Archive for the ‘News’ Category

img_1088Seven Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 had a blast at Philmont Scout Ranch this summer. The local newspaper was notified of the trip and decided that an article was in order. At last night’s troop meeting we received a visit from Herman, the newspaper reporter. He sat down with four of the seven Scouts for about 25-30 minutes. He had quite a few questions to ask, and the Scouts did a pretty good job of answering. It was fun to watch them as memories came back to them during the discussion.

I did not attend the trip to Philmont so I decided to stand behind the table as the interview was being conducted. I have not had the time to sit down with the Scouts myself to talk to them about the adventure so I was anxious to hear what they had to say. I helped Herman by asking a few questions of my own that he might have asked if he had been to Philmont. I was also able to give a few details about the camp itself for which the Scouts did not have answers to give.

When Herman left the meeting it just made me think that I may have to host a Philmont evening to hear their stories about the trip, and see the pictures that were taken. I might even have to make a few pizzas and have some sodas available.


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    cublogoAs the annual School Night To Join Scouting approached I told the current Cub Scouts that we should try to double the size of our pack, which is currently at 17 members. I explained that they are our best recruiters and that they should talk to their friends and bring them to the event. The boys were excited and thought we could do that. In fact, one Webelos Scout said that we could triple our size. I told them to go for it. Meanwhile, our new district executive was doing his part by talking to boys in the local elementary schools and passing out flyers.

    Unfortunately, within our community we really did not do much more to promote School Night other than having a table set up at the school open houses, and placing a couple signs around town. Looking back on things, we should have had something in the local newspaper and contacted the banks and credit union to post the event on their exterior marquees. It is too late to try to promote it any more. The meeting was last night, Thursday, September 22.

    I arrived at the school about twenty minutes early. We were supposed to have our meeting in the high school cafeteria. As we walked in we noticed the cafeteria was already being used. A sports team was having a meal/meeting. This was not going to work for us. Matt, one of our committee members, quickly found a custodian and asked if we could used the high school library. They said yes, so we moved into a new room and posted people by the school entrance to let them know about the room change. Not off to a good start for the evening.

    Several committee members members, parents, and Cub Scouts were on hand to set things up. Future Cub Scouts and their parents began arriving 15 minutes early. And kept arriving. They were still coming in at 7:00, the start time of the meeting. And they keep coming. Soon, the tables were filled and there was standing room only. The committee members and I were shocked. We never expected a crowd like this. I had been hoping that we could maybe get 12 more boys to join Scouting. As I looked around the room I counted over 30 boys and their parents waiting to hear about the Cub Scout program.

    I began the meeting a few minutes late as people got settled and moved things along quite rapidly. The pack leadership introduced themselves and then I hit the main points: meeting times, parent commitments, uniforms, awards, and so forth. Committee members jumped in when they had something to add, and our popcorn chairpersons talked quickly about the annual fundraiser. We did not waste much time, which I think made the parents happy.

    As the meeting came to a close we had 25 new Cub Scout registrations. We went from a pack of 17 members to a pack with 42 members. We exceeded our goal! And it sounds like there may be a few more registration forms coming in at next week’s pack meeting.

    I drove down to St. Cloud that evening to turn in the applications. As I sat in the Scout Office waiting to give them to our district executive, I counted how many boys we would be adding to each den: 2 new Lion Cubs, 8 new Tiger Cubs, 9 new Wolf Scouts, 5 new Bear Scouts, and 1 new Webelos Scout. This is going to be an interesting first pack meeting on Tuesday.

    I think the pack committee is in shock, and maybe a bit concerned. Can we handle this many boys? Where will we get the funds for all the awards and activity costs? Will we find enough leadership as we move forward? What are we going to do with a pack this large?

    As cubmaster, I am not too worried. I think enough parents will step forward to fill the leadership roles needed. We already have a great committee. The new Scouts can still get in on the popcorn sales so I am hoping for a nice boost for the treasury from that. As for the program? We already had a schedule made out for the year. All we have to do is follow it with maybe a few adaptions needed. I think we will be alright. My main concern is to make sure we offer the boys the fun and excitement that Scouting has to offer. It may be a bit of a challenge though to try to keep 42 elementary aged boys attention long enough for a pack meeting. I will take that challenge.

