Archive for the ‘Program’ Category


t68logoI like working with the Scouts. I think it is one of the best organizations for a boy or young man to be a member of. That is why I was a scoutmaster for thirty years, and than stayed on as a committee member. That is why I am now serving as a cubmaster.

I can usually juggle the troop duties and the pack duties without much of a problem. The pack meetings and activities are only three or four days a month. The troop only needs a few days a month of my time. It is pretty easy scheduling.

March was more challanging. The Cub Scout schedule was easy. The den meetings were held on the first Monday of the month. The pack meeting was on the third Monday. The pack committee meeting was on the 23rd. There was only three evenings of Cub Scout meetings.

My Boy Scout schedule, on the other hand, grew almost out of control. The troop decided to work on the Scouting Heritage merit badge in March. Guess who happens to be the merit badge councilor? I told the troop I would be able to attend the meeting the the second Monday, and could maybe get away from the den meetings on the first Monday, but the third troop meeting of the month I could not attend. I think this is a great merit badge for Boy Scouts to earn so I really wanted to help out as much as I was able.

The troop also had a court of honor on the fourth Monday of March. As the troop’s advancement coordinator I planned to attend. The troop’s spring fundraiser was a breakfast held on Palm Sunday. Since a fire at the local church affected our plans we held a special parents meeting to find a new location. I love to play play disc golf, so I agreed to be a chaperone for the month’s disc golf outing held on Saturday, the 19th. I offered to conduct a junior leader training course for the newly elected junior troop leaders later that same day. And then, of course, there was the regular troop committee meeting. Oh, and don’t forget the district roundtable. As you can see, my Boy Scout schedule became very busy in March.

It has been quite awhile since I have had ten days of Scouting meetings and activities in a single month. When I was the scoutmaster it happened quite often. In fact, it almost seemed normal. But this is not normal for my schedule anymore.

Oh well, it may have been a busy month, but it was worth it. And it was fun. And hopefully, several of the Boy Scouts will earn their Scouting Heritage merit badge.

Thanks for Sharing!

    discgolf2016The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 sure like their disc golf. They like it so well that for the last few years they have planned a disc golf outing as part of their yearly program. Central Minnesota has several disc golf courses. In fact, I believe there are nine or ten within a 35 mile range of Melrose. Grab your discs and let’s play a game!

    This last weekend was a busy one for the Scouts. Saturday began with a disc golf triathlon, followed by a junior leader training session, and ending with Sunday’s breakfast fundraiser. It would be enough to tire out Boy Scouts, adult leaders, and parents.

    Saturday morning, March 19th, began with a strong chill in the air. That chill was partially due to the snowfall we had the day before and overnight. We had been hoping for a nice day since the weekend before had seen temperatures in the upper 60’s, and those temps had melted the remaining snow. Oh well, time to lace up the boots and grab the winter jackets as we loaded up the cars to head to our first course of the triatholon.

    We drove 35 miles to get to our first stop, the Riverside Park course in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It is one of the nicest course in the county. Unfortunately, it was not a good course to play one this day. We noticed very quickly as we drove along the park that all the disc golf baskets had been removed. We did not see a single one. Not even the practice baskets were in place. We needed a different course to play.

    Fortunately, the Calvary Park 18 hole course was only a few miles away. The Scout’s smiles returned as we saw the baskets were still in place. Since it was the first time the troop had played this course it sometimes took a few minutes to discover were the next tee boxes and baskets were located. The course was challanging as it contained a wooded hillside that presented many branches to deflect throws. Not that it mattered too much. The Scouts still had plenty of fun. And to make it even better, the snow had begun to melt before we left the course.

    Since it was nearly the noon hour we stopped at White Castle for lunch. Most of the boys had never eaten at the fast food chain before this stop. Most of them ordered a four pack of Sliders, the White castle hamburger. Later that day, some of the Scouts discovered the secret meaning of the Slider name.

    The second course of the tour was the 18 baskets found at Millstream Park in St. Joseph. By the time we arrived a lot of the snow had melted. That also meant the millstream was flowing. The well known water hazards of the park would now have to be considered as we threw discs around the course. Unfortunately, some of the discs did land in the water hazards. Some discs the Scouts were able to retrieve using long sticks and branches, but four of them were left behind in the deeper bone-chilling water. The nature of this course slowed us down to the point that by the time we finished it was too late to play the third planned course. We had a junior leader training session to begin at 5:00. The triathlon had turned into a biathalon.

    Even though we lost a few discs, and two of the boys decided to test the temperature of the water by sliding into the stream toward the end of the game, we all had a great time and look forward to playing a lot more games this summer.

    DGgroup032016

    Thanks for Sharing!

