Archive for the ‘thankful’ Category


It was a nice warm Saturday morning at the state-wide Ripley Rendezvous last weekend. The sun was shining, There was a nice breeze. It was turning out to be a great day for this Scouting event. Little did we realize that nature had a little surprise in store for us.

There were three program areas for the Boy Scouts. Two of them were for the boys thirteen and older. Those Scouts went to the northern parts of the Camp Ripley National Guard Base to participate in shooting sports, an obstacle course, and other activities. The 11 and 12 year old Boy Scouts stayed near our campsites and toured the 60 stations in the Action Program. I had one Scout who was in the Action Program so I decided to stay in camp to be with him. A neighboring troop also had one Scout that age and asked if he could join us for the day. Of course he could.

The morning stations went without a problem. The boys and I picked up our bag lunches and headed back to our campsite to join Eymard, my assistant scoutmaster. The skies were still clear, but the temperature was getting hot and the wind had picked up. The four of us sat around the table under our 10′x10′ dining fly. We had to hold on to our potato chip bags to keep them from blowing away.

Our campsite was about 50 yards or so from the gravel road. (The campsites were located to the east of this road.) The four of us had almost finished lunch when we spotted a dust devil spinning on the gravel road collecting dust and lose sand. As we watched it began to move in our direction, growing in size, and gaining strength.

Within seconds, this dust devil had grown to nearly 30 feet or more in diameter. Our campsite was hit dead center. It was like being caught in a very small tornado. The mini-twister lifted our staked-to-the-ground dining fly off the ground and threw it 30 feet to land on top of one of the boy’s tents. A tent pole snapped, the tent went down, and the dining fly rolled a little further.

Each of the troops to the north and east of us were using 10′ x 20′ ‘carports’ as their dining flies. The mini-twister picked up the carport to the north of us and dropped it upside down onto the side of our two-room leader’s tent. One of the poles from that carport glanced of my back as the boys and I were ducking for cover. The carport in the camp to the east of us was also picked up and moved from its spot.

Within 10 or 15 seconds the whole thing was over. Boy Scouts from nearby campsites came running over to see if everyone was alright and to help us clean up the mess. None of us were hurt but there was damage to the equipment. Our dining fly was laying on its side, about 40 feet from were it had been. It’s frame was twisted. Some of the joints had been broken. We were able to set it back up but it is a piece that will need to be replaced.

The boy’s tent that was hit was laying on the ground due to the broken poles. The tent fly was also ripped. We used a branch and duct tape to create a splint to hold the poles together so the boys could still use it one more night. We will cannibalize the tent for parts needed in the future.

Our adult leader’s tent was leaning to one side. It was standing, but the poles had been bowed when the carport had hit it. A hole had been ripped into the back wall, near the floor. The troop had recently purchased a new tent to replace this nearly twenty year old shelter. I was glad I had not taken the new tent along on this outing. The old tent will now be “put out to pasture.”

The dining fly/carport of the camp to our north had to be completely taken apart. At least four of the heavy metal poles had been bent. Luckily, the troop had another set of poles along with them. The carport to the east of us did not seem to be damaged. It did not take long for the troop to set it up again once they arrived back in camp after their activities.

Later that afternoon we saw a couple other tents in other campsites that had also been damaged in the brief strong winds. Another scoutmaster told me their dining fly had also been knocked down. There were no injuries reported.

It was quite an experience being caught in the middle of a mini-twister. Thankfully we were able to laugh about it. I told the two Boy Scouts that were in our campsite that they now had a story to tell their grandchildren. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures. I did not even think about the camera until we had things cleanup and back in order.

The picture above shows our campsite and the two neighboring camp’s carports before the mini-twister. The pictures below show a couple of damaged tents from other campsites. Clicking on the pictures will bring up a larger photo.

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    As a scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68, I have seen seventeen young men earn the Boy Scouts of America’s highest award, the rank of Eagle Scout. During most of the Eagle courts of honor, the new Eagle Scout will at some point stand up before the audience of friends and family and talk about his time in Scouting, and thank those who have helped him get to this point of his life.

    Troop 68′s latest Eagle Scout is Mike Schwieters. Mike finished his Eagle award with only days to spare before his eighteenth birthday. Mike was an active member of the troop throughout his teen years, and still volunteers to help the troop if we need it when he is home from school. He is now in his second year of college and remains a good friend.

