Archive for the ‘Training’ Category


Melrose Troop 68 had chosen the theme of hunting and gun safety for the month of October. This theme almost begged to have special guests brought in. After a short discussion it was thought to have someone from the Melrose police department come to talk to the Scouts during one meeting and someone from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources come in for another one.

The police chief himself came to the October 14th meeting. Police Chief Craig Maus spoke with the Scouts about gun safety and some of the different types of guns. He certainly kept the boys attention as he displayed a few items he brought to the meeting. It is always nice the have Chief Maus stop by for a visit. He was a member of Troop 68 for a short time as a youth.

At the following week’s meeting two officers from the Minnesota DNR stooped by to talk about the hunting rules in Minnesota. Officer Caleb Silgjord and his associate not only talked about hunting laws but they also brought along various animal furs for the Scouts to check out. Once again, the Scouts had a good time learning about hunting and gun safety.

The troop would like to thank the officers for coming to their meeting and sharing their knowledge.

The Scenic District of the Central Minnesota Council held its final roundtable meeting of the year on Tuesday, December 11. I have not attended a roundtable for quite awhile but I attended this one because I was asked to speak about the B. S. A.’s high adventure bases. I am glad I did attend this meeting.

Scoutmaster Dave Norling of Melrose Area Troop 68 was recognized with two awards during the meeting. He received his certificate for completing “Basic Leader Training.” He also received the special council neckerchief for being 100% trained. I believe he may be second adult leader of Troop 68 who has received the neckerchief. District executive Sam Ross made the presentations.

Congratulations to Scoutmaster Dave Norling!

The Boy Scouts of America needed a new place to hold the 2013 National Jamboree. Fort A.P. Hill, located in Virginia and the site of several previous Jamborees, would no longer be available for this major event. After a lot of searching and fundraising, the B.S.A. purchased property in the mountains of West Virginia and quickly began developing the site for its needs. The Summit Bechtel Reserve opened on time for the 2013 Jamboree and became a hit with the Scouts and adult leaders.

A special program was held during three weeks of the summer of 2018 at this new high adventure base. The Summit Adventure Leadership Training course, also known as SALT, introduced Scouts to the various programs offered at The Summit. Thanks to a generous donor, the cost of the 5 day course was reduced to $45 per participant, plus the cost of transportation.

When the Central Minnesota Council received this information they began the process of trying to create a contingent of 40 or more Scouts. If they could find the forty Scouts the cost would be $325 per participant, which included the cost of a charter bus. Four Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 quickly registered for this event. Two of the troop’s adult leaders applied to be adult leaders. One was chosen to be one of the four chaperones for the trip.

The contingent of 42 Scouts and four adult leaders left the council office in Sartell Sunday evening on July 22nd and arrived at The Summit Monday afternoon. During the next few days the crew members received a sampling of many of the high adventure activities which included BMX biking, mountain biking, skateboarding, a high ropes course, rock climbing, shooting sports, and more. They even visited areas of the base that most campers never get a chance to visit, such as the logistics center. Two highlights of the trip were the 3200 foot long zip line Tuesday morning, and the white water rafting adventure Thursday morning.

Was the trip a success? Did the Scouts have fun? Well, let’s put it this way. When the Melrose Scouts were asked if they would like to go back for a full high adventure program they all agreed they would love to have the chance to go back to The Summit. I guess the answer to the question would be “Yes!”

Being a Boy Scout leader can be serious work. And it can be a lot of fun. Sometimes we can look at ourselves and have a spot of fun at our own expense. That is why I like some of the “special” awards I have seen some councils and troops develop over the years.

A few years ago our council developed a special award for Scout Leaders, The Nap On Safely Award. After all, naps are serious business! If you need to take one during an afternoon while at camp you want to be sure you are doing it properly and safely. This is so important we took time during one of our roundtables to have a training session for this critical award. Here were some of the subjects covered to earning it:

Remember the S.L.E.E.P. acronym.
Safety
Lifestyle
Environment
Enjoyment
Practice

Safety: location, equipment, preventative measures .
Locations: shelters, cots, mats, tables prefer not, chairs, benches.
Environment: hydration, shade, air conditioning or wind, become one with nature.
Enjoyment: relax, timing, find your happy place.
Practice: frequently, consistency, trial and error, repeat, more than 45 minutes is sleeping and not napping.

Once a Scout Leader completed the training he or she received the patch to hang on the right pocket of their uniform. Does your council have a similar award?

beagle Wood BadgeI partook in Wood Badge training way back in 1990. From what I hear, the current Wood Badge course is a little different than the one I attended. I did not plan to go to a course that year until another Scout leader decided to give me a kick by registering me. I was a little upset at first but soon was glad I went through with it. I had fun and learned quite a bit about being a good adult leader in the troop. By the way, I am a Bobwhite, and a good ol’ Bobwhite too.

I recently came across a picture online that combined my favorite Beagle Scout, Snoopy, with a hint to take Wood Badge training. I never realized the the troop leader of Woodstock and his friends was Wood Badge trained. And he has a patrol named after him? Gosh, he is a more important Scout Leader than I thought!