      JTE-White1I would like to see Cub Scout Pack 68 earn the 2015 Journey To Excellence (JTE) award because I think we can do it. I made this statement during last night’s pack committee meeting, and than reviewed the requirements. By the time I finished I believe the committee was in agreement with me.

      Pack 68 of Melrose went into a reboot this fall. We have a brand new committee and a new cubmaster (me). We are all learning the Cub Scout program as we move forward and I would say we are making good strides. As we attempt to earn the 2015 JTE it will help us to provide a better blueprint for the program as we enter the new year.

      There are three levels a pack could attain when qualifying for the Journey To Excellence award. It starts with a Bronze Level. Silver is the next step up. Gold is the highest level a pack may earn. So which level could Pack 68 earn?

      The pack’s 2014 program year did not qualify for the JTE award. There are a number of factors why but I think it really came down to the pack did not know about the challenge and what requirements needed to be met. As this year’s cubmaster I want the pack to try to achieve it.

      After looking over the requirements for the 2015 Journey To Excellence, and reviewing them with the pack committee, we agree that this is attainable. While the Gold Level will be out of our reach we should be able to reach the Bronze Level by adding to and revising our program a little. There is a slight chance we could even achieve the Silver Level.

      The pack should be able to reach the Bronze or Silver Level of the first four objectives without too much problem. We feel that if we provide a good program and promote the pack more during the year we should see an increase in membership this fall, while retaining most of our current membership. I also plan to invite the Boy Scouts to attend a few pack activities to assist with making the Cub Scouts feel comfortable about graduating into the Boy Scout program.

      The Program objectives is where we need to do the most work. There has not been an emphasis on advancement so we need to promote more of that during the next year. We are planning to add more outdoor activities for the 2015 schedule, and promote the district’s day and resident camps. We will be planning 3, maybe 4, service projects, including one conservation project. We already plan to have 8 or 9 pack meetings, but having dens meet twice a month will probably not happen this year.

      The Leadership objectives will present a challenge. We should be able to attain the Bronze Level easily. We might be able to attain the Silver Level but it will take some work. The Gold Level will be out of our reach for the coming year, but you never know. Maybe the parents will surprise me before this fall.

      I did a quick estimate of each of the 2015 objectives. I did not check a Gold Level for any of them, but did mark a Bronze or Silver Level for each one. When I added up the score I discovered we should be able to make the Bronze Level. The Silver Level is within our reach if we work a little harder and plan a little better.

      My goal is to present a revised plan for the 2015 program to the pack committee at their January meeting. If they agree to it, and the pack gets behind it, the Cub Scouts will receive a new patch during the 2015 December pack meeting to add to their uniforms. That would be awesome.

      The requirements for the 2015 Journey To Excellence award can be seen at:
      http://www.scouting.org/filestore/mission/pdf/2015_JTE_Pack_Scorecard.pdf

      Thanks for Sharing!

        discgolfwaterThis month is the beginning of the new 2014-2015 program for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. The Scouts got together one Saturday last month and plotted out their monthly themes and activities for another year. A few of the traditional outings made it in, and a few new ones joined the program. Here is a look at the schedule for the next twelve months.

        September 2014: Safe trip afloat/ canoe safety
        1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings Popcorn sales
        9 – Committee Meeting
        18 – School night to join scouting
        22 – Court Of Honor
        26-28 – canoe trip and camp out
        29 – PLC Meeting

        October 2014: Leave no trace/packing
        6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
        6 – start ticket sales for supper
        6 – Popcorn Sales Due to Chris
        14 – Committee Meeting
        25 – Road Cleanup
        24-26 – Kramer’s/clay pigeon shoot
        27 – PLC Meeting

        November 2014: Knot tying
        1 – Troop fundraiser supper
        3, 10, 17 – Troop Meetings
        18 – Committee Meeting
        22-23 – Overnight/ rock climbing
        24 – PLC Meeting

        December 2014: Personal fitness/ management/advancement
        1, 8 – Troop Meetings
        9 – Committee Meeting
        13 – Snow Tubing/Christmas Party
        15 – Court Of Honor

        January 2015: first aid/ fire safety
        5, 12,19 – Troop Meetings
        20 – Committee Meeting
        24 – Water Park Brainerd
        26 – PLC Meeting

        February 2015: Uniforms/Sewing
        2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
        17 – Committee Meeting
        20-22 – Camp Stearns
        23 – PLC Meeting

        March 2015: Merit badge/Advancements
        2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
        17 – Committee Meeting
        21 – LPMRB Outing
        23 – Court Of Honor
        30 – PLC Meeting

        April 2015: Cooking
        6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
        17-19 – Watchamagumee
        18 – Scouting for food drop off
        25 – Road Cleanup/scouting for food pick up
        21 – Committee Meeting
        27 – PLC Meeting

        May 2015: Swim Safety
        4, 11, 18 – Troop Meetings
        15-17- Ripley Rendezvous
        18 – Summer Camp Meeting (Parents & Scouts)
        19 – Committee Meeting
        25 – PLC Meeting

        June 2015 Fire Starting/Campfires
        1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings
        16 – Committee Meeting
        19-21 – Camp out/Disc Golf
        22 – Court Of Honor
        29 – PLC Meeting

        July 2015: Summer Camp
        12-18 – Summer camp

        August 2015: Geocaching/ Hike safety
        1 – Yearly Planning Session
        3, 10, 17- Troop Meetings
        18 – Committee Meeting
        21-23- Sibley Camp Out
        24 – PLC Meeting

        Thanks for Sharing!

