Archive for the ‘News’ Category


LifeRsmallThere has been a lot of press lately that the Boy Scouts of America is about to change its policy on allowing opening gay youth into the organization. In fact, the press likes to make it sound like this is already a done deal. The press makes it sound like the poll conducted by the B.S.A. states that Scouts, parents, leaders and councils overwhelmingly support changing the policy. I decided to bring up the poll results at the scouting.org website and look at the figures myself. It is not quite as cut and dried as the media is playing this up to be. I am a little bit skeptical. Here are a few statistics from one part of that poll, along with a few of my thoughts:

Parents Study Group and Leaders Study Group

The BSA’s Voice of the Scout Membership Standards Survey was sent to more than 1 million adult members, with over 200,000 respondents. I have been involved with the Scouting program for 33 years, yet I was not contacted to participate in this program. As far as I know, not one person in my troop was contacted. How did the pollsters choose the parents and leaders that were contacted for this poll?

The survey found:
Respondents support the current policy by a 61 percent to 34 percent margin. (I underlined the phrase.) Wow, that is a 17% margin. Presidents have been voted into office by fewer percentage points. Yet the media makes it sound like it is the other way around..
Support for the current policy is higher at different program and volunteer levels in the organization:
50 percent of Cub Scout parents support it; 45 percent of Cub Scout parents oppose. This was closer than I thought it would be.
61 percent of Boy Scout parents support it. This could be true, but I don’t think it is true in my part of the country. Once again I ask how they choose the parents who participated in this survey. Was there a balance from across the nation?
62 percent of unit leaders support it. I know some who do and some who do not.
64 percent of council and district volunteers support it. I know more who are not sure what to decide yet.
72 percent of chartered organizations support it. For some reason, I do not fully believe this figure. It seems high to me when you consider what groups make up a large portion of the chartered organizations.

Local Council Study Group

The Local Council Study Group was charged with listening to the voice of the Boy Scouts of America’s 280 local councils. While many of the conversations centered on a policy that would give chartered organizations the discretion of whether to accept avowed homosexuals to serve as leaders, many groups had concerns about this concept:
50.5 percent of councils recommend no change.
38.5 percent of councils recommend a change.
11 percent take a neutral position.
So, one way to look at this is that 61 percent of councils do not recommend a change to the current policy, almost two thirds of the organization’s councils. When listening to the media I thought that most councils wanted the policy change.

There is a lot more to this poll. Read it yourself at
http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/MembershipStandards/Resolution/Summary.aspx

So what do I think? I am not ready to tell you yet, but here are a couple things that stick in my mind. The B.S.A. does not ask people what their sexually preference is. It is not found anywhere on any application. The only time it comes up is when it is brought up by the person himself, and when it does it becomes a media circus and the gay activists try to use it to their advantage.

I was a scoutmaster for over 30 years. It was not my duty to ask a Boy Scout about his sexual preferences. It was my duty to try to teach him citizenship, leadership, and outdoor skills, and to let him have fun. Did I ever have a gay young man as a member of the troop? Yes, I did. But they did not come out as being gay until after they left high school. Would I have kicked them out of the troop if they mentioned they were gay while still a Scout? I am not sure because it was never an issue, but I would like think I would have allowed them to continue being a Boy Scout as long as they did not give me any other reason to ask them to leave. Keep in mind that the 1980’s and 1990’s were a bit different then today’s world.

I think all boys should be allowed to be a Boy Scout. However, I do not think that any boy, or his parent, should take his membership and turn it into a political issue, which is what I am afraid this issue has become. In my opinion, this takes everything good the Scouting program offers a young man and turns it upside down. Suddenly everyone forgets of all the great things this 100 year old program has done for our youth and our country.  “Don’t ask, don’t tell” worked for the 30 years I was a scoutmaster. I did not ask, they did not tell, and we all enjoyed the time we spent in Scouting. It was not an issue, and it should not be an issue. I wish everyone would just shut up and let us get on with implementing the best Scouting program that we can provide for our youth.

Now, what are my feelings on allowing opening gay men as adult leaders? That is a post for another time.

