Archive for the ‘Program’ Category

Last year, during one of our Boy Scout troop meetings, the whole troop ended up in the emergency room of our local hospital. Oh, don’t worry. There were no serious injuries. Our theme for the month was first aid so our committee chairperson set up a tour of the hospital’s emergency room and facilities.

Melrose is a community of 3300 people, but we have a very well staffed hospital. Our emergency room is not as big and chaotic as the one in the television show, or as a big city hospital would be. Our E.R. only has three beds but is fully equipped to handle most emergencies, from heart attacks to car crashes. Luckily for the troop, it was not being used while we were there for our visit.

The nurse was a great tour guide. She was very patient with the Scouts and answered all their questions very professionally. I think there were a couple of times a few of the boys were being grossed out, but you know teenage boys. They like being grossed out.

The nurse began our tour in the entry/garage for the ambulance. Almost immediately, the boys started asking questions. “Has anyone ever died in here?” The nurse told us that sometimes people die on the way to the hospital while being transported by the ambulance, and sometimes they may die in the hospital.

The emergency room was out next stop. The nurse explained the uses for the many pieces of equipment found in the room. The boys were very interested in the “shockers” that are used on some heart attack patients. They were surprised to see the drills and other equipment used to puncture hip and shoulder bones. The various kinds of I.V.’s and fluids also caught their interest.

The nurse lead the troop to the surgery room. Due to the sterile environment needed in there we did not actually get to enter the room, but we were able to look through the door windows into the staff prep room. Once again, the nurse gave a nice but brief summary of the things that happen in the area.

The tour lasted a bit over thirty minutes which was just enough time to give everyone a basic understanding of the E.R. and still have enough time to return to our meeting location (the school gym) and play a game, have a quick patrol meeting, and have our closing.

The troop thanks the staff of the Melrose Centracare Hospital for allowing us to tour their facility.

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    The Cub Scouts of the Central Minnesota Council will have quite a surprise when they attend Day Camp this year the Parker Scout Reservation. The medieval them will come to life like never before with the completion of the new Miller Castle. Yeah, you read that correctly. A castle! Complete with a courtyard surrounded by masonry walls and towers at the corners.

    During last night’s district roundtable we were shown pictures of the nearly completed castle. I will not lie. I was impressed. From the masonry exterior to the medieval decor on the interior of the building it appears to have captured the feel of the “knights of old” very well.

    Of course, the castle includes all of today’s modern conveniences. The building is well insulated and heated for year round use. It has a large modern kitchen and a large “commons” room for dining and activities. There are separate bathroom and shower facilities for the youth and adults. A “barracks”, complete with bunk beds, is available for troops and packs who wish to use the building for overnight stays. The basement adds one more storm shelter to the camp, in addition to a large storage area for program materials.

    I am looking forward to going to Parker this spring and touring the castle. I believe it will be a great addition to the camp and will help to increase the number of Scouts, packs, and troops who use the facilities.

    Pictures of the Miller Castle can be seen at our council’s website at .

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      Today, the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 will participate in the yearly LPMRB outing. It is a twelve hour activity extravaganza that is very popular with the boys.

      The outing begins with a few hours of rollerskating at a local roller rink in St. Cloud. “Rollerskating?” you ask. Yes, rollerskating, or inline skating. The boys still enjoy getting out once a year to skate. The younger boys learn how to skate while the older boys like to do some socializing. It is still a great social activity.

      After the work-out at the roller rink, the troop heads to their favorite pizza place for supper. We have discovered that four boys per large pizza seems to work out well. As we eat, the Scouts review the day at the rink and talk about other subjects interesting to the life of teenage boys.

      One topic that must be discussed is which movie to see when we leave the pizzeria. Of course, this being a Scout activity, no R rated movies will be allowed. A PG-13 movie could be allowed depending on the reason for the movie, and how strong that reason is. For some reason, I do not think that the new movie Twilight will be high on the list today. I think we will be going to the new James Bond flick.