          2015RipleyFlyerThe 2014 council wide Ripley Rendezvous is now a part of history, but the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 can already look forward to attending a bigger and better rendezvous in 2015. Next year will be time for the Area-Wide Ripley Rendezvous which will bring Boy Scouts from all over the state of Minnesota, and a few Scouts from neighboring states, to the central Minnesota National Guard base. I believe at least four councils, if not five, work together to plan this activity.

          There will be three programs provided for the Boy Scouts, based on the Scouts’ age. The Extreme Program, for ages 14 and older will include Military Demonstrations, Team Challenges, Obstacle Course, Biathlon Course, Climbing & Rappelling, and a Zip Line. The Adventure Program, for 13 and older, will include Military Demonstrations, Hunting Instructionals, North Range Shooting Sports, Tomahawk Throw, Voyageurs Reenactment Group, and Historical Firearms Demos. The Action Center, open to all Scouts, will include Hands-On Activities/Displays, Rocket Launching, Outdoor Skills Training, Military Equipment, DNR & State Patrol Demos, and Pro Fishing Celebrities.

          Special events for the weekend include Interactive Drone Flights, Military Honor Guard, MN Military Museum Tours (which is a favorite of our Boy Scouts), a Saturday Night Stage Show, Saturday Night Fireworks, and a Celebrity Fun Run. The Trading Post will be loaded with all kinds of goodies and special weekend souvenirs.

          This event will be held on May 15-17, 2015. The cost per participant in only $45, which is not too bad considering the program offered. Troops will set up camp in a jamboree style setting.

          Thanks for Sharing!

            2014_Ripley_Rendezvous_AdIt is time once again for the Boy Scouts of the Central Minnesota Council to gather at Camp Ripley for the Ripley Rendezvous, an annual event hosted by the council and Camp Ripley. Camp Ripley is a National Guard Base found in central Minnesota near Little Falls. I know this weekend outing has been going on for at least 40 years because I remember attending when I was a young Boy Scout.

            Ten Boy Scouts from Troop 68 are enjoying the fun offered by the program this weekend. What are they doing, you ask? Well, according to the council’s website:

            Ripley Rendezvous 2014 “Aim High!” will be held the Camp Ripley Army National Guard Training Facility, Camp Ripley, MN. This spring time event is truly a unique opportunity to utilize the traning facility’s ranges and buildings in presenting two distinct levels of involvement.

            The Adventure Program will be conducted at the ranges for everyone that enjoys shooting sports. Scouts will be using shot guns, .22 rifles, 50 cal. black powder inlines, archery, tomahawks, and sling shots; all skills that need a great deal of concentration to perform at your best.

            The Scout Ops is an Extreme program for the older Boy Scouts and Venturers, who are ready for a more rigorouse program using advanced physical and mental trials that go along with team work and goal accomplishment. The personal satisfaction of knowing you did your best, no matter the outcome is something to be proud of. This older Scout program will have several static displays, exhibits and hands-on activities for everyone who wants a tougher challenge.

            This is similar to the program of the last few years. While our Scouts were looking forward to attending the rendezvous I have heard that overall numbers of participants are down. It might be time to change up the program and offer something different next time.

            Thanks for Sharing!

              2013 auction prizesI was looking for a way to further excite the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 to attend troop activities and earn their advancement when I came up with the idea of having a troop auction for prizes at the end of the year. I do not remember if I got the idea from another troop or if I came up with it myself. I do know that it has been a part of our program for over twenty years, and that other Scouts leaders have developed their own auction programs after listening to how Troop 68 conducts theirs.

              Here is how it works. The Scouts earn “troop bucks” each time they go on an outing and for each merit badge and rank they earn during the year. They earn $25 per troop outing. They earn $50 for each merit badge. They earn $100 for attaining Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class; $150 for attaining Star or Life Rank; and $200 for reaching the rank of Eagle Scout. These bucks are then used to bid on prizes during the “troop auction” held after the December court of honor.

              When I first began doing the auction I would hand out troop bucks at each court of honor. The bucks were actually Monopoly money with our troop stamp stamped over the top of it so the boys could not use Monopoly money from their own games. The Scouts had to store the money themselves. If they lost it it would not be replaced.