Last words… I usually stay away from hot topic issues with this blog, but I felt I needed to finally get something out there. I do review every comment before it is posted. That is the best way to keep spam off this blog. I will be reading any comments for this post and if they are civil I may allow them to be added to this post. However, if I feel that they are mean spirited or rude I will trash it. It is my blog, and I will decide what is posted to it.

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    melrosebeaconad2013Our local newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, showed their support of the Scouting program last month by printing a full page ad to celebrate the Boy Scouts of America’s anniversary. The ad featured photos of Cub Scout Pack 68 and Boy Scout Troop 68. It also featured the Boy Scout Oath and a short description of the goals of the program. (Click on the picture for a larger view.) The newspaper has done a full page Scouting ad for anniversary week for a number of years now.

    The Melrose Beacon has been a supporter of Scouting since the troop began in late 1979 when it published a note about organizing a Boy Scout troop in town. I became involved with the troop in May 1980 and soon began writing stories about troop events and submitting pictures from troop activities to the Beacon. The newspaper has always been great about printing these stories. In fact, I must have done a pretty good job of writing them because only once do I remember them editing a story.

    The pack and troop would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for picking up the cost of this year’s ad: VFW post 7050 (the troop’s charter sponsor). Coborn’s Grocery Store, Spaeth Sodding and Landscaping, Heartland Security, Freeport State Bank, Kraemer Lumber Company, Melrose Dental Office, and Hennen Lumber Company. This ad would not have been possible without their financial support.

    Does your local newspaper support your local Scouting program? Do they print articles and photos of your troop activities?

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      I did not go along with the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 when they left for their weeklong stay at Many Point Scout Camp on Sunday, July 8th. The boys and the camp were on my mind all week though. I sort of missed being up there with the troop during their summer camp adventure so on Friday, July 13th, I took a day of vacation from work and spent it at MPSC.

      I left home at about 8:00 in the morning. I planned to arrive at camp while the Scouts were at their merit badge sessions. I would join them for lunch and their afternoon activities. I even thought about staying long enough to watch the closing campfire in the evening. I did not plan to stay overnight. I purposely left my sleeping bag and cot at home so I would not be tempted.

      I arrived at MPSC shortly after 10:00 am. By 10:30 I walked into the Seton campsite of the Buckskin Camp to find assistant scoutmaster Eymard busy in the screen porch reading a novel he had brought along. I took a few pictures around the campsite and sat down for an update of how the week was going. We were the only two people in camp. It was very peaceful.

      I had noticed a new building under construction across the road from our campsite. We got up from our chairs and Eymard lead the way to what would be the new Buckskin Handicrafts Lodge. The shell of the building was complete but it still needed siding, screening, and interior finishing. The new building was somewhat larger than the old building which was located about about four or five hundred yards south of the new site. This new lodge also had a basement which could be used as a storm shelter during inclement weather.

      Eymard and I took a short walk to the Buckskin Lodge. I was shocked and surprised to see the two buildings (the lodge and the nearby trading post) had been remodeled into one large building. The lodge interior had been totally redesigned to create a larger meeting room, new staff office, and separate staff kitchen/dining room. I think I stood their for a moment with my mouth open as I walked into the lodge. It was no longer the building I had known for the last 25 years, but I liked the way they had remodeled the area. I had know about the new Handicrafts building, but the lodge was a complete surprise.

      One new feature of the Buckskin Lodge caught my attention almost immediately and brought home how our lifestyles have changed over the last decade. The small mail cubicles for each campsite had been replaced by new larger cubicles, each having its own electrical outlet for adult leaders to plug in their cell phone chargers and other electronic devices. I was told this was a suggestion from Granny, the camp’s chief cook, who had seen a lot of devices plugged in at the dining hall over the last few years. She thought there must be a better way, so the staff came up with a great solution.

      One of the troop’s Boy Scouts was at the trading post when Eymard and I walked in. Eymard decided to go back to the campsite so Alex said he would take me to the other new addition to Buckskin Camp.