    As Mike’s Eagle court of honor came to its closing, Mike stepped forward to say a few words to those who gathered for his special day. His speech was full of memories and some humor, but it also hit a few points that were good for the younger Scouts to hear. He spoke about how to treat others in the troop, and to take the challenge and earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

    Mike’s Eagle court of honor was held last May, and ever since then I have wanted to post the video of his closing comments. He stopped by for a visit this weekend so I asked him if he minded if I would post the video to this podcast. He did not mind, so here it is for you to view. I hope you and your sons and Scouts enjoy it and take as much away from it as the members of our troop did.

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    You are invited to leave a comment using the link below, at the iTunes Music Store, or at the PTC Media forums. Drop me an email at webmaster@melrosetroop68.org. It is great to hear what you think about these podcast videos.

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      I sit here after a great Thanksgiving dinner with my family. My belly is full, I am getting tired, and it is time to think about what I am thankful for. (Other then a full belly, which is a very good reason to be thankful.)

      I am thankful for the boys who are a part of the Scout troop, and Scouting everywhere. They constantly remind me that we all need to keep a little of the youngster in us at all times, no matter how old we get. We need to remember how to have fun and live carefree, and how to use our imaginations to make this world a little better place.

      I am thankful for my eighty year old assistant scoutmaster who still plans to go to summer camp next year. He may have gotten a little slower as the years go by, but he has no plans to stop Scouting anytime soon. He is great with the boys and the boys respect him, as do I. I am also thankful for my troop committee and the work they do each month to keep the troop going forward.

      I am thankful for those few parents who can be counted on to help out when the help is needed. Without them I would have stepped down from being a scoutmaster a long time ago.

      I am thankful for local newspapers who support Scouting and are willing to print the articles I give them about troop functions. I am thankful for two local television stations that look forward to airing the video shows produced by the troop. Through the newspapers and the stations we are able to keep Scouting in the public eye.

      I am thankful for a district executive that is dedicated to the program and goes the extra mile to help a troop and pack. He puts in some long hours and many miles traveling around the council. Although we may not always see eye to eye, I know he always strives to do his best.

      I am thankful for a new national executive who seems to be willing to look at making changes to the program while maintaining the traditions of Scouting. It is good to see some new work being done through the internet to reach Scouting age boys.

      I am thankful for the friends I have made through Scouting over the years. Many of the Scouts have stayed in touch after they have entered college and started there own families. Those continuing friendships mean a lot to me.

      I am thankful for my family who have understood the reasoning when I miss the occasionally family gathering in order to attend a Boy Scout function. They have seldom complained about it, although I think they sometimes wonder about my sanity.

      As the Thanksgiving holiday comes to a close and another holiday season begins, what do you find yourself thank for?

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        Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us. The end of the year is on the horizon. What do I as a Scout Leader have to be thankful for? Hmmm. Let’s see.

        I am thankful for a community that has supported the Scout program for the last 27 years.

        I am thankful for living in Minnesota with its 10,000 lakes, rolling hills, forests, and campgrounds. Minnesota truly is a Scouting paradise.

        I am thankful for the opportunity to take part in five treks at Philmont Scout Ranch, a canoe trip to the BWCA, the 2001 National Jamboree as the scoutmaster of Troop 1417, nineteen week-long summer camps, and hundreds of weekend activities.

        I am thankful for my employers who have recognized the importance of Scouting in the community, and providing the flexibility that allowed me to attend troop activities and high adventure bases.

        I am thankful for the good and caring committee members and parents that have helped through the years, and for an assistant scoutmaster who has been a member of the team for nearly twenty years.

        I am thankful for a supportive and helpful council and district staff, and a committed district executive. I am also thankful for the good friends and mentors I have met through Scouting.

        I am thankful for the hundreds of enthusiastic boys that have been a part of my Scouting experience through the years. They are the ones that create the atmosphere that keeps me involved with Scouting.

        I am thankful for the opportunity to assist sixteen boys on attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, the BSA’s highest award.

        I am thankful for the good health that has allowed me to be a part of Scouting for 29 years. (Three years as a Boy Scout and 26 years as an adult leader.)

        I am thankful for Lord Baden-Powell and William Boyce for providing and developing a program that has helped millions of boys and young men develop leadership skills and values that they have used throughout their adult lives.

        I am thankful to the Almighty Lord God for giving me the skills and patience needed to work with teenage boys over the past three decades.

        Now, what do you have to be thankful for? Add a comment and let us know about it.

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