Archive for the ‘News’ Category


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.

 

Thanks for Sharing!

    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.

    Thanks for Sharing!

      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.

      Thanks for Sharing!

        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.

        Thanks for Sharing!

          The Eagle in The Newspaper

          I was looking forward to receiving this week’s Melrose Beacon, our local weekly newspaper. An article about Dakota, our newest Eagle Scout, was included in it. I was curious as to were it would appear in the paper. It took the top fifth of page 5, and it featured a picture of Dakota with his proud parents.

          Herman, the writer of the article, attended the Eagle court of honor. His story included quotes from the ceremony and parts of his interview of Dakota and his parents. It also told the readers a little information about his Eagle project.

          I wish I could have you read the article, but the newspaper website is offline. The newspaper was recently sold and the new owners have been working on having a new site created.

          Thanks for Sharing!

            Our local weekly newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, has been working for a few weeks on an article about the 100th anniversary of the first Boy Scout troops formed in Melrose. Herman, the writer of the article, has sent me a few emails requesting information and the chance to proofread the story which was printed in the April 13th edition. The article began on the front page, lower left corner, and continued on page 3. It included pictures of the current Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack. (Unfortunately, the newspaper’s website in down so I cannot post a link for you to see the article.)

            The Melrose Beacon has supported the local Scouting program for over three decades. Coverage began in 1980 with short articles written by one of the troop committee members and myself about what the Boy Scouts were doing during their troop meetings. Once a month, we would submit an article about the troop’s activity, along with a picture or two. It was a great way for the community to see what the Boy Scouts were doing.

            We do not submit weekly article these days. Usually, it is once a month, covering our weekly activity or a special event like a court of honor, a service project, or an Eagle Scout ceremony. Articles will still include a picture or two.

            I have written hundreds of article over the past 30 years. (I guess you could call them my blog before there was blogging.) I would write the stories by hand and then drop them off at the Beacon office. These days it is all done by email.

            The Melrose Beacon has recently come under new ownership. There is also a new editor. I am thankful that they still plan to continue supporting the local Scouting program. In addition to the recent 100th anniversary article, they will soon be publishing an article about our latest Eagle Scout and one about our waffle supper fundraiser. This week’s newspaper included a story about the troop’s weekend outing at Camp Stearns. I plan to submit a photo of the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts taken in front of the Fire Department’s ladder truck taken during the troop’s open house last Monday.

            Does your local newspaper support your Scouting program? Do you need to submit your own articles or does the paper send someone out to cover the event?

            100 Days of Scouting: Day 74.

            Thanks for Sharing!

              I usually try to keep this blog in an upbeat mood, but I received a letter today from Justin Szalsa, the director of 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem, with some unhappy news this morning. One of the stars of the film, Colin “KC” Byers, has passed away. Here is Justin’s letter, reprinted with his permission:

              Dear friends of 759,

              I am writing you to report some very sad news. As some of you already know, our friend Colin “KC” Byers, an Eagle Scout and a star of “759,” died suddenly on February 1st . He would have celebrated his 18th birthday on February 9th.

              Colin was struck down within a matter of hours by a massive brain trauma related to a blood disorder called ITP that developed very rapidly. Some of you may know that Colin organized a blood drive for his Eagle service project and made it a point to regularly donate blood.

              For the Byers family this is a second tragedy in too short a time–Colin’s father, the composer Patrick Byers, died just a few months earlier after a battle with cancer. Colin leaves behind his mother, Jennifer, two younger brothers and a younger sister—along with a very large family and huge group of friends. The Scouts of New York City, The Village of Harlem, Troop 759, Miss Ann, Mr. Sowah, Jake and I are devastated by the loss of our friend. Please remember Colin and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

              For those of you in New York City, there will be a memorial service in Colin’s honor at LaGuardia High School at 100 Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street on Saturday, February 12th from 10AM-noon.

              Also, many of you have asked how you can materially support the Byers family. The Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils have offered to assist anyone who’d like to make a donation to support the family. The gift will not be tax deductable but your support will go directly to the family. Simply indicate on your check “Byers Family”and mail it to

              Byers Family
              c/o Greater New York Councils
              Boy Scouts of America
              350 Fifth Ave, #430
              New York, NY 10118

              Finally, Albert Maysels, one of the greatest American documentary filmmakers who I admire very much said to make a good documentary you have to love your subjects. Jake and I love KC, Patrick and the rest of the Byers family. We will miss them.

              -Justin Szlasa

              Update: A video has been posted to YouTube in memory of Colin –
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbLWnAtFTMM

              Thanks for Sharing!

                A few days ago I wrote about a full page ad in the weekly newspaper celebrating the anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America and the local Scouting program. The spread featured pictures of the local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. It was pretty impressive.

                I received a copy of the Sauk Centre Herald yesterday. (That is the weekly newspaper in our neighboring town that is also owned by the same group as our Melrose Beacon.) I was quite surprised to see a two page ad about Boy Scouting in the center of the first section. The spread features photos of Sauk Centre Troop 25 and Pack 25, Brooten Troop 66, and BBE Pack 667. Sixteen businesses sponsored the ad. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

                Does your local newspaper do something similar? Let us know about it by leaving a comment.

                Note: The names of the boys have been deleted from the picture as per the Guide To Safe Scouting guidelines.

                Thanks for Sharing!