    As we were getting ready to leave the library after the event, one of the committee members came up to me and commented that with all the new Cub Scouts, the pack may need me to stick around for another year. You see, I have stated that this is to be my third and final program year as the cubmaster. I plan to hand over the pack to a new cubmaster next summer. For some reason I have a feeling the committee is going to try to change my mind as  go through the 2016-2017 program year.

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      Now that the Scouts of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 have left on their trip to Philmont Scouts Ranch I have been thinking about my trips to the ranch, and the DVD I have in my collection known as The Philmont Documentary Collection. It is one of my favorite Scouting DVD’s. I was even able to chat with Larry McLaughlin, the producer and creator of the DVD, during a Leader’s Campfire podcast episode. (More of that interview can be heard at )

      Recently, while browsing Facebook, I scrolled across information about another DVD about the ranch. It is a collection of 40 short films created by David E. Carter during the years of 2006-2008. The DVD includes segments on all 36 of Philmont’s backcountry camps, as well as 3 special features.  It was only sold for two years in the Philmont trading post, and has not been available since then. This newly-edited version includes additonal content that has never been seen before. It contains over two hours of video.

      It looks like this is a DVD I need to add to my collection. The price of $22 includes shipping. Not a bad price if you ask me. My only wish is that it was filmed in high definition, but alas, it was created before all the new tech was readily available.

      More informations can be found on the website at

      Do you plan to order yourself a copy?

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        Clearance-eblastThere was an email last week from the Boy Scouts of America Online Catalog. They had a sale going on. It was the Christmas in July Sale! Well, that is what they were calling it. It was actually a closeout sale. Here is what the email stated:

        Think about it. There’s back-to-school, back-to-Scouting, and the actual holidays just around the corner, so a little Christmas in July really couldn’t hurt! 

        Our gift to you? A chance to save up to 75% off original price on the best Scout-gear deals you can find… perfect year-round gifting ideas, nice little Christmas add-ons, and great-value gear updates for every Scout you know. 

        Check out what’s new in the closeout collection, online, and in-store today. Once items sell out they’re gone, so shop now.

        So what did I do? I checked it out. Was there anything the troop or pack could use? Was there any hot bargains I could use as gifts? Christmas is only 6 months away, after all. Was there anything I did not realize I needed or wanted until I saw it on sale?

        As it turned out, there was quite that made the list. I found 12 items to add to the cart, several of them in more than a single quantity. I took a screen shot of the list and emailed it to my council Scout Shop. After all, I may as well give them the business if they had any of the items in stock. It turns out they only had four of the items on hand, but those four items (multiple qualities of two of them) would cost me over $80. Two items were for myself, one for the pack, and one to use as gifts. I emailed her a note that I would pick up the in stock items and would let her know about the rest of the list when I arrived to pick them up.

        Have you checked out the Christmas in July Sale? Did you find anything you needed, or did not need until you saw it on sale?

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          service-starWow. I just realized I missed the anniversary of this blog. It is hard to believe all the years that I have been sharing my thoughts, activities, and special events with you through this site known as A Scoutmaster’s Blog. How many years is that, you ask? Well, let’s see. The first blog article was posted on May 18, 2006. This blog is now ten years old! Again, I say WOW! (Do I get a ten year pin for this?)

          I never would have dreamed back in 2006 that I would still be writing articles about Troop 68 ten years later. I have shared a lot of articles about the comings and goings of the local troop. I have also shared a lot of my own thoughts during the last decade. When I started this blog there were not many Scoutmasters who had one. There still are not many, but there are a few others out their nearly as old as this one, and probably much better than mine.

          Here are a few statistics of this blog. There have been over 1000 articles written. Most have been written by me, but I did allow a few troop alumni to write articles about their memories of being a Boy Scout. Hundreds of pictures have been shared with you. The blog has received nearly half a million page views, which I think is something to be proud of. This blog got me into podcasting both a video and an audio podcast for several years, and introduced me to other Scouting themed podcasters. Together we formed PTC Media, a network of Scouting themed podcasts.

          I sometimes think I should take all these articles and form them into a book format, but when I think about all the work that would involve I forget about it and move onto something else. Maybe after I retire and find I need something to do with all that time I will have on my hands…

          After I retired as the scoutmaster of Melrose Troop 68 at the end of 2011, I thought about changing the name of the blog, but I decided to keep it. It is where people have come to know me and I did not want to ruin that. I figure that after spending 35 years as a scoutmaster I maybe deserve the right to keep the name of this blog as it is. Even though I do not write as often as I used to, I still write most of my articles about Boy Scouting.