      A few years ago Many Point closed the old conservation lodge so it could be used for a new purpose. A yurt was erected in Buckskin to serve as the Nature Center. A new permanent nature lodge is now under construction near the yurt. It looks like this new building will also have a basement that will be able to serve as a storm shelter. The yurt may become a small zoo of local critters found in the area.

      These new changes have me already thinking that I will need to pay the troop a visit next year when they attend Many Point Scout Camp. I want to see how everything turns out and what, if any, new programs will be provided.

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        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “New Feature Film Aims to Pay Tribute to Scout Leaders” 

        Utah based filmmaker Garrett Batty has announced development of SCOUT CAMP: THE KLONDIKE, a feature film tribute to Scout Leaders.  Principal photography is set to begin in October 2012.

        When Batty wrote and directed SCOUT CAMP: THE MOVIE, he had no idea the reception the film would receive.  3 years later, the ultra-independent movie has become a must-see among scouting families, screening at the National Jamboree, and at scouting events all over the country.  “The reception has been wonderful, and the people I have met through the process are remarkable,” Batty says, as he considers those whom he has met over the past 3 years touring with the film.

        Scout Camp: The Klondike Screenwriter Jake Van Wagoner with Director Garrett Batty film a fundraising campaign for their next film.

        It’s that spark that has ignited a fundraising campaign for a brand new scouting movie, this time with a focus on Scout Masters. “Scout leaders deserve their story to be told,” Batty explains. “The time, energy and sacrifices that they make for scouts, and the little recognition that they get– There are some wonderfully relatable stories that would show a positive side of scouting that is not often shared the media.” Working with screenwriting partner and fellow eagle scout Jake Van Wagoner, they’ve come up with SCOUT CAMP: THE KLONDIKE, a full length feature about winter camping, that will finally give hardworking scout masters their time in the sun– or snow. A funding campaign for the independent film has recently been launched on Kickstarter.com, a site that promotes crowdsourcing to launch creative projects.

        “We chose to go to kickstarter as a way to get scouts involved with the film,” explains screenwriter Jake Van Wagoner. Batty joins in, “We’re letting the audience get behind this film BEFORE it is made. As a thanks, we’ll put their name in the credits, or send them a limited edition patch, or even come be an extra in the film. The rewards are pretty amazing…” The kickstarter campaign allows anyone to pledge money to the project, from $10 or more, with different incentives given based on the amount you pledge. However, the film will only be made if the kickstarter campaign gets completely funded before it expires– in this case, May 24th. It’s an incredibly short amout of time to raise enough money to get the film started. “It’s really an urgent campaign, so we hope the audience will make a pledge, then spread the word.”

        With a complete script, a ready crew, and 3 years of gathering scout stories from all over the country, they now look to take the film into production. More information on SCOUT CAMP: THE KLONDIKE can be found at www.scoutcampthemovie.com or find Scout Camp on Facebook.

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          I received some very sorrowful news tonight. Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 has lost one of its members (alumni) last weekend. David Ostendorf died in a plane crash in California. He was 24.

          Dave was a Cub Scout of Pack 68 and graduated to the Boy Scout troop in March 1999. He and his Webelos den formed a new patrol and called themselves the Hazardous Hawks. He attended numerous troop outings and camping trips, including week long stays at Many Point Scout Camp. As he grew older he enjoyed assisting at the yearly council Webelos Woods training, teaching the young Scouts about knife safety. He earned the Star Rank before leaving the troop in 2004.

          David was born on April 1st, 1988. His parents own the local bakery. He has two sisters and a brother, Brad, who was also a Boy Scout. David was living in California where he worked as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration.

          Dave was a good Scout and a great personal friend. He will be missed by me, his family, and all that knew him.

           

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            The monthly roundtable is a meeting for Scout leaders to learn new skills, receive information, and have fun with friends. Sometimes special presentations are made. During this month’s Scenic district roundtable the district executive took a moment to recognize a Boy Scout leader. This leader is about to step down at the end of the year after 30 years of being a scoutmaster for Troop 68 in Melrose. The video was recorded on an iPod by one of the Scouters in attendance.

            Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
            Or watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.

            Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTunes (and rate the show)
            or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
            Leave feedback here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

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              It was a nice warm Saturday morning at the state-wide Ripley Rendezvous last weekend. The sun was shining, There was a nice breeze. It was turning out to be a great day for this Scouting event. Little did we realize that nature had a little surprise in store for us.

              There were three program areas for the Boy Scouts. Two of them were for the boys thirteen and older. Those Scouts went to the northern parts of the Camp Ripley National Guard Base to participate in shooting sports, an obstacle course, and other activities. The 11 and 12 year old Boy Scouts stayed near our campsites and toured the 60 stations in the Action Program. I had one Scout who was in the Action Program so I decided to stay in camp to be with him. A neighboring troop also had one Scout that age and asked if he could join us for the day. Of course he could.

              The morning stations went without a problem. The boys and I picked up our bag lunches and headed back to our campsite to join Eymard, my assistant scoutmaster. The skies were still clear, but the temperature was getting hot and the wind had picked up. The four of us sat around the table under our 10’x10′ dining fly. We had to hold on to our potato chip bags to keep them from blowing away.

              Our campsite was about 50 yards or so from the gravel road. (The campsites were located to the east of this road.) The four of us had almost finished lunch when we spotted a dust devil spinning on the gravel road collecting dust and lose sand. As we watched it began to move in our direction, growing in size, and gaining strength.

              Within seconds, this dust devil had grown to nearly 30 feet or more in diameter. Our campsite was hit dead center. It was like being caught in a very small tornado. The mini-twister lifted our staked-to-the-ground dining fly off the ground and threw it 30 feet to land on top of one of the boy’s tents. A tent pole snapped, the tent went down, and the dining fly rolled a little further.

              Each of the troops to the north and east of us were using 10′ x 20′ ‘carports’ as their dining flies. The mini-twister picked up the carport to the north of us and dropped it upside down onto the side of our two-room leader’s tent. One of the poles from that carport glanced of my back as the boys and I were ducking for cover. The carport in the camp to the east of us was also picked up and moved from its spot.

              Within 10 or 15 seconds the whole thing was over. Boy Scouts from nearby campsites came running over to see if everyone was alright and to help us clean up the mess. None of us were hurt but there was damage to the equipment. Our dining fly was laying on its side, about 40 feet from were it had been. It’s frame was twisted. Some of the joints had been broken. We were able to set it back up but it is a piece that will need to be replaced.

              The boy’s tent that was hit was laying on the ground due to the broken poles. The tent fly was also ripped. We used a branch and duct tape to create a splint to hold the poles together so the boys could still use it one more night. We will cannibalize the tent for parts needed in the future.

              Our adult leader’s tent was leaning to one side. It was standing, but the poles had been bowed when the carport had hit it. A hole had been ripped into the back wall, near the floor. The troop had recently purchased a new tent to replace this nearly twenty year old shelter. I was glad I had not taken the new tent along on this outing. The old tent will now be “put out to pasture.”

              The dining fly/carport of the camp to our north had to be completely taken apart. At least four of the heavy metal poles had been bent. Luckily, the troop had another set of poles along with them. The carport to the east of us did not seem to be damaged. It did not take long for the troop to set it up again once they arrived back in camp after their activities.

              Later that afternoon we saw a couple other tents in other campsites that had also been damaged in the brief strong winds. Another scoutmaster told me their dining fly had also been knocked down. There were no injuries reported.

              It was quite an experience being caught in the middle of a mini-twister. Thankfully we were able to laugh about it. I told the two Boy Scouts that were in our campsite that they now had a story to tell their grandchildren. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures. I did not even think about the camera until we had things cleanup and back in order.

              The picture above shows our campsite and the two neighboring camp’s carports before the mini-twister. The pictures below show a couple of damaged tents from other campsites. Clicking on the pictures will bring up a larger photo.

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                It has been a long time in the making, but it looks like it has finally happened. Cubmaster Chris of the An Hour A Week podcast and father of the PTC Media network of Scouting related podcasts has released this photo of Miss Liberty of the MISS Show and Buttons of the Around The Scouting Campfire podcast.

                What do you think of this happy couple?

                http://yfrog.com/h2ec8dij

                100 Days of Scouting: Day 95.

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