      The final activity of the day is Midnight Bowling at the local bowling alley. This will take place from 11:30 pm to 1:00 am. I am amazed by how much energy the boys still have at this point of the day. (Of course, some Mountain Dew helps things along.) They are usually still going strong, looking to bowl that perfect game, or at least get a strike on their score sheet.

      I have heard from many parents over the years that the boys fall asleep quickly once they arrive at home. They usually sleep as late as they are allowed on Sunday morning.

      I will admit that this is not your typical Boy Scout outing, but it is a part of our boy-planned yearly program. It is an activity that most of the boys enjoy, and it is very well attended. In fact, nine of the ten members of the troop will be going along today. It has proven to be a good one-day activity for these Minnesota winter months.

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        There are some people in our society that think children should play games in which there are no clear winners. They think everyone should be a winner so that nobody’s feelings get hurt. There are some people in Boy Scouting that share these same thoughts. Everyone wins, no one loses.

        Sorry, but I do not share that sentiment. Life is made up of winners and losers. Just ask the guy that got the job that the other guy really wanted. Or the high school basketball player who missed the winning shot. Or the Cub Scout who won the Pinewood Derby.

        Having winners and losers is not the problem. How we act when we win or lose is more important. Or, as parents and adult leaders, how we treat the winners or losers is the most important thing.

        Professional sports is all about winning or losing. I can understand this since these sports are actually an entertainment business. Millions of dollars are on the line. But the players, coaches, and team owners do not always set a good example of graceful winning or losing.

        I do not like that same attitude used at the high school level. I am not a fan of parents, coaches, and schools applying a “win or nothing” attitude on their teenage players. Get rid of that “only winners count” attitude. It can be extremely stressful to the players. Yes, there should be competition, and yes, there needs to be a winner and a loser, but how we adults treat the two will demonstrate whether we provide a harmful environment or a growing environment for the students and players.

        In the Scouting program we try to provide a growing and learning environment. We do not want to provide an atmosphere where winners mock the losers. Ideally, we want the winners to help the others to do a better job the next time. We want the winners to help the losers become winners also! We want everyone to “do their best”.

        We play a lot of games in our troop, both by team and individually. Each team and Scout tries hard to win. He does his best to win. Yes, we do have winners and losers. The difference is that we do not let the winners gloat over the losers. Oh, there might be a minute of high fives, or a couple of comments, but the boys do it in the spirit of fun, not out of spite. In three minutes they don’t even care anymore because they have moved on to the next activity. To tell the truth, there have been many times when the Scouts are playing a game when they do not even try hard to keep a score. They are more concerned about having fun than they are about a scorecard.

        I guess you could say the boys have learned the lesson. Winning or losing is not as important as having fun and being with your friends is. And as adults we need to remember that how we treat the winners and losers is the the most important thing of all. Our attitudes can make winners out of the losers too.

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          The weekend had arrived for the mini-camporee. The Boy Scout troops from Albany, Avon, and Sauk Centre had arrived at the site Friday night. The Scouts from Melrose arrived early Saturday morning due to the high school homecoming football game held Friday night.

          When the four Scouts from Troop 68 arrived at my house at 7:00 that morning, it did not take me long to notice that something was missing. No one had taken time to get the food for the outing. I was not happy, but to tell the truth, I was not surprised. During the troop meeting four nights earlier the boys had been arguing about who would get the food. “I don’t have time.” “I got it the last time.” No one wanted to do it. As I watched the boys load the truck I thought to myself, “This is a great way to begin the outing.” We ended up leaving town thirty minutes late, after the boys went to the store to do some shopping.

          The rest of the weekend went very well. Once we had camp set up we went to work to prepare the blowgun target range. The four activity sessions began at 9:30, with each troop doing their own sponsored activity first to make sure the kinks were worked out before the other troops came through. The Troop 68 Scouts did all four stations before lunch, but I discovered later they had only completed half of the first aid activity.

          Most of the afternoon was open time so each troop could plan its own activities. My Scouts did some exploration of the woodland in which we were camped. Then we played disc golf for nine holes, or maybe I should say tree trunks. A church service, hosted by our troop, finished off the afternoon.

