Archive for the ‘Scouting’ Category


August 1, 1907 – Lord Robert Baden-Powell, author of the book Scouting For Boys, took a group of boys to Brownsea Island for a camping event. Thus, the Scouting program was born.

February 8, 1910 – William Boyce incorporated the BSA, and was later granted a charter by the United States Congress. Thus, the Boy Scouts of America was born.

March 9, 1911 – Mr. Dale of St. Paul, the northwest organizer of the Boy Scouts, arrived in town to talk to community leaders. Thus, Scouting began in Melrose, Minnesota.

The Boy Scout program has come and gone many times over the decades in Melrose. I was a Boy Scout during the early to mid 1970’s, but after three and one half years the troop folded due to lack of adult leadership. People have told me there were also Melrose Boy Scout troops in the 1960’s, the 1950’s, and the 1940’s. Each troop lasted for a few, or several, years and then died out.

Recently, Herman Lensing, a reporter for our local newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, was looking through some early editions of the newspaper as he did research for a sports article. He came across two articles from March 1911 editions which describe the formation of two Boy Scouts troops in Melrose. He took a couple pictures of one of the articles and emailed them to me.

I was shocked and surprised when I read the article. I had thought the 1940’s was the earliest that Scouting had begun in Melrose. Here was proof that the program came to town in 1911, only thirteen months after the formation of the Boy Scouts of America.

The articles also included the names of the adult leadership and the boys who would form the two new troops. One troop was sponsored by the high school. The other was sponsored by St. Boniface Church. The two troops had a combined total of ten patrols. Each patrol had five to eight members. The patrols of the St. Boniface troop were named Blazing Arrow, Lion, Pathfinder, Stag, Red Raiders, and Wolf. The patrols of the high school troop were named Stag, Pathfinder, Young Mohawk, and Blazing Arrow. One difference between today’s Scouting program and Scouting of 1911 is that instead of the current Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader offices, the boy leaders were called Leaders and Corporals, according to the article.

I called my district executive to ask him how far back the council kept records. He asked me why I wanted to know and I told him about the two articles. He surprised me when he told me the council was created in 1918 or 1919. The Melrose troops were formed before there was a Central Minnesota Council!

The timing of this historical find could not have been timed much better. The year of celebrating the BSA’s 100th anniversary comes to an end this month. December is also the 31st anniversary of the formation of the current troop in Melrose. (It hardly seems like 31 years have already gone by.) To tell the truth, I think it would be fun to do a little more digging and put together a better history of the Boy Scout program in Melrose, Minnesota.

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    Now that I have been playing around with my Flickr account and adding pictures to the site (over 4000 so far), I thought I would share a few of the Flickr groups that are dedicated to sharing pictures of Scouting taken in the United States and around the world. Check them out when you get some time. You just might get a few ideas for your troop’s or pack’s program. Don’t be afraid to join the groups and add your own pictures to the groups.


    For Scouts all around the world, sharing great, nice an beautyfull Scouting moments in pictures.
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    This group is about Scouting in the United States. Hopefully this will become a place were ideas are shared and different Scouting techniques can be shared for the benefit of everyone.

    Boy Scout photos

    Pictures of Cub Scouts and their Akelas

    The Group is for showcasing Scouting or Guiding, from any section and anywhere in the world. It is meant as a resource, for showing what Scouts and Guides do in different countries.
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    A great group for pictures of the BSA’s well known high adventure site.
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    A Flickr site to share your photos from Woodbadge training.

    Do you know of other Flickr groups devoted to Scouting?
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      It is a new month and I guess that means it is time for a new book to read. The previous two ebooks I have posted have been well received. I would bet you probably have both read already, if you have an ebook reader, that is. So it is time to post the next book in the series, Tom Slade at Temple Camp, written by Percy Keese Fitzhugh. Here is a short excerpt from the start of the book:

      “Rejected by a large majority—I mean, elected by a large majority.”

      Roy Blakeley gathered up the ballots in his two hands, dropped them into the shoe box and pushed the box across the table to Mr. Ellsworth as if the matter were finally settled.

      “Honorable Roy Blakeley,” he added, “didn’t even carry his own patrol.”

      This humiliating confession, offered in Roy’s gayest manner, was true. The Silver Foxes had turned from their leader and, to a scout, voted for Tom Slade. It was hinted that Roy himself was responsible for this, but he was a good politician and would not talk. There was also a dark rumor that a certain young lady was mixed up in the matter and it is a fact that only the night before Roy and Mary Temple had been seen in earnest converse on the wide veranda at Grantley Square by Pee-wee Harris, who believed that a scout should be observant.

