Archive for the ‘Eagle’ Category

roundtable_4350Once a year the roundtable staff of the Central Minnesota Council,  Scenic District, invites the Eagle Board chairman, the district advancement chairman, and other key people to attend a meeting to discuss Eagle Scout projects, workbooks, and board of reviews. Boy Scouts are invited to attend and encouraged to ask questions.

When this meeting was held in the fall of 2014 we were surprised with once of the best attendances for a roundtable that we have had in many years. We had to set up more chairs and almost remove tables to create enough seating. I would guess that maybe 12 to 15 Boy Scouts came to the meeting with their parents or troop leaders. We were very pleased with the turnout and many questions were answered.

As the room was being set up for this year’s Eagle meeting, which was held Tuesday night, only two tables were set up at the front of the room for the Eagle speakers, and a few tables were left set up in the back. We were hoping for a turnout as good as last year’s, maybe even better.

As the clock approached the 7:00 starting time we realized more chairs would be needed then were set up. Boy Scouts, parents, committee members and troop leaders filled the room. It was a good thing the tables had been removed. I counted thirty Boy Scouts in attendance. I think that could be a new record.

The meeting went very well. The three member panel talked about what they expect from the Scouts, what the Eagle Scout process includes, and the common mistakes to avoid. A lot of questions were asked by the adult leadership and the Scouts. Everyone seemed to be pleased as the meeting came to an end.

I was expecting a decent turnout so I thought it might be nice to have a door prize for the Boy Scouts who came to the session. I had grabbed a 1965 Boy Scout handbook from my collection to use for the drawing. Near the halfway point of the meeting we drew a winning name from my cap. The Boy Scout who won was grinning widely as he came forward to collect the handbook. He seemed quite pleased to be able to add it to his collection, or maybe it was the start of his collection.

I noticed several young Boy Scouts mixed in the crowd so toward the end of the meeting I asked for a show of hands of the the Life Scouts in the room. Most of the boys raised their hand. I asked the Star Scouts to raise they hand. Several hands went up but I noticed a few still had not lifted theirs. When I asked for the First Class Scouts to raise their hands the last four or five Scouts were recognized. I could not help myself. I commended these young men for thinking ahead as they plan to reach their goal of attaining Boy Scouting highest rank.


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    alexeagleOn Sunday, May 4th, there was a court of honor held for Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68’s newest Eagle Scout. Alex is the 22nd Scout to attain this honor since I began serving as an adult leader of troop in 1980.As far as I know, there was only one Eagle Scout in Melrose before 1980, thus Alex would be the troop’s 23rd Eagle Scout, historically.

    Twenty Boy Scouts earned the rank of Eagle Scout while I was the scoutmaster of Troop 68. The last two, Thomas and Alex, were Boy Scouts during my last years in that role. It is great to see them continue the advancement trail and received Scouting’s highest higher. In another two or three years I hope to see the first Eagle Scouts of Troop 68 who joined Scouting after I retired as the scoutmaster. That will fell a little different but no less important.

    Alex asked me to serve as the master of ceremonies for his court of honor. This was the first time I have ever served in the role for such an event. As the scoutmaster I would usually get a chance to speak about the Eagle Scout and his accomplishments during the ceremony. I presented the Eagle Scout rank at several of them or was asked to serve in some other role, but I was never a master of ceremonies. And you know something, that was fine with me.

    This court of honor was going to be a slightly different experience, but I was looking forward to it. One of the duties, of course, was to introduce the guest speakers and presenters. There was also a spot on the program for me to talk about Alex and his Scouting accomplishments, so that part of things has not changed.

    As I have for the last twelve Eagle Scouts, I presented a video featuring pictures of the Eagle Scout’s years in the troop along with some family pictures. Alex picked out the music himself, and brought along a few pictures he wanted to include in the video. I also snuck in one or two that he did not know about until he saw the video during the court of honor. This video will be posted to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast later this year.

    I also video recorded the ceremony. I will edit it and burn it to dvd as I have for nearly all of the Troop 68 Eagle Scouts. The dvd is a great way to remember this important moment in the Scout’s life. His parents will also receive a copy.

    Alex’s Eagle Scout court of honor went very well. A lot of people were in attendance. There were good guest speakers, and four previous Troop 68 Eagle Scouts attended and took part in the ceremony. I think the younger Scouts were quite impressed with the whole ceremony, as were many of the family members and guests. I had a good time being the MC, and I was told a did a good job. I do believe I talked to much at one point but you know, I could have talked for much longer. Alex is a good Eagle Scout. There is always a lot to say about good Eagle Scouts.

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      EagleScoutThomasSHas it really been five months since I last posted a video to the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast? I guess so. Time to get busy with that once again. After all, I do have a few more videos to share with you.

      This video is a slideshow of the Scouting life of Eagle Scout Thomas Schwinghamer. Thomas became an Eagle Scout early last year and held his court of honor outdoors in the spring. Unfortunately, this video was not a part of the court of honor since it was an outdoor ceremony, but I did include it on the DVD of the event. Just in case you are wondering, the song used is Faith Of The Heart by Russell Watson.

