Archive for the ‘News’ Category


Boy Scout Troop leaders are parade grand marshals.

When I received a phone call from the Melrose Chamber of Commerce a few weeks ago I thought it might be about the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 handing out the small USA flags before the Riverfest parade again, like the troop has done for many years. I was about to receive a big surprise.

During the Chamber’s Riverfest festival planning meetings they choose a person or persons to be the grand marshal(s) of the parade. This year it was suggested the Eymard Orth and myself should be the grand marshals in recognition of the many years each of us has not only put into the local Scouting program, but also the other organizations we have been involved in over the last 4 decades.

The phone call was to ask if I would accept the honor of being a parade grand marshal. I said if Eymard would than I would also accept the honor. He did, so we are.

The local newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, interviewed the two of us last week. The article based on that interview was on the front page of this week’s edition. As always, Carol, the writer, did a great job with the article. (The picture seen with this article is the one used in the newspaper.)

So, on Saturday night, Eymard Orth and myself, Steve Borgerding, will ride down Main Street in Melrose in a red convertible. We will be wearing our Scout uniforms. We will be representing the Scouting program. We will also be drinking a lot of water since the temperature is forecasted to hit the 90s. We might even have to carry an umbrella to provide some shade along the route.

As this night approaches I can not help but think of how the movie Follow Me Boys ends with a parade for their scoutmaster of 20 years. I realize the parade we will be in is not a Scouting parade like the one in the movie, but I still feel there are a couple parallels there. Eymard now has 30 years with the troop, while I have 39 years.

I had a phone message waiting for me on my answering machine when I arrived home Monday night, January 7. It was from Russell, a reporter for the Dallas Examiner. He asked that I return his phone call because he wanted to speak with me about the Boy Scouts of America’s “financial problem”. He made the comment that he wanted to talk to a long time Scout volunteer.

My first thought when I finished listening to the message was that it was an interesting message. My second thought was why did he call me, a former Scoutmaster from a rural Minnesota community. I volunteer my time to my local troop and pack. I do not do anything with the national office. My third thought was how in the world did he find me?

Did I return his phone call? No, I did not. And I will not. Why, you ask? There are three reasons.

First, I have no information for him. Like I said earlier, I do not work for the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America. I am not on their mailing list.

Second, I am not a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America. I have no desire to be a spokesman for the organization. I am perfectly happy being a volunteer in my local community.

Third, I do not trust today’s media, especially national networks and large newspapers. I have heard many stories of reporters using only one or two comments from an interview, and using them out of context to suit their own agenda. I am not playing that game.

I have no desire to be on the national news stage. If a reporter wants to know something about the Boy Scouts of America’s so called “financial crisis” they should contact the National Office for information, not a rural Minnesota volunteer.

Update: I have informed my district executive and council executive about this phone call to make them aware that something is going on. I also sent an email to the Boy Scouts of America’s National Office to inform them of the call.

The Scenic District of the Central Minnesota Council held its final roundtable meeting of the year on Tuesday, December 11. I have not attended a roundtable for quite awhile but I attended this one because I was asked to speak about the B. S. A.’s high adventure bases. I am glad I did attend this meeting.

Scoutmaster Dave Norling of Melrose Area Troop 68 was recognized with two awards during the meeting. He received his certificate for completing “Basic Leader Training.” He also received the special council neckerchief for being 100% trained. I believe he may be second adult leader of Troop 68 who has received the neckerchief. District executive Sam Ross made the presentations.

Congratulations to Scoutmaster Dave Norling!

The Melrose Lions Club invites volunteers from the city’s various organizations to attend an annual dinner to recognize and commend them for their service to the community.The firemen, police reserves, and ambulance personnel are invited as well as the volunteers of the area food shelf, Project Give-A-Gift, Meals On Wheels, Melrose Area Museum, and other groups. The Melrose Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack were well represented this year by seven people, including the scoutmaster and cubmaster.

It is a fun time to visit while having a great meal. This year’s dinner included chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, rolls, and cookies. If anyone left that dinner hungry they had no one to blame but themselves.

After the meal, the president of the Melrose Lions Club thanked everyone for attending, and for their service to the citizens of Melrose. Another Lions members walked around the room with a microphone so that every volunteer could introduce themselves and state which organization they assisted. Nearly 100 people attended the meal.

The evening ended with one member of each organization going to the front of the room to receive a numbered ticket. A drawing was held for three $100 prizes. The first number drawn went to the Melrose Boy Scout Troop. The second prize went to the Melrose Food Shelf. The third went to the Girl Scouts.

The membership and leadership of Boy Scout Troop 68 and Cub Scout Pack 68 would like to thank the Lions Club for a great meal, and for the support they have given the Melrose Scouting program for nearly 40 years.

When I became the assistant scoutmaster of a six month old Boy Scout troop in June 1980, I never in my wildest dreams think I would become a bit of a journalist. A month later I wrote my first Scouting-related article for the weekly local newspaper, with the help of one of the committee members. Little did I know I would continue doing this for nearly four decades.

