Archive for the ‘Scouting’ Category


Scouter MagazineI was working on my second patch blanket today and came up to a spot for which I needed a patch. Along the edge of the blanket I have been placing patches that do not really fit with an activity I have attended. Instead, I have been using special patches for anniversaries, special occasions, and generic type things. I needed one of these type of patches for a spot around the perimeter of the blanket.

I began to look through my notebooks and bins to find one that would be a good one for the spot. I found one that would fit well, but it also reminded me of a magazine I once subscribed to that does not exist anymore. It was a patch given to charter subscriber of Scouter Magazine, an independent publication about Scouting, written by Scouters. I really enjoyed reading this magazine. It was full of great ideas and articles written by Scout Leaders from around the country. It was not meant to replace Scouting Magazine, but was a publication for adults in Scouting to share ideas in the late 1990′s. Remember, the internet was just starting to get popular and there was not a lot about Scouting online yet.

Scouter Magazine only lasted for about five years, unfortunately. I still have my issues, which are probably collector items by now. Then again, maybe not. Most of the people who received the magazine have probably left Scouting and thrown away their issues. It would be great if someday this publication could be started again, along with an electronic version. Bring it into the 21st century. I bet they would have a lot easier time getting articles from contributors these days. But then, when you think about it, maybe blogging has taking that role. HalfEagle.com has done a good job about bringing some of the best blogs about Scouting into one easy to use format.

As I was looking online for information about Scouter Magazine this evening, the only thing I found was an open letter written in February 2001 about the closing of Scouter Magazine. (Read it at http://old.scouter.com/magazine.asp )

Oh well, the magazine may be a part of history but my patch will finally see the light of day as it goes from the notebook to the blanket. At least people who see the blanket will know that for a short while I was a charter subscriber to Scouter Magazine.

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    Near the end of this month’s Scenic District roundtable meeting I asked the Scouters if many of them had any of the digital copies of the old Boy Scout themed novels written in the early 1900′s. I had noticed that many of the Scouters owned smart phones and tablets and that they used these during meetings, so I thought it was a valid question. I do not think a hand went up in reply. That surprised me a little.

    I have collected over 50 of these old books in the open source epub digital book format. They are novels featuring the adventures of Tom Slade, Roy Blakeley, and Pee Wee Harris. You may recognize those names from the Boy’s Life magazine cartoon pages. There are stories of the Banner Boy Scouts and the members of the Eagle Patrol. All of these old novels have fallen into the public domain. I think I have more eBooks than I do actual hardbound books in my collection.

    I understand the epub eBook file works well with many current tablets, including the iPad, but does not work with the Amazon Kindle tablets. I guess Amazon would rather sell you a copy in their own format. However, I hear that there are free programs available to reformat epub files to something the Kindle can use. It is just an extra step needed to work on the Kindle.

    I asked the Scouters if they would like a digital copy of these books. Most of them said yes. This morning I got busy and started burning cd’s of the 50 Scouting novels for the next roundtable. I will bring 12 cd’s to the meeting. It will be a nice bonus for some of the Scouters who take the time to come to the roundtable. If more than one Scouter from a troop attends I am sure they would be willing to share the cd of books.

    How many of these digital novels do you own?

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      patchblanket2layoutI recently completed my first Scouting patch blanket. I have received several positive comments about it already. One Scouter even wrote to say he may start his own after seeing the pictures of mine. I say, go for it. It is a great way to display the patches collected through the years. Much better than a notebook anyway. Unfortunately, my first blanket only displays patches collected to 1996. I have a lot more patches so it is time to think about creating a second blanket.

      Today I began laying out the patches for that second blanket. The 4 foot by 4 foot piece of paneling I used to staple the patches to only went up to 2004, so I had to start looking around the house for last nine years worth of patches. You see, I did not have one nice place that I would put them after each outing. This could be interesting.

      I began looking in the closet cabinet in my basement family room. I keep a lot of Scouting stuff in there. I did find quite a few in the various small totes but I knew there was more of them. I checked my briefcase, the bedroom, the office, and the kitchen. (I did actually find a couple in the kitchen.) I soon had enough patches to make a couple more rows.

      I found a few Many Point Scout Camp patches but they did not have years shown on the design. Time to do a online search on the Many Point virtual patch collection. I discovered the years of all the patches on the site except for one. For some reason the site only shows patches to 2010. I hope that one patch is for 2012 because that is were I plan to place it.

      No one will be playing table tennis at my house for awhile. As you can see in the picture, the second blanket is laying on half the table. The patches are laid out on the other half. Last time it took me nearly a year to create a patch blanket. The goal this time is to finish the new blanket by Christmas. This year. Or at least by the end of 2013.

      I do have a question for those of you who have created your own patch blankets. Have you put your Scouting knots on your blanket?

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        FirstClassSmallThe Boy Scouts of America offers a unique youth program. It has five distinct features that other clubs and organizations do not offer today’s youth. Granted, some clubs do offer one or two of these features, but no other youth organization offers all five of them.

        What are these features that makes Scouting so special?

        Scouting is a value based program. The B.S.A. asks boys to take an oath when they join, and then live up to that oath. Scouting teaches values, promotes good citizenship, and provides good adult role models. The program is diversified. It is not the same thing every day as some youth activities can be. In fact, Scouting compliments other organizations by providing program that they may be missing.