              The Monopoly money worked well for a few years, but then Monopoly money disappeared from store shelves. Another problem was that brothers started pooling their money together to bid on the bigger prizes. That was not the way the bucks were meant to be used and was very unfair to those Scouts who did not have brothers in the troop.

              I created a troop bucks certificate on the computer to replace the Monopoly money. The certificate contained the Scout’s name. amount earned, and the year earned. Certificates could only be used by the person who’s name appeared on it. The year on the certificate helped to keep things honest for the one prize we auctioned for which only bucks earned that year could be used to bid. I also awarded the certificate once a year, at the December court of honor. That created less work for me and less chance of Scouts losing the bucks before the year’s last court of honor.

              Any unused troop bucks could be saved to be used another year on regular prizes. Once a Scout turned 18 years old his troop bucks became non-valid. It was interesting to watch older Scouts try to use up any troop bucks they owned at their last auction before they turned eighteen. Bidding is done in $5 increments.

              We I started the troop auction we based the amount spent on prizes by the amount of advancement earned during the year. A certain amount would be added to the kitty for each merit badge and rank. The more the Scouts advanced, the more money was thrown into the kitty, and the more prizes or bigger prizes could be bought. That worked well until the troop started shrinking. Ten Scouts had trouble earning a large fund so we changed the financing to a lump some. I also based the number of prizes on the number of Scouts currently enrolled in the program. We did not need 30 prizes when we only had eight Scouts.

              I also wanted to keep the cost of the auction down so I began looking for prizes throughout the year, not just a month before the auction. I started getting pretty good and finding nice items for free or little cost.

              Each auction contains some “traditional” items. There is the Boy Scout Handbook, because someone is going to wear theirs out during the year. Boy Scout bolo ties and merit badge sashes have also been used as prizes on a regular basis. I usually try to include some sort of camping gear. And then there are some fun prizes, of course.

              Tonight is Troop 68’s final court of honor for the year. The troop auction will immediately follow it. The picture posted with this article shows most of the prizes which will be auctioned. A merit badges sash is missing, as is the $20 cash prize for which only 2013 troop bucks will be allowed to be used to bid. There will be a lot of first time bidders at this auction. It should be a good night.

              Has your troop does anything like this as a part of your program?

              Thanks for Sharing!

                Philmont ArrowheadSome of my favorite Scouting memories are from my trips to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. I have been lucky enough to attend Philmont six times: once for scoutmaster training and five times on a trek with the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. Needless to say, Philmont holds a special place in the heart of this long time Scouter.

                It has been ten years since Troop 68 has planned a high adventure trip, so at Wednesday’s committee meeting I brought up the idea that we should start planning for one. We discussed briefly each of the four national bases, the approximate costs of each one, and transportation issues. We talked about the two to three years of planning and fundraising required for this type of outing, and how it would give the younger Scouts something to look forward to as they get older.

                Of course, I am partial to Philmont. The Charles Sommers Canoe Base would be the closest and least expensive. The Florida Sea Base would be a fantastic adventure but also the most expensive, probably. We talked a little about the Summit in Virginia, but we did not have much information about that base yet. The committee decided to bring it up to the Boy Scouts to get their opinions.

                The theme of the Scenic District’s January roundtable is High Adventure. I am going to have to try to get our scoutmaster and maybe a few Scouts to attend this meeting. In fact, one of our Scouts participated in a Philmont trek this summer so I am going to ask him to come to the meeting and give us a brief summary of his experience.

                Talking about Philmont at the committee meeting. Upcoming theme about high adventure bases at the next roundtable. Add to this that I was watching the Philmont Documentary Collection DVD this week and you can see that I have been thinking about Philmont a lot recently.

                On Thursday I received a surprise when I looked through my mail. There was a letter from Philmont Scout Ranch. Talk about timing! I thought it was a brochure about the treks available for Boy Scouts. My surprise grew when I discovered it was an invitation to attend the Philmont Training Center in the summer of 2014. I was grinning from ear to ear.

                I called Bob, my district executive, to ask him about this. After all, you do not get an invitation unless your council recommends you. He explained that my name was on the short list that the council thought might be interesting in attending a course at the ranch. He also told me that he was thinking about attending a course himself. If I decided to attend, and our courses happened to be the same week, we could drive down together.

                As I hung up the phone I could not help but think about all the Philmont related coincidences that happened this week. Add to this that 2014 would be the 30th anniversary of my first trip to Philmont (for training) and the 10th anniversary of the last time I attended the ranch (for a trek with the troop).

                It almost seems like I am being called back to those starlit skies above, those aspen covered hills, and the country that I love. Is it time to return to Scouting’s paradise?

                Thanks for Sharing!