lodge patches, council shoulder patches, and patches from the 2001 National Jamboree. I also had several old Scouting themed books set out to view. We talked about the fun of patch trading, who trades with who, and about B.S.A. policy regarding trading.

      Al finished the day’s skill development by discussing how to plan a troop meeting, or I should say, how the troop’s junior leaders should plan a troop meeting. A few Scouters were eager to share their thoughts on this subject. We closed the roundtable with Scout Vespers.

      After the meeting, I caught up with a Scouter who is a fairly new scoutmaster and asked him if he had been finding this year’s meetings helpful. He said that he has been learning quite a bit and is discovering good ideas to bring back home to his troop. I walked to my car with a grin on my face. I guess Al and I are doing a good job so far.

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        2001 National Jamboree Flag, Troop 1417I was the scoutmaster for one of two troops the Central Minnesota Council sent to the 2001 National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. I had three wonderful assistant scoutmasters, a fantastic group of youth leaders, and a great group of Boy Scouts in Troop 1417. At the reunion gathering held a month after the Jamboree I told the parents that I never want to be a scoutmaster for another Jamboree troop again, because this troop set the bar so high and behaved so well that I felt I would never again get another batch of Scouts like this. Troop 1417 was nearly a perfect Boy Scout troop.

        Scoutmaster Mike of Jamboree Troop 1418 and I received quite a surprise during that reunion gathering. The chairperson of the Jamboree committee came forward to speak to the Boy Scouts and their parents about the Jamboree experience, and to present Mike and I with a couple tokens of appreciation. The first was a nice looking plaque which now hangs on my wall with other Scouting honors. The other was the troop’s flag used for the Jamboree.

        Mike and I both glanced at each other when we were presented with the flags. I do not know if he expected it, but I did not. My first thought was “What am I going to do with this? It is huge!”  I thought it would be better to display it at the council office, or in the ceiling rafters of the Scout Shop. I have no place to hang something like this.

        Twelve years have now passed since that reunion. To tell the truth, even though the flag is nicely folded in the tote that stores my Jamboree stuff, it is now probably my most prized part of the collection. After all, it is a one of a kind item. There is only one flag for Troop 1417 from the 2001 National Jamboree.

        But you know what really adds value to this flag, at least in my eyes? Nearly every member of Troop 1417 signed their name along the white border on the right edge of the flag. I only have two items in my collection that are signed by the Scouts and troop leadership, the troop tee shirt (mentioned in a previous article) and the troop’s flag. They are very special.

        My question is this. Is it a tradition in your council for Jamboree troop members to sign the troop flag and present it to the scoutmasters of the troop?

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          2001 Jamboree Tee ShirtWhen Troops 1417 and 1418 from the Central Minnesota Council attended the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in 2001 we traveled to Virginia and back by chartered bus. Each troop had it own bus, but the busses stayed together. As the scoutmaster of Troop 1417 I enjoyed the three day journey to Virginia because it gave the troop’s members a chance to get to know each other a little better before we arrived at Fort A.P. Hill for the big event.

          On the way back home, after the Jambo was over, the air conditioner on our bus broke down. Even with the windows and the roof vents open it did not take long for the temperature to rise in the vehicle. It also did not take long for the Boy Scouts to remove their Jamboree tee shirts as they tried to remain cool. Luckily, the air conditioning was restored for the day day of traveling.

          Those Jamboree tee shirts became more meaningful during our last night on the road as we returned home. Someone, I do not remember who, came up with the idea to sign each others shirts, like students do with their yearbooks. The cleaner one of each person’s two tee shirts were laid out over a few tables at the place we were staying. Boy Scouts and the adult leaders moved from shirt to shirt singing their names with a permanent marker. Nearly everyone participated.

          I thought it was an excellent idea. That signed shirt had now become a more interesting souvenir of the Jamboree, and a signed one to boot. My shirt immediately became a permanent part of my Jamboree collection once I arrived home. After it was washed, of course.

