Archive for the ‘News’ Category


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

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.

img_1087

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.

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 http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=1920 )

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 http://www.sanibelfilms.com/philmont-dvd.html

Do you plan to order yourself a copy?