        Developing leadership is another feature of Scouting. The boys plan their own troop program. They learn new things through hands-on experiences, not just by text book learning. They will receive the chance to be a leader by holding a position of responsibility in the troop. (Troop 68 holds elections every 6 months so many of its members will be given the chance to hold a troop or patrol office.)

        Scouting is an educational program. Through the advancement program a boy will learn many new skills. Some of these will be just for fun, but many will help him later on in life. Subjects introduced through the merit badge program may help a boy discover a new life-long hobby or even a career choice. As he earns his merit badges and ranks he is recognized in front of his parents and peers for his accomplishments. This builds self esteem and helps him to develop a sense of pride.

        Scouting encourages service to the community. An important part of Scouting is doing service for others. The Scout Slogan states that a Scout will “Do a Good Turn Daily”. Troops do countless hours of service conducting food drives, road and park cleanups, and conservation work, to name a few. By doing service a boy develops a pride in his community, a pride that will carry into adulthood.

        Scouting can be a vehicle to bring families together. Many families find scouting to be a neutral topic, one in which parents and children can participate together. It offers parents a chance to spend ‘quality time’ with their sons. And the program is already there. All you have to do is participate.

        The Scouting program does has its advantages. And families that participate in the program can attest that Scouting pays good dividends.

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          The other day I received my latest copy of Scouting Magazine. (For those of you unfamiliar with that publication, it is the B.S.A.’s official magazine for adult leaders of the Scouting program.) I have always enjoyed reading Scouting and often got a pointer or two from each issue. The cover of this latest edition caught my attention. I did not realize that it is the 100th anniversary of Scouting magazine, but the front cover announces it boldly to the whole world.

          According to the Scouting magazine website:

          How many magazines do you know that can say they’ve published for 100 years? As of April 2013, you can count Scouting magazine among them. For 100 years, we’ve published more than 900 issues — all with the same goal: serving the BSA’s adult leaders and volunteers.

          To celebrate our centennial anniversary, we’ve partnered up with the University of North Texas Digital Projects Unit to digitize every single issue of Scouting that ever rolled off the press.

          You can view the initial product from this partnership at scoutingmagazine.org/archives. Here, you’ll see scanned editions of magazines from as early as 1913 to the mid 1920s. Visitors can search these scans, zoom in to examine photographs and illustrations, and read stories that describe issues faced by early Scouters.

          http://scoutingmagazine.org/2013/02/welcome-to-the-scouting-magazine-archives/

          This got me thinking. I signed up as an assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68 in May 1980. I have been receiving Scouting Magazine ever since then, for 33 years. That means I own one third of all the Scouting Magazines ever published. Yes, that is correct. I still have them. They are stored in a closet in the basement, along with 33 years of Boy’s Life Magazine. For some reason I never threw them away. A little weird, huh?

          Congratulations to the folks at Scouting Magazine! May you have another 100 years worth of issues in your future.

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            I had a dandy dream this morning. I paid an “out of season” visit to the Buckskin Camp of Many Point Scout Camp to check in on the campsite Troop 68 has been using for a number of years. I was quite surprised to find the camp staff at the Seton campsite preparing to set up the new climbing towers. This shocked me! But I knew the camp was making improvements. After all, in real life a new Handicrafts Lodge and Nature Lodge had been built this year. Back to the dream, I decided to help the staff prep the site for the new towers. The campsite would actually be a decent site for the towers, more centrally located, but I had always thought the old site was a good place for the towers also. Oh well, our troop would have to move to a different campsite next year.

            In the dream I left the campsite for a moment (it seems to be just a few minutes). When I came back not only where the two towers completed but other things had been added. There was a new course for gas-biking (?), and a short zip-line which ended at a new small manmade lake. And there was still more construction going on for other things. My first thought was that the Seton Campsite is not this big! (Typical for a dream, isn’t it?) My next thought was that they are turning summer camp into an amusement park. It is at this point that I woke up.

            Needless to say, I was a little upset and confused when I woke up. Then I began thinking. I hope I never see a Boy Scout summer camp turn into an amusement park atmosphere. That would really kill the whole premise of the Scouting program. Valleyfair, Six Flags, and Disneyland are not good places to earn merit badges and learn life skills. This is one dream I do not want to see come true.

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              Today, for Youtube Tuesday, we are leaving the USA and the BSA. The UK Scout Association has produced a great video that does a great job of promoting Scouting and asking adults to volunteer in their local units. What I find fascinating is most of the information in the video could apply to the Boy Scouts of America. This video was uploaded in October 2010. Check it out and let me know what you think about it.

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              100 Days of Scouting: Day 57.

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                Everyone knows the song by Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World.” It is a classic. Even young Boy Scouts are familiar with the tune. I have a feeling that the song will still be around during the next hundred years.

                In August of 2009, a video was posted to YouTube  that featured Doug “Satchmo” Stone performing his unique Boy Scouts themed take on Armstrong’s classic. Doug was very active in Scouting and his council’s camp. His rendition of “What A Wonderful World” is fantastic.

                I think you are going to enjoy it so it is this week’s featured video. It is a fitting way to recognize the half way point of this year’s 100 Days of Scouting. (8434)

                100 Days of Scouting: Day 50.

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