          It would be fun to contact some of those former Scouts to discover if they still have those signed shirts. Did they pack them in a tote with other Jamboree memorabilia, or did they wear them until they became so thin they had to be thrown out? Maybe those young men do not even know were their tee shirts are any longer. After all,that was twelve years ago. Many have been to college during that time and a lot of them are now married with families of their own.

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            jambonewsWith this year’s Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree now a part of history, it has made me think about the 2001 Jamboree which I attended as the scoutmaster of Central Minnesota Council Troop 1417, one of two troops we sent to Fort A.P. Hill that year. I brought back several things from that event that I just had to pull out of the closet after seeing all the pictures online from this year’s extravaganza.

            As I was looking through my tote of Jamboree items, I came across some things that made me wonder if they are still printed for the current Jamboree. One highlight of each day was when the Jamboree Today newspaper arrived at the campsite. This daily paper, printed at the Jamboree, was quickly snatched up by the Boy Scouts and adult leaders. Each issue included color pictures of previous day’s activities, interviews with Scouts and leaders, and information about upcoming events and activities. We all quickly skimmed the photos to see if any of us had made it into the paper. Unfortunately, no one from my troop did, but it was still fun to read the newspaper. Many of the Boy Scouts keep their copy as a memento of the Jamboree.

            Another daily bulletin delivered to each camp was the Leader’s Update. It was a short handout for the troop leaders and camp staff featuring all sorts of things important to us, but not necessarily interesting to the youth. If there was something I thought would be of interest to the Scouts I would bring it up to the youth leaders or talk to the troop when we had assembly. I still have nine of the editions, but unfortunately I am missing a couple of them.

            So my question to those of you who attended the 2013 Jamboree, did they still print these two publications for the campers and troop leaders? Or were they found online? Or both? Did you keep your copies for a memento and add them to your Jamboree collection?

            By the way, if you click or tap on the pictures you will be able to see a larger version of the photo.

            jamboleadernews

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              jambostuffThe 2013 National Jamboree is officially over. The new Summit high adventure base has completed its first real test at handling large groups of Boy Scouts, leaders, and staff. It will be interesting during the next several weeks to see what the reports will read.  Were there problems? How will things change for the next Jamboree? What will remain the same. What will change? And the most important question, did the Scouts have a great time? I would be willing to bet that Bryan at http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org will keep us informed.

              I have been reading things online written by both leaders and Scouts who have attended this year’s big event. One thing that impressed me is that many of the council patches have really been outstanding. I wish I would have attended just to collect patches. Granted, I did collect a fair amount when I attended the 2001 National Jamboree, but I think I would have had to bring five times as many patches to trade if I would have attended this year.

              Every Jamboree has plenty of stuff to collect, not just patches. There are shirts, pants, towels, neckerchiefs, books, pamphlets, pins, rings, papers, and lots of other miscellaneous stuff. And I would guess there is more to collect now then there was 12 years ago. The picture above shows some of the “official” things I accumulated during the 2001 Jamboree, including a towel, cap, and tee shirt. I even kept a couple shopping bags for good measure.

              During the next few articles I thought I would share a few other things I saved from the jamboree, including some special items that are irreplaceable. Stay tuned. Or should I say, plugged in?

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                1947handbooksmThe Boy Scouts of America’s website states this about the the Aims of Scouting: The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America — incorporated on Feb. 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916 — is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.

                Character, citizenship, and personal fitness. Those are three outstanding goals to teach our young men. The site lists the methods, or building blocks of Scouting, as nine points: Advancement, Community Organizations and Scouting Councils, Personal Growth, Leadership, the Order of the Arrow, the Outdoors, the Patrol Method, Scouting Values, and Scouts with Special Needs. (See http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/TheBuildingBlocksofScouting.aspx )

                While the main goals of Scouting have stayed the same through the decades there have been changes in the way the B.S.A. has stated these aims and methods. I decided to pull down a couple versions of the Scoutmaster Handbook from my collection to read what they say about these subjects, and see what, if any, differences there are between then and now.