      The video can also be found on his Eagle Scout page on the troop’s website. Thomas was a member of two troops as a Scout, finishing his Eagle Rank while a member of Melrose Troop 68. Thomas in now in college but still helps with troop activities a few times a year.

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        Let’s face it. Many Boy Scouts would not become an Eagle Scout without their parent’s support, especially their mother’s support. She probably learns as much, if not more, than the young man does on his road to Scouting’s highest award. Maybe that is the reason mothers receive a pin each time their son receives a Scouting rank. Just a little recognition, you know.

        Thanks to Bryan, over at the Bryan On Scouting blog, I was introduced to a humorous and emotional video which salutes mothers for “putting up with” and helping out all those Boy Scout who have earned their Eagle Rank. Eagle Scout mothers – We salute you!

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          Eagle Scout board of reviewI would be willing to bet that most young men who go before their council Eagle board of review are a little nervous. I know that many of the Boy Scout from Melrose Troop 68 were when it was their turn. Adult members of the board have told me that some Scouts are very nervous. I can understand this. For many of these young men this may be the most important interview of their lives, up to this point.

          Alex E. is the latest member of Boy Scout Troop 68 to go before the Eagle board.He turned in his paperwork last month (December). He is 16 years old, which is young when you consider that many Eagle Scout candidates have their review within a couple months of having their 18th birthday. It is even more impressive when you realize that Alex joined Scouting when he was 13 years old. He has gone from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout in less than three years.

          I went to Alex’s review representing his scoutmaster, since his dad is the troop’s scoutmaster. Dakota represented our committee. Alex did not seem nervous as we waited in the lobby. He was very confident during his review and was quick to answer their questions. The three council board members were impressed.

          As is normal, the board asked him to leave the room after the questioning so they could discuss his performance. They asked Dakota and myself a few questions about his leadership and character within the troop. It was then time for the vote. It was unanimous! Alex had passed his Eagle Scout board of review.

          The board decided to have a little fun with the new Eagle Scout when they called him and his parents back into the room. One of the board members had a length of rope in his briefcase. He laid it on the table in front of where Alex was sitting. They wanted to see if the rope would make Alex nervous. After all, many Boy Scouts have a challenging time learning knots to pass their rank requirements.

          Alex and his parents were invited into the room and asked to be seated. Alex sat in the same chair, with the rope on the table before him. His parents sat one on each side of him. Dakota and I sat in the second row of chairs.

          Alex seemed to ignore the rope as the board chairman began to speak. Finally, one of the other board members asked Alex to tie a knot. Alex immediately grabbed the rope and asked, “Which one?” I knew that Alex knew his basic knots fairly well so before the board member could answer I suggested the sheepshank. (Remember that knot from the movie Follow Me Boys?) Alex proceeded to tie the knot, held it up for inspection, and set the rope back on the table. The board was even more impressed, and so was I.

          After the review, as we were putting on our coats in the lobby, I told Alex that he did very well. I asked him if he had been nervous. His reply? No. He stated that he had studied for the board of review and felt confident.

          The moral of the story? Live the Scout Motto. Be Prepared!

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            Eagle Scout WallMelrose Boy Scout Troop 68 does not have a building or a room to call its home, so my basement family room is the place I have created a “Scout Room”. It contains collections of Scouting coffee mugs, awards, and other stuff. The troop holds its patrol leader council meetings, committee meetings, and some training meetings there.

            Photos of Troop 68 Eagle Scouts hang on the west wall. There was always a couple Scouts missing because I did not have a good picture to post on the wall. This morning I decided I needed to have photos of everyone, whether they were an actual Eagle picture or not. I searched through my photo collection and picked the best pictures of those missing Scouts, printed them, and placed them into frames.

            The wall is now complete. All 21 of the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 who have earned the rank of Eagle Scout now have a place on the wall. There is even room for one more. Could that spot be filled by the Boy Scout who has an Eagle board of review on Tuesday?

            By the way, do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of a wall of framed glass photos and not get a reflection?

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              lasteaglescoutOne of Boy Scout Troop 68’s Eagle Scouts stopped by Sunday afternoon to watch a new movie I had recently received in the mail. Both of us had been waiting for “The Last Eagle Scout” to be released since we had read about it on Facebook a couple years ago. Here is the synopsis from the movie’s website:

              In the not-so-distant future, society has allowed political correctness to go beyond the point of the absurd. For years the Boy Scouts have been under the government microscope and finally have been mandated to close their doors for good. Boy Scout, Cliff Elliot, stirs the pot as he tries to cling to the last shreds of patriotism and earn his Eagle Scout Award. In this ‘dramedy’, watch as Cliff jumps through ridiculous hoops, avoids the bumbling antics of government cronies, and tries to escape murderous plots against him, as he sets out to accomplish what he sees as the ultimate honor—becoming the Last Eagle Scout.

              As we sat down with our pizza, popcorn, and soda Dakota and I understood that this was an independent made film, not a major studio financed super blockbuster. We had both seen the trailer which looked interesting and promising. We hoped that it would be a decent and fun film.