      Be this as it may, Tom had carried his own patrol, the Elks, unanimously, and the Silver Foxes had voted for him like instructed delegates, while among the proud and dignified Ravens there had been but one dissenting vote. Someone had cast this for Pee-wee Harris, the Silver Fox mascot and the troop’s chief exhibit. But, of course, it was only a joke. The idea of Pee-wee going away as assistant camp manager was preposterous. Why, you could hardly see him without a magnifying glass.
      “If this particular majority had been much larger,” announced Roy, “it wouldn’t have been a majority at all; it would have been a unanimity.”

      “A una what?” someone asked.

      “A unanimity—that’s Latin for home run. Seems a pity that the only thing that prevented a clean sweep was a little three-foot pocket edition of a boy scout——”

      At this moment, Pee-wee, by a miracle of dexterity, landed a ball of twine plunk in the middle of Roy’s face.

      “Roy,” laughed Mr. Ellsworth, “you’re a good campaign manager.”

      “He’s a boss,” shouted Pee-wee, “that’s what he is. A boss is a feller that has people elected and then makes them do what he says.”

      “Well, you were glad enough to vote for him with the rest, weren’t you?” laughed the scoutmaster.

      You can download the book HERE. Have fun reading! And don’t forget to leave your comments.

      If you do not have an iPad or other ebook reader but would like to read an epub file on your computer try out the free program from Adobe: Adobe Digital Editions. You can find it HERE.

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        Less then two weeks ago I wrote an article about old Scouting books and novels that are not only in the public domain, but also available as an electronic book in the epub format which is compatible on your iPod Touch, iPad, and other electronic book devices. The first book I posted was Tom Slade, the first of the series which follows this Boy Scout in the early 1900’s. It has already been downloaded over 50 times from this blog which is great. I hope you all enjoyed it.

        Since their seems to be a small demand for this type of media I thought I would post a link to a second book for you to enjoy. The Wolf Patrol is a suggestion from Scouter Doug. I have not read it yet myself but it looks to be an interesting book. The Project Gutenberg site lists this book as “A Tale of Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts”. It was written by John Finnemore.

        Download your copy of The Wolf Patrol by clicking HERE.

        I have another 21 epub ebook files I would like to share with you. All are in the public domain. If these first selection receive a fair number of downloads, and if this idea receives a decent reception, I will offer more of these books in the weeks to come. Have fun reading! And don’t forget to leave your comments.

        If you would like to read an epub file on your computer try out the free program from Adobe: Adobe Digital Editions. You can find it HERE.

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          Let’s see. The Kindle, the iPod, the iPad, and the Nook are just a few of the ebook readers that are currently available. How about we use these gadgets to visit a fictional history of Boy Scouting. Say, like 80 plus years ago.

          Did you know that in the early days of the Boy Scouts of America there were many authors writing books to catch that market of teenage boys who were joining this new youth program. One author that wrote many books for this young crowd was Percy Keese Fitzhugh. He introduced Boy Scouts to the adventures of Tom Slade, Roy Blakeley, and Pee Wee Harris. I happen to have several of these old books about the Bridgboro Boy Scouts.

          According to the website Wikipedia: The bulk of his work, having a Boy Scouting theme, revolves around the fictional town of Bridgeboro, New Jersey. Major characters included Tom Slade, Pee-Wee Harris, Roy Blakely, and Westy Martin. Each of these characters had their own, distinctly different, series of books. In addition, a fifth series, Buddy Books for Boys, featured individual stories of other Boy Scout characters. In all, Grosset & Dunlap published nearly 70 different Fitzhugh titles in these 5 series. (Link)

          I would imagine that there are a lot of Boy Scouts who own a device to read ebooks (electronic books). And even more adults and Scouters. Many of these old novels about fictional Boy Scouts are now in the public domain. How about this? We start introducing the boys to these old novels. Let’s introduce them to a time in which the Boy Scouts of America was still very new. In fact, I am somewhat excited about this idea so I will kick this off.

          I would like to introduce you readers to Boy Scout Tom Slade by providing you with the first book in the series. This book is in the epub format so you will need a device which reads epub files to read this book. (From what I understand, many of the popular ebook devices can use the epub format.) Download the book by clicking HERE.

          I currently have 16 epub ebook files I would like to share with you. All are in the public domain. If this first selection receives a fair number of downloads, and if this idea receives a decent reception, I will offer more of these books in the weeks to come. Have fun reading!

          By the way, if you would like to read an epub file on your computer try out the free program from Adobe: Adobe Digital Editions. You can find it HERE.

          Thanks for Sharing!

            My  last post about ten reasons to be a Scout leader has been a popular post to this blog. One of the replies I received about the post was from a member of the “Boy Scout/Cub Scout Adult Leaders” group on LinkedIn.