          Supper was quite interesting. It was a pot luck, and boy, was there a lot to eat. There were brats, baked beans, chili, and beef stew. My troop made fried potatoes and spaghetti with meat sauce, which quickly vanished from the table. Desert was pudding served in ice cream cones, topped with cool whip. It was a little messy, but no one complained. No one left the meal hungry.

          The evening program began with a camp-wide Capture the Flag game, which was played in the dark. A few of us adults were a little concerned about playing in the dark, but the boys had a great time. In fact, many of the boys were so tired after the game that they turned in for the night instead of going to the planned campfire program. The Scouts from Troop 68 were the only boys to show up at the campfire so they did not stick around long.

          The outing was a complete success and we are already talking about doing another camporee next fall, and maybe even doing some training sessions together.

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            Earlier this year, a few adult troop leaders from neighboring communities got together after a roundtable and began talking about having a mini-camporee. The goal was to get the local troops together for a weekend, line up a few activities, and let the Scouts get to know each other. I missed the first and only organizational meeting due to a family matter, so it was emails and phone calls from there on.

            Each of the four troops was responsible for an activity. The activities would be conducted in a round robin fashion from Saturday morning to the early afternoon. The Sauk Centre troop prepared a blind soccer activity. The troop from Albany planned theirs around orienteering. Avon put together a first aid demonstration.

            I wanted Troop 68 to do something unique, something that most of the Scouts had not done before. My troop owns two blowguns so I brought up the idea to the membership about setting up a blowgun target range. They liked the idea and thought it would be fun.

            A little over a week before the camporee I visited the land where the camporee would be held with one of the adult leaders from the Albany troop which was hosting the event. It was privately owned land about 3 or 4 miles southeast of Albany. There was a great wooded area for camping, and a large grassland for activities. It would work very well for our outing. The owner of the land was very supportive and told us that two of his sons had earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

            The date of the camporee was chosen by the Albany and Avon troops so it would not take place during their school’s homecoming weekend. Unfortunately, the weekend they chose happened to be the weekend of Melrose’s homecoming weekend. It did not present any problem though. The Scouts from Troop 68 went to the camporee early Saturday morning instead of Friday evening. There was not any program planned for the outing on Friday night so it worked out well.

            As the weekend approached I bought some targets and a large blue tarp to act as a backdrop for the range. After all, I did not want to lose any of the small darts in the brush if I did not have to. I also began watching the weather forecast. It looked like it could be a cool and wet weekend. I do not like camping on cool and wet weekends anymore after twenty eight years of Scouting. Oh well, too late to back out now.

            (To be continued…)

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              The first time the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 scheduled a trip to southern Wisconsin to spend a weekend at Eagle Caves we had one young Scout who was very excited about going spelunking. In fact, after a month about hearing him talk about nothing except spelunking we finally had to turn down his excitement a bit because it was getting on everyone’s nerves.

              Eagle Caves is a large privately owned cave. Scouts and youth groups can make arrangements to spend the weekend camping in and exploring the cave. Campgrounds, a shower house, and a dining hall are all located on the site. We visited the cave during the winter months so we chose to stay inside the cave, along with a couple dozen other troops.

              Due to the seven hour trip from Melrose to Eagle caves we did not arrive until after 11:00 Friday evening. The staff placed us just inside the entrance to the cave. The entrance had a door to keep the cave at a constant year round temperature.

              After breakfast in the dining hall Saturday morning, the boys began their spelunking experience. The cave was quite large and they were many nooks, crannies, and tunnels to explore. The main areas of the cave were large and easy to walk through. Other areas, especially the tunnels, could be so small that you would crawl on your belly to get into them. It did not take long for the boys’ clothes to be covered in cave dirt and slim.

              Jeff, the father of one of the boys, and I were relaxing in the cave when his son and another Scout ran up to us. They were excited about a tunnel they found and they wanted us to follow them and explore it. Okay, we were game.