              By the time the end credits rolled across the scene Dakota and I both agreed that we enjoyed the movie. The plot may have been simple but the film moved along at a nice pace and kept our interest. A few of the special effects may not have had the polish of a high budget Hollywood film but the acting was good and the action sequences were fun.

              The movie is described as a dramedy in the description above, but I felt it played a bit more toward the drama side. There were a couple scenes that gave me a good chuckle though. Cliff, the hopeful Eagle Scout, decides to go against a government ban of flying the US flag on public property and in teenage fashion may not have though about the repercussions before doing the deed. The slow moving chase scene was another part I found humorous. I also enjoyed the homemade “iWatch” used by the Scouts in the movie.

              One thing Dakota did not like was that for a lot of the movie Cliff was not wearing his uniform properly. It did not bother me because Cliff was on the run for nearly half the film. Keeping your shirt tucked in would be a low priority when you are running from government stooges.

              Dakota and I both felt the “political correctness run amok” theme was a bit frightening. To tell the truth, we felt the tone set at the beginning of the film may not be that far in our future if this country continues on its current course. Can you imagine a United States of America government that decides to shut down the Boy Scouts of America?

              Like I stated earlier, Dakota and I both enjoyed The Last Eagle Scout and give it a thumbs up. I consider it a solid addition to my Scouting-themed movie collection. Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it?

              The trailer for the movie can be scene at:

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                MikeL30(The following article was written by Mike Linnemann, an alumni of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. Mike was a member of the troop from 1997 to 2003. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout. It is the fifth of a series of guest articles written by former members of Troop 68.)

                Scouting: An Investment of Character
                By Mike Linnemann

                I’m an Eagle Scout and my Scouting experience, like my present tense designation, has not ceased.
                Spending over six years as a teenager was nothing short of transformative during those tumultuous hormonally unbalanced years. I look back at my experience as a Boy Scout not as one of developing skills from merit badges, learning synonyms to describe myself from the Scout Law and living up to a higher ideal. I think of my time as learning experiences in innovative thinking.

                At the time, I went through my advancement like most boys. Upon achieving one rank, the next would fall in line. Not unlike a job progression in a career, a linear path was always laid out before me. While along this journey, a seminal moment made me pause.

                Upon reaching the rank of Eagle Scout, I briefly examined how this feat affected my future. While doing so, it felt like a moment. Looking back, I stopped my advancement as soon as I realized. I earned zero palms and only a few mere more merit badges with my remaining two years. I sacrificed my drive to understand the greater situation. I think similar aspects happen when apprentices, students really, achieve most milestones. I thought of my individual experiences while in my troop very rarely. I was in varsity school sports and one goal turned into another. New paths always came from another’s end. At that time, aged sixteen, I had been in the troop for five years and many of my friends had left the troop and I finally became aware of it.

                Upon arriving as an eleven year old, I came into my troop with two patrols. Half of my friends were in each Cub Scout den. We decided to keep the dens as patrols. Due to the division, my friends slowly trickled off, along with most of the other members to pursue academic interests or the other short list of rural activities that boys partake in. At age sixteen, finally, I was able to look objectively at our issue. Were we to separate the haves from the have-nots and could I have accepted seeing six to eight people quit immediately? I was aware of the odds at the time. It was a visceral feeling that I knew would benefit me greatly on a personal level, but I would actively be sacrificing others. Advice from other scouts told me what was inevitable, that many would quit before reaching their full Scouting tenure. We made the right choice and I wouldn’t change it.

                These aspects of brotherhood aren’t shown, nor discussed openly. My troop and community taught us life’s rules but also showed how to bend and change that which can negatively affect our lives to benefit the greater community.

                While writing this, it’s eye opening to see how much we impacted our local community. I saw “our,” because an individual can only do so much. That is, until I met our gay Scout.

                In fact, he is an Eagle Scout and wasn’t “out” at the time. He was a shining example of what a teenage citizen means and my community rallied around that ideal. He stood out and we knew it. I thought nothing of it at the time but now, I utilize my troop and community’s reaction to this one Scout. The Boy Scouts very recently voted to include gay scouts, relenting on such stringent admission standards for mere boys who just want to be part of something greater than themselves. We all knew of him and it didn’t matter. Looking back, this only illuminates how important troops were to development of model citizens, beacons of good in a community. In our troop, we bent the rules to accommodate.

                That’s what I learned from Scouting. Do the right thing, despite what the odds or the negative reactions will invariably be.

                Doing the right thing is a part of being prepared, our own Scout motto. There are ideals greater than you or I, or even humanity itself. Our religious basis shuns the self and prepares us for humble lifelong service. Only Eagle Scouts place their honor on their resume but the relevant past that binds Scouts together, whether they reach the pinnacle or mere tenderfoots is real. That stickiness of Scouting usually leaves members if they leave a community, but the character building is with us always.

                These minor incidents of compromise, inclusiveness and respectfulness are footnotes in our lives. We think to them when issues arise and I’m happy to think that my foundation is solid. It’s hard to describe to a parent why Scouting builds character and how the intangible parts of Scouting far outweigh any cost.

                In short, Scouting is an investment of character and my community invested well.

                Mike is an art director in Minneapolis, married and living with his three dachshunds.

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