What do you think of the logo? I have to say, I like it.

roundtableThe District Roundtable. That once a month training meeting for all Scout Leaders. They are a good meetings for all Scouters to attend, filled with lots of ideas and knowledge, but in reality only a small percentage of Scouters attend them. It is really a shame.

I began attending roundtable about the time I became the scoutmaster of Melrose Troop 68 in 1981, thirty five years ago. During most of those years I was a regular attendee, maybe missing one or two a year, usually to weather issues, like snowstorms. I thought I had a very good attendance record, especially when you consider that I live 35 miles from the council service center.

I was recruited as an assistant roundtable commissioner in the late 1980’s, and continued through the early 1990’s. For a couple of years we even held junior leader roundtables for senior patrol leaders, patrol leaders, and other youth officers. I finally stepped away from the roundtable staff because I needed to clean my plate of a few positions. I did not want to burn out after all. I did continue to attend the monthly meetings, just not as a staff member.

A few years ago I decided to offer my assistance once again to the roundtable commissioner. Al had been running the roundtables himself. I know from experience that a helping hand not only makes things easier, but it also makes it more fun. He quickly accepted my offer and I became an assistant roundtable commissioner once again.

In May I finished my third year as Al’s assistant. May is also the month that Al and I decided to retire as the roundtable staff. It was a good run, and we both had fun, but we both felt it was time for new leadership to take over.

I had an additional reason to step down from the position. I currently serve as the Cubmaster for Melrose Pack 68. The committee has decided to try moving den and pack meetings from Monday nights to Tuesday nights during the 2016-2017 program year. The Scenic District roundtable are held on the first Tuesday night of the month. I have not yet discovered how to be in two places at one time. This coming year could be the first Scouting program year that I will not attend a roundtable meeting since 1980. That is going to bit a little weird for me.

I do not know who will take over the roundtable staff positions this fall but I wish them the best of luck. It is a great experience and can be a lot of fun with just a little bit of planning.

roundtableplanningI had received a couple emails this summer from Bob at the council office asking if I would be on the roundtable staff again for the 2015-2016 program year. I really did not feel like being on staff for a third year so I sort of ignored the messages. When Al, the roundtable commissioner called me, I knew it was time to make a final decision. Al made a comment that this would probably be his last year so I agreed to to one more year. After all, we seemed to make a pretty good team.

I did not have much to do during the September roundtable since Al and I had not sat down yet to plan out our meetings. That was fine with me since I still was not really feeling like I wanted to be on staff again. When we got together in late September to plan for the next several months something clicked into place and I was back into roundtable mode.

As the October roundtable began I was ready with plenty of handouts for my session, and ropes for the knot relay. I also had a Scouting ghost story for the end of the meeting about two Scouts who were best friends, and the promise they made to each that they would keep, even after death.

My favorite part of the October meeting was when we broke for the knot relay. I separated the participants into three “patrols” and gave them a few minutes to practice the three knots they would need for the relay. These three groups immediately started acting like a Boy scout patrol. The more experienced “Scouts” began helping and teaching the less experienced. During the rely, all three patrols did their best to win the competition. It was fun watching “Scouting in action” with the adults leaders.

Like I stated, I am back in roundtable mode for a third year. I am looking forward to the next several meetings. I think the troop leaders who attend for find them to be informative and fun.

This will be my last year on roundtable staff though. Yes, I have had fun and think I brought little something to the sessions, but it is time to hand it over to some new leadership and see what they can bring to the training.

SeptRoundtableLast night was the first Tuesday of September. That means the Scenic District roundtables have started once again! I must have done something right last year as the assistant roundtable commissioner because Commissioner Al asked me back for a second year. I was not sure if I really wanted to do it for another year, but I forgot how to say “no” so I guess I have the position again. I had fun last year so I have a feeling I will have fun again this year.

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by announcements of upcoming events and meetings. Then we hit the main course of the session: New Parents and what to do with them. We discussed the first parent meeting and what should be covered with them. We also discussed leadership recruitment and first training, such as Youth Protection. We even touched on the problem of those parents who treat Scouting as a daycare service. Fourteen Boy Scout leaders from across the district were in attendance and many of them entered into the discussion. It was a roundtable in the full sense of the word.

Shortly after the halfway point of the evening we divided the group into teams and went outside to play Ultimate Frisbee. Some of the men had already played the game within their troops, but a few had not so we took just a couple minutes to give the short rules. It was a bit confusing at first once the game began, not so much because people did not understand the rules, but because there were too many Scout uniforms, It was hard to keep track of who was on who’s team. After a few minutes we got that figured out and everyone began to get into the spirit of the sport. We played for about 10 or 15 minutes before going back inside for the rest of the meeting.

Once we sat back at the tables and everyone caught their breath, Al lead a discussion on what was learned during the game. What could we have done better? What leadership skills were needed? Organizational skills? Was there any sort of team building? That lead to a larger discussion of how we can use games within our troop meetings and activities to teach Scouts various skills that will help them through their time in Scouting.

The meeting ended with the Outdoor Code. I noticed a few small groups of leaders talking to each other after the roundtable. Let the mini-roundtables begin!