          Will I be writing for another ten years? I have no idea. Probably, if I am still involved with Scouting. After all, it only takes an hour a week you know.

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            Disc Golf Ribbon Cutting2

            A year and a half ago I wrote a couple of articles about how the Melrose Boy Scout Troop had inspired the Melrose city officials to think about having a nine basket disc golf course installed in the main city park. A quickly planned but simple service project activity during the city’s 2014 Night To Unite evening started the ball rolling on something I would have liked to have seen in town two decades earlier. You can read these posts Here and Here.

            It recently occurred to me that I did not write any follow up articles to let you all know how things turned out. As stated in one of the earlier posts, I thought the Boy Scouts would assist in helping the city staff assemble the course equipment and installing it in the park. Well, it did not quite happen that way. The city park staff assembled everything themselves during the winter months, and installed all the signs and baskets early in the spring while the Scouts were still in school. At least a couple of the Scouts, who happened to be working on their Citizenship in the Community merit badge, were able to assist in creating the tee signs for each hole.

            The Sauk River Park disc golf course was finished the first Monday of May in 2015. On a rainy night two weeks later, the Boy Scouts were present with various city and park officials for the official ribbon cutting. As the person who did a lot of the planning and design work for the park, I was given a scissors to cut the ribbon. Then the Scouts lined up for a picture throwing their discs at the basket for the local paper. The adults that were present also lined up for a similar picture. The newspaper did a great write up about the course.

            The disc golf course received a good amount of use during the year of 2015. The local teenagers started making use of the course immediately, and many families discovered it was an activity they could do together. Even the high school started using the course as a Phys Ed activity since the course is located across the street from the school. Both city officials and the park board were happy with the use the course was getting, which made me feel good after the time and effort I had poured into the project. Not many people get to say they brought something to their city which everyone can play and have fun doing.

            A few weeks ago we began a disc golf league in Melrose. There are about fourteen people in the league, most of them teenagers, and four of them Boy Scouts. There is even one Cub Scout and his father who play. Ages range from 9 years old to 55 years old. We have been having a great time playing and meeting the new members. I just wish I would have thrown a bit better last week, but then, we all wish to do better than we usually do when we play.

            I sometimes still find it hard to believe that this course happened because of a little project in the park one night prepared by the Boy Scouts. It just goes to show, you never know…


            Disc Golf Ribbon Cutting6

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              IMG_5411The Melrose Lions Club holds a special dinner every year to recognize volunteers in the community. This year’s dinner was held on the evening of April 27th at the Melrose American Legion. Over 100 people from nearly a dozen volunteer organizations were represented, which included the local food shelf, Project Give-A-Gift, Meals On Wheels, the fire department, the ambulance department, the police reserve reserve, and others. Boy Scout Troop 68 and Cub Scout Pack 68 were each represented by three adult leaders.

              At the end of the evening, after a great meal and a guest speaker, the Lions Club held a drawing for three $100 donations. Boy Scout Troop 68 was lucky enough to receive one of these gifts. Scoutmaster Jim Engelmeyer, along with committee chairperson Chris Massmann and assistant scoutmaster Eymard Orth, accepted the donation.

              The Melrose Lions Club has been one of the community’s great sponsors of the Scouting program in Melrose.

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                imageDid you watch the Academy Awards last night? I watched the first thirty minutes and the last two hours. I thought Chris Rock did a pretty good job as the host. His opening monologue was funny and had a nice bite to it. I can not say I agree with most of the awards during the evening because, to tell the truth, I did not see most of the movies that were nominated.

                It seems that each year the host has to do something out of the ordinary to put his or her mark on the show. Ellen did one of the best ones when she posted the celebrity selfie. I like Chris’ little stunt this year. He had his daughter’s Girl Scout Troop sell cookies to the millionaire stars of the Academy. Talk about a great night for cookie sales. How can a millionaire say no to buying cookies when they are live on television? The girls sold over $65,000 worth of the treats.

                So here is my question. Do the Boy Scouts get to sell popcorn at next year’s Oscars celebration? Think about all the caramel corn and chocolate covered popcorn they could sell. Think of the p.r. the Boy Scouts could get with over a billion people watching worldwide. It would be awesome.

                Of course, I know it will not happen. Unless, maybe, next year’s host has a son or two who are Boy Scouts. I have to give Chris Rock a thumb’s up. It was a great way to sell a lot of cookies.

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