Archive for the ‘camping’ Category


Personal items have been packed. The troop gear has been loaded. The freshly uniformed Scouts have chosen their rides. The vehicles have left town. Boy Scout Troop 68 is on its way to a week of camping at Many Point Scout Camp in northern Minnesota. I am sitting at home writing this blog. Yes, that is correct. For the first time in many years I am not joining the troop for a week of camping at Many Point Lake.

I attended my first week of camp as an adult leader in 1981. I was an assistant scoutmaster of Troop 68. We attended Crow Wing Scout Camp near Nevis, Minnesota. If I remember correctly, about a dozen boys attended that year. It was a good week. Both the Scouts and the adult leaders had a great time.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have attended a long term camp every summer since that year. The first years were at Crow Wing. In the later 1980’s we tried Tomahawk Scout Camp in Wisconsin and Many Point Scout Camp. In the early 1990’s Many Point Scout Camp became our summer camp, by decision of the Boy Scouts.

I have not attended every year of summer camp since 1981, but I have been on a long term camp with the Scouts each year. There have been five treks at Philmont Scout Ranch, a trip to the High Knoll Trail in Virginia, a week of adventure at Charles Sommers Canoe Base, and a stay at the 2001 National Jamboree. The assistant scoutmasters and fathers picked up the summer camp duties while I attended the high adventure bases with the older Boy Scouts.

I retired as the troop’s scoutmaster at the end of 2011. I told the committee and the parents that I would not be attending summer camp this year. My assistant scoutmaster of 24 years, Eymard, would be going to camp again, but someone else would need to fill the position of the second adult leader. Luckily we have a new 18 year old assistant scoutmaster, Darren, who decided to attend since none of the parents stepped forward to fill the slot.

I do have mixed feelings about staying home this year. I would like to be a part of the boy’s summer camp experience, but I also need to break away from the troop and start doing my own thing. For gosh sakes, I am 52 years old! It is time to start doing something with my life other than Scouting.

Isn’t it?

Well, maybe I will go up Friday and see how things are going, and watch the closing campfire.

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    Philmont Group 1986Philmont Scout Ranch. Land of adventure, living history, and magical wonders.  It is a place where deer walk through your campsite, billions of stars can be seen at night, and the views can literally take your breath away. It is a place to get away from the stress of modern society. Leave you computers, iPods, and cell phones at home because you will be without electricity for ten days while backpacking in the Philmont wilderness. In other words, this can be a great place for that “get away from everything” vacation.

    Well, maybe not quite away from it all. As an adult crew advisor you will be with a crew of up to ten teenage boys (and girls if you are with a venture crew.) That youthful group can present you with an unique perspective of the backcountry, but they will also challenge you from day to day. Believe it or not, but there will be times when the adults and the Scouts will not quite see things the same way or even agree on things.

    Philmont is a great place to relax. There is nothing like finding that special spot in or near the campsite that overlooks the valley below, or the mountains above. Just lay back and enjoy the peace and quiet. That is, if the boys are peaceful and quiet. Oh, and your body might be a little sore from hiking that last 13 miles with a 45 pound pack strapped to you back. If it rains you can always crawl into you tent and catch a quick nap. That can be very relaxing.

    Some people consider a vacation to be great when they get to participate in new experiences. Philmont has plenty of those to choose from. How about rock climbing, panning for gold, or burro racing? Standing on top of a mountain and watching the clouds float by below you is a great one. Hiking with a heavy pack during a downpour while you are marching up the side of a mountain is not so great.

    If you have a chance to participate in a Philmont trek GRAB IT! Yes, there will be moments when you may wish you were at home, sitting in front of the television in your comfy recliner, but it is the other moments that will be fondly remembered ten years later. I should know. I have been on five Philmont treks and I would not mind going back for a sixth time. Philmont IS a great place for a vacation.

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      It has been over 25 years since 1985 came to an end. It was a busy year for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. They went to winter camp at Parker Scout Reservation, attended the council’s Ripley Rendezvous at Camp Ripley, held a spring pancake and sausage breakfast fundraiser, went to camp Watchamagumee in the early spring, hopped onto their bicycles for a weekend outing in June, attended summer camp at Tomahawk Scout Camp in Wisconsin, visited the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in September, took part in a city’s emergency drill in October, and even found time to hold a few courts of honor. Like I said, it was a busy but very fun year. Here is a slideshow featuring pictures from those events.