Those early articles, known as The Scouts Review, were only a few paragraphs long, recounting what happened at the weekly troop meetings. We also did a longer article about the monthly outings, usually with a picture or two. The Melrose Beacon supported our efforts by printing anything we submitted to them. After several months we stopped writing about the weekly meetings and only wrote about the monthly outings, service projects, courts of honor, and other special events. Most of our Eagle Scouts and their projects were covered by the newspaper. Some of the summer camp or Philmont trek articles appeared in two parts spread over consecutive issues.

For some reason, even after I became the scoutmaster, the articles remained my project. No one offered to take over the duty, although once in a great while of of the committee members submitted an article about an event. During the 1980’s and 1990’s I was pretty good about getting something in the paper every month. By the time the 2000’s came around I was starting to grow tired of the responsibility. By the 2010’s I was not submitting articles on a regular basis, maybe once every two or three months.

The articles were a great way to keep the activities of the Boy Scout troop in the public eye. The Melrose Beacon was great in supporting both the troop and the Cub Scout Pack. I am sure many of the Scouts and their families clipped those articles for their scrapbooks. I tried to save every one of those articles. Sometimes other local papers printed pictures of the Scout events. I saved those clippings also.

I now have four three ring binders full of the last 37 years of Melrose Beacon Scout articles, along with some clippings from the Hometown News, the Sauk Centre Herald, and the St. Cloud Times. The fourth book is nearly full. It will soon be time to begin a fifth book.

These binders usually sit on a shelf in the closet of my office, but a couple of times a year they come out of the dark and are seen by the public as part of a Scouting display during our spring and fall meal fundraisers. I had to work on them today to get ready for the spring breakfast to be held on Sunday, April 8th. There was over two years worth of clippings to tape into those books but they are now complete and ready to be viewed. It sort of boggles the mind when I think of the Melrose Scouting history found in those four binders.

Does someone in your troop or pack write articles for your local newspaper? Does someone in your troop collect them, maybe the troop Historian? Where are they stored? How often do they get viewed?

It is nearly time for Scouting Anniversary to begin. Troops and Packs around the country will be participating in the celebration. Many units will start the week by attending local religious services on Scout Sunday, February 4th.

In Central Minnesota we have a local newspaper, the Shopper, that helps support the program by including a supplement for Scout Week. This year it is a four page spread and includes pictures from 7 Cub Scout Packs and six Boy Scout Troops. Melrose Cub Scout Pack 68 and Boy Scout Troop 68 are included in the spread, of course.

We nearly did not make it this year. The troop did not have a recent photo ready to turn in. Luckily, on Saturday January 27th, the troop had an activity that allowed us to get a photo that included most of the current Scouts and adult leaders. The Cub Scout Pack also had to scramble a bit for a photo that included a fair portion of the pack membership.

Not only is it great to see this type of promotion in a local paper, but it is also great to see all the sponsors who have an ad with the spread that paid for the four pages. The packs and troops would like to give a big Scout Salute to those businesses.

Of course, in the name of youth protection, I removed the names of the Scouts before I posted the photos to this blog. You can click on the pictures for a larger view of the photos.

Does your local newspaper do anything like this to celebrate the anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America?

I like reading the Bryan On Scouting blog. It is quite informative, and can also be quite fun at times. He recently added a post of which I was a bit skeptical at first since he posted it on April 1st, which is April Fools Day. But after doing a bit of research it looks like it is legit. The Boy Scouts of America has eliminated its Tour and Activity Plan!

I wish they would have done this back when I was a scoutmaster. I always felt these forms were a pain in the neck. I understood the reason for them but that did not mean I had to like them. The planning of the outing usually was not the problem. The worst part run running around to get the signatures needed.

The Bryan On Scouting blog post explains the reasoning behind the new policy. You can click on the link below. I would suggest you check it out. You can also check out the BSA’s page on the Tour and Activity Plan page for more answers. which can be found at:

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/Alerts/TourActivityPlan.aspx

BSA’s Tour and Activity Plan eliminated

t68smallYou may have noticed recently that you were not able to access this blog or the troop’s website. The site was offline for a few days to transfer everything to a new server since the old server was having issues. It was an older server and was wearing out.

David, an alumni of Boy Scout Troop 68 who hosts our website, put in a fair amount of work getting everything transferred properly. The reason it took awhile was due our troop’s website being huge. In fact, he set me an email telling me how big it was. How many troop websites do you know of that have 17 gigabytes of data!

There are two reasons for the size of the site. One, there are thousands of photos posted in the galleries. Two, there are over 100 videos posted to the site featuring the Boy Scouts performing skits and songs, interviews with former members adult leaders, old Scouting promotional videos I have come across, and plenty of videos featuring the puppet known as Buttons, the radical Boy Scout. Many of these videos were posted in the early 2000’s.

Everything was successfully transferred and is view-able once again. Some day I am going to have to go through the site and start revising and deleting certain things that are sort of obsolete these days. Maybe when it gets cold this winter and I have nothing better to do.

http://www.melrosetroop68.org