Archive for the ‘Scouting’ Category

Happy Birthday to the Boy Scouts of America! Today, the organization is 101 years old. That is quite an accomplishment for any organization, but it is really something for a youth group to accomplish. It is awe inspiring when you sit and think for a moment about all the boys that have been a part of the program during those years; about all the adults who have given their time in packs, troops, and crews; about all the service hours given to local communities and the country. Then think about what those boys have gone on to accomplish when they became adults. As Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, would say, “Totally awesome!”

To kick off this new year of the Boy Scouts of America, I invite you to watch this video I found on Youtube. It sums up what this Scouting program is all about, and does it very nicely.

Starting today, this blog proclaims Tuesdays as “YouTube Tuesday”. I plan to suggest a Scouting video every Tuesday, so if you have one you would like to see posted here drop me an email.

The Boy Scout and the scoutmaster sit down by the campfire ring for a scoutmaster conference. The sun is shining brightly. The birds are singing. A squirrel watches them from his high perch in a nearby pine tree.

During the conference the scoutmaster asks, “What is the Boy Scout Motto?”

“Be prepared!” the Boy Scout quickly replies.

“Be prepared for what?” the scout leader asks.

The Boy Scout thinks for a moment. Be prepared for next month’s camping trip. For the rain that is bound to happen during a hike. For giving first aid if someone gets hurt. For helping a neighbor when needed. Finally he answers, “Be prepared for everything!”

“That is a good answer.” The scoutmaster smiles. “But everything is a lot to be prepared for. How can you do that?”

The smile vanishes from the Boy Scout’s face as he looks to the ground. He thinks to himself, how can a person be prepared for everything? The scoutmaster is patient as he watches the young man concentrate. Finally, the Boy Scout’s gaze returns to the scoutmaster. “Learn about a lot of stuff?” he asks. “Like first aid, camping skills, knots, and other stuff that we learn in troop meetings?”

“Yes,” the adult leader says. “Anything outside of Scouting?”

The Boy Scout thinks for a second. “Well, school, I guess. My parents. Other adults. Books maybe.”

“Very good.” The scoutmaster smiles again. “Knowledge is a key. Pay attention in class and what people tell you. Learn from them, even if you find the lesson to be boring. You never know when that knowledge will help you later in life.”

The Boy Scout’s smile is reaching from ear to ear. “And always pay attention to what is going on around us. So that we don’t get surprised or caught off guard. Right?”

“That is right”, says the scoutmaster as he pats the boy’s shoulder. “So, if we quickly sum this up…”

The Boy Scout sits up straighter as the sunshine radiates from his face. “To be prepared a Boy Scout should learn about as much as he can about as many things as he can.”

The unseen squirrel nods his approval at the Boy Scout, then turns away. It is time to find a few acorns.

Buttons and the PTC Media flat Scouts

Boy Scout, photo, Cub Scout, Explorer, Varsity

Do you like taking photos of your Scouts? Are you a listener of the podcasts found at PTC Media? If so, this is a contest that you should enter! Beginning January 3rd and continuing through March 22nd, PTCMedia with and are running a photo contest.

Grab a copy of one of the PTC Media flat Scouting buddies (found at, print & cut it out and take photos of them with your Scouts, family or other leaders doing cool Scout stuff (hiking, camping, mountain climbing, running a Roundtable, etc.). Photos will be judged on creativeness and Scout spirit. Kids and adults are eligible to win.

Every couple of weeks, a different show will choose a winner and announce it on their show:
January 17th: An Hour A Week?
February 1: The MISS Show
February 16: The SMM Podcast
March 4: True North
March 10: Around The Scouting Campfire
March 22: The Leader’s Campfire

The winners will get a $20 coupon toward products at

Then, on April 1st, we’ll open a contest between the 6 winners and let the PTC Media listeners vote on their favorite. The overall winner will get a $50 coupon toward an order with

How To Enter:

Choose one or more of our PTC Media Scouting buddies found at, print and cut them out.
Take a photo of them (and you or your Scouts/Leaders) doing cool Scout stuff.
E-Mail your photos to with the subject line “Photo Contest”.
It’s that simple!

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.

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.
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.
A great group for pictures of the BSA’s well known high adventure site.
A Flickr site to share your photos from Woodbadge training.

Do you know of other Flickr groups devoted to Scouting?

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.

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.

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.