            Rush Kester lives in the Washington D.C. area. He has been involved with Scouting for 23 years and has held several positions including cubmaster and assistant scoutmaster, so he has a little experience behind him. Here is what is wrote in regards to becoming a Scout Leader:

            *Weekend campouts are a great change of pace from office work and a stress reliever from any occupation.
            *Observing the other kids is a good reminder that the stuff your child does (that drive you nuts) is “normal.”
            *Folks, both youth & adults, can disagree and still have fun together.
            *It keeps you young and active
            *Its a great way to bond with your children
            *The “quality” time you spend with your children is multiplied by the many other youth who benefit from your leadership.
            *Your children will turn out better for it.
            *There are other’s to remind your children that “character counts” with an easy to remember 12 point program.
            *It’s a great way to see & do things that you wouldn’t normally.
            *It’s a lot cheaper than theme park vacations every year.
            *It’s a good reminder that your community still cares about things that are important.

            I especially like the “12 point program” reason. Thanks for the list Rush, and for giving me permission to reprint it here.

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              Four years ago I wrote a blog post that became one of the most read posts I have ever written. It was during the time when many packs and troops were conducting recruitment drives and school nights. The article listed some reasons on why a parent should get involved as a leader in Scouting.

              Well, it is that time of year again, so here is that article for all the new readers to this blog, and to refresh the memories of those of you who have been with me for awhile.

              Boys around the country will be joining Boy Scouting for the first time this month. And new parents will be asked to help their troop or pack by becoming an adult leader. There are many reasons not to be a leader, but let me give you ten reasons why you should become a Scouter. (These are not in any sort of order.)

              1) Be a positive influence in a boy’s life. I think we can agree that there are many youth out there who can benefit from more of this in today’s world.
              2) Learn new skills. You are never too old to learn a new skill. And to tell the truth, I don’t think a person can ever learn too many skills.
              3) Teach boys new skills. There are few things in life that will make you feel more proud then when you watch a boy or young man using a skill that you have helped them to master.
              4) Make new friends. Not only will you form friendships with the boys, but you will also form new friendships with other Scouters.
              5) Help your community. You provide this service through your unit’s service projects and by helping boys grow up to be better adults.
              6) Spend time in the Great Outdoors. You really do need to get out of that recycled-air, stressed-filled office environment at least once a month.
              7) Have a good laugh. Working with Scout age boys can be fun and funny in many ways. Just remember to laugh with the boys, not at the boys.
              8 ) Go traveling. There are thousands of places to go that provide a great Scout Outing. And do not forget the opportunities to go to a National Jamboree, Philmont, or the other high adventure bases.
              9) Get some exercise. We could all use more exercise. Just try keeping up with a group of Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts.
              10) Be a kid again! Scouting gives adults the chance to have just as much fun as the Scouts themselves. Make sure that you do!

              Well, those are ten of my reasons for being an adult Scout Leader. I am sure that some of you reading this could add some more to the list. I invite you to leave a comment and add those reasons.

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                Merit Badge AppSo, you are a Boy Scout, or a Boy Scout leader, who has an iPhone or an iPod Touch. Did you know that there are a few apps available just for you in the Apple iTunes App store? Yep, that’s right. There are now apps available for the Scouting geek in us. These apps range in price from $.99 to $9.99. Too bad they are not free.

                The Boy Scout Handbook – $9.99 – Here is the complete version of the latest handbook for your favorite gadget. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-boy-scout-handbook/id327240445?mt=8

                eBook, Boy Scout Handbook – $2.99 – Here is a copy of the first edition Boy Scout Handbook. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ebook-boy-scout-handbook/id338143841?mt=8

                Merit Badges – $.99 – Would you like a copy of the requirements for each of the merit bdages available to you on your iPod? Here is your wish fulfilled. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/merit-badges/id358082137?mt=8

                Guide To Safe Scouting – $2.99 – This one is for all the adult leaders out there that have an iPhone or Ipod Touch. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/guide-to-safe-scouting/id359071452?mt=8

                ScoutTracker – $1.99 – Keep track of one Boy Scout’s requirements as he earns the various Boy Scout Ranks. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scouttracker/id347388213?mt=8

                Unfortunately, I do not own am iPhone or iPod Touch, yet. I own an iPod Classic. I am waiting for the iPod Touch to come out with a camera. However, that has not stopped me from downloading some apps I wish to put on my iPod Touch. I already downloaded the Merit Badge app and will soon be downloading the Guide To Safe Scouting app. If you have already downloaded and used any of these apps leave a comment here about what you think about them.

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