              The tunnel entrance was small, like crawling on your hands and knees small. The boys charged into the tunnel, leaving Jeff and me to follow. We were starting to have second thoughts but we got down to the floor and followed them. Soon, we were flat on our bellies creeping through the shrinking tunnel. We could hear the squeals of delight ahead of us. The tunnel finally opened into a small area in with Jeff and I could stand at an angle, but the tunnel continued through another small opening.

              As we stood there in that tight little area, I had a completely random thought. “What if an earthquake would happen?” I asked Jeff. That was the last straw. We were done. We could back on our bellies and shimmied our way back out of the tunnel.

              Jeff and I did not explore anymore tight tunnels that weekend, but the boys had a great time.

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                The Patrol Leader Council has created the Troop 68 program for the September 2008 to August 2009 year. I think they did a pretty good job. It is not quite as ambitious as past years, but that is okay. Several of the Scouts wish to attend the 2010 National Jamboree so they scaled down the program a bit, but they still let it include plenty of opportunity to have fun and experience great Scouting. Here is a brief summary of the upcoming program year.

                September 2008 – The theme for the month is Freaky First Aid. The fall breakfast fundraiser kicks off with the Scouts preselling tickets. The outing will see the troop camping at one of their favorite spots south of town, on Hellermann’s property. The month ends with a court of honor held at the city hall.

                October 2008 – The theme this month is Tweaked Out Training, with leadership training as the goal. Two service projects will be held on October 4 as the Scouts participate in the Scouting For Food Drive, and do their annual fall road-up project. The fall breakfast fundraiser will be held on October 5. The troop plans to camp with other troops in the area during a small mini-camporee held later in the month.

                November 2008 – This month’s theme sounds a little strange, “Go Games Sports”. Popcorn orders will be taken. The outing is the LPMRB, which is an acronym for laser tag, pizza, movie, rollerblading, and bowling. This makes for a long day.

                December 2008 – Personal Safety is the theme this month, including internet safety. Activities include a day of downhill skiing at Powder Ridge Ski Resort and the troop’s Christmas party. The troop will hold a court of honor before taking a break over the Christmas holidays.

                January 2009 – Swimming safety is the theme. You know, like Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat. The Order of the Arrow Lodge will hold its winter banquet this month. The troop’s activity will be an overnighter with plenty of games and movies. Unfortunately, there will not be a Laughs For Lunch Show this year.

                February 2009 – Arctic Adventure is the cool theme for the month. The Scouts will participate in Scout Sunday on February 8. The winter outing will see the boys at Camp Stearns. Don’t forget to bring your sleds.

                March 2009 – The subject of March will be Wild Wilderness. Things like the Outdoor Code and the Wilderness Pledge will be discussed. The troop plans to go to a waterpark for its activity. The month will end with the first court of honor of the new year.

                April 2009 – Low Impact Camping will continue the camping theme started last month. The troop’s spring breakfast fundraiser will be held on April 5. The troop will be participating the the council annual Ripley Rendezvous which will be held at the Camp Ripley National Guard Base in central Minnesota.

                May 2009 – Let’s learn a few more dishes to cook up as we hit the theme of Crazy Cool Chef. The local Order of the Arrow Lodge will have its spring conclave this month. The troop will be going to Camp Watchamagumee for a three night mega-weekend toward the end of the month.

                June 2009 – Cycling is this month’s theme. Time to get some work done for the merit badge. The troop will travel to King’s Lake for a weekend camping trip. The troop will also help out the community by cleaning up the park during the city’s summer festivities. And don’t forget this month’s court of honor.

                July 2009 – We will be spending a week at Many Point Scout Camp in the middle of this month. Lots of fun and activities, and maybe even the chance to learn a few new things.

                August 2009 – The program year wraps up with a theme of Medieval Madness. I think we may be looking back in time toward the middle ages. The month’s activities will fit in well when the Scouts go to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and Valleyfair Amazement Park. The patrol leader council will hold its annual planning conference early in the month to plan the next program year.

                So, that is the Troop 68 program for the next twelve months. How does it stack up to your troop’s program?

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