                First, let’s look back to the 1990 version of The Scoutmaster Handbook.
                The Aims of Scouting are listed on page 69. They are:
                Aim 1 – To build character.
                Aim 2 – To foster citizenship.
                Aim 3 – To develop fitness.

                The book goes on to explain character on page 70.
                It’s a “complex of mental and ethical traits”, says one dictionary. It’s “moral or ethical quality” says another. It’s qualities of honesty, courage, and integrity”, says a third. To these perfectly good descriptions we add four “self” qualities that Scouting, over the years, has been especially successful in developing in boys, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-respect. When a boy begins to develop these, he begins to develop character.

                This book says about citizenship: The wise Scoutmaster can guide his Scouts not only to love their country, but to understand it, know more about its heritage and history, encounter the democracy that knits together its many cultures into a nation that welcomes them all. And thus find joy in serving it.It is growth in your Scouts to that level of citizenship in which you, as Scoutmaster, will find your joy.

                The book says about Aim 3, developing fitness – The third aim, developing fitness, covers a broader territory, for Scouting recognizes four areas of fitness: physical, mental, emotional, and moral. I sometimes see today’s Scout leaders emphasizing the physical fitness and forgetting about the other three, which is a shame.

                That 1990 version of the handbook lists the eight (yes, eight) Methods of Scouting as: Ideals, Patrols, Outdoors, Advancement, Personal Growth, Adult Association, Leadership development, and Uniform. These were the methods I based my 30 years of scoutmastership upon. This list is a bit different then found on today’s website. I have a question for the national office. When was Adult Association dropped from the list? When did the Order of the Arrow make this list?

                I also own a 1947 printing of the Handbook For Scoutmasters. Things are written a bit differently in that version. On page 10, right at the begining of the book, it states: THE AIM OF SCOUTING.
                Scouting trains for citizenship by inculcating in the boy, from within instead of from without, the qualities of Character, Health and Strength, Handcraft and Skill, Service to Others.

                That is somewhat different than how the aims are listed today. Some of it still exists today using different language but I find it interesting that Handcraft and Skill has been dropped. I had to look up the word inculcating because I have never seen it used before. It means: Instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction.

                Also on page 10 the 1947 handbook talks about the Methods of Scouting. Scouting is game played by boys in boy gangs under boy leaders chosen by the gang, guided by a man backed by other men of the community. Scouting provides the boy with an active outdoor life, grants him recognition for mastering various skills, and gives him a chance to wear an attractive uniform. It holds before him the ideals of a true Scout, and encourages him to “help other people at all times”.

                The Scout Way – 1) A Game, not a Science.
                Patrol Method – 2) The Scout Patrol, 3) Boy Leadership
                Men In Scouting – 4) The Scoutmaster, 5) Troop committee and local Council Scouters
                Activities – 6) Adventure in the out-of-doors, 7) Scout Advancement
                Uniform – 8) The Scout Uniform
                Ideals and Service – 9) The Scout Law, 10) The Scout Oath, or Promise – Service: Good Turns.

                I love looking at the old literature and seeing how differently things were written back then. Of course, the biggest difference between Scouting in the 1940′s and today’s Scouting is that women can now serve as scoutmasters and other adult leadership positions. Back then they wrote “out-of-doors” instead of outdoors. Patrols are not called gangs in Scouting these days. I also like they way that Scouts have a chance to wear an attractive uniform. Have you seen the uniforms from the 1940′s?

                This article is not meant as rant or a statement about Scouting as it is today. It is meant to show the differences in the way Scouting language has changed through the decades. I would challenge you to find some old handbooks and read them and see for yourself the way it has changed over its 100 year history. Or is it still the same?

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