      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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        Cooking on a Boy Scout camping trip can be an interesting experience, especially with young inexperienced campers. I have seen many burned pancakes, half raw hamburgers, and overturned pots during my days as a scoutmaster. When I am eating something crunchy that really should not be crunchy I am reminded of a camping trip from my days as a youth…

        My troop was attending a district camporee one weekend when I was in my early teens. We were sitting around the campfire ring about to eat our meal. Our scoutmaster, Dr. Scanlan, was sitting next to me. There was a small amount of dirt on my food. I do not remember how it got there, if the patrol cook had done something during preparing the meal, or if I had kicked some dirt onto the plate somehow. I do remember I was not interested in eating this food with its “natural” seasoning. I was a very picky eater and this was not helping the situation.

        I made a fuss and commented that I was not going to eat this stuff. My scoutmaster heard me and replied that a little dirt would not kill me. Then he added something that I will never forget. He said, “A person will eat an average of seven pounds of dirt during his lifetime.”

        I am not ashamed to say that I was surprised and shocked by the statement. I did not know if he was telling the truth, or if he had just made it up. He was a doctor, after all. He would know about these things.  I do recall my reply to him. I looked at him, and at my food, and said, “I don’t want to add to that seven pounds.”

        I do not remember if I ate the food that day or not. I probably did because I was hungry. I have since come to the conclusion though that if you are a scoutmaster you will eat a lot more than seven pounds of dirt in your lifetime.

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          It has become a tradition of Boy Scout Troop 68. Usually, in February or March, the Scouts pack their gear and head to Camp Stearns for a winter outing. The camp is located in central Minnesota, about an hour from town. It is owned by the Northern Star Council of the Twin Cities. The troop rents a lodge to sleep in but the boys spend plenty of time outside having fun in the winter snow.

          This video of the Melrose Scout Productions podcast features a slideshow of the pictures taken at last year’s Camp Stearns outing. The Scouts had a great time at camp. They worked on advancement Saturday morning. After lunch they put on their snowshoes and played 18 holes of disc golf. In the evening they went to the awesome sledding hill. The boys wrapped up the day by watching a movie before hitting the sleeping bags.

          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, or at iTunes.

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            If you follow The Buckets comic strip you know that the youngest member of the household, Eddie, is a Cub Scout, and his father is a Pack leader. A few times a year Greg Cravens, the creator of the strip, uses his comic to share a humorous look at the world of Cub Scouting. Mr. Cravens obvious knows a little about the Scouting program because his comics can hit very close to home. I am sure many Pack Leaders and families can identify with the situations he shares with us. ( I sometimes wonder if Mr. Cravens is not a Cub Scout leader in his community.)

            Mr. Cravens recently featured a weeklong series in which the Cub Scout Pack goes on a camping trip. If you have ever taken Scouts on a camping trip I am sure you will find these hitting the mark. Here is a quick rundown of the comic strips and the links:

            A trip is announced / A pocket knife is needed: Click HERE.
            The first rule of camping: Click HERE.
            My last dry clothes: Click HERE.
            How to gather the Scouts: Click HERE.
            Texting while hiking: Click HERE.
            A tick is on me! : Click HERE.

            While these comic strips feature Cub Scout age boys, many of them could also apply to Boy Scout age youth. Enjoy.

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              The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 spent a week at the Buckskin Camp of Many Point Scout Camp this summer. They had an awesome time at camp. The Buckskin staff was terrific and very helpful. The dining hall staff provided great meals in a friendly atmosphere. Even the weather cooperated by not being too hot or too rainy. The biggest complaint was the sparrow-size mosquitoes that made camp their home. Overall though, it was a fantastic week.

              The Many Point Blog recently posted some interesting numbers from the 2011 season. I found them to be quite interesting:

               

              4139 Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts camped at Many Point.
              1451 Adult leaders watched their troops and crews grow while here at Many Point.
              37 CITs spent 5 weeks learning and practicing the essential skills needed to be a staff member. (Including one from Melrose Troop 68.)
              152 Scouts and Venturers participated in the Water Sports Outpost and had the opportunity to ride personal watercraft, a truly rare opportunity in the BSA.
              8606 Merit badges were earned.
              2830 Merit badges were started, to be completed at home.
              479 Certifications such as Kayak BSA, Snorkeling BSA, Boardsailing BSA, BSA Lifeguard and BSA Aquatic Supervision were completed. (Five boys from Troop 68 earned the Snorkeling BSA.)
              124,000 meals were served either “for here” or “to go” by our Dining Hall and Commissary, to fuel all the fun.

              How were the numbers at your summer camp?

              The Many Point Blog can be found at
              http://manypointscoutcamp.wordpress.com/ .

               

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                Join the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 as they attend Many Point Scout Camp during the week of July 10-16, 2011. This video of Melrose Scout Productions Podcast includes a look at their campsite in Buckskin Camp, along with a couple of the songs led by the staff before the Boy Scouts would go to the dining hall for their meals. The songs include The Duck Song and Herbie, the Family Pet.

                Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast

                Or watch it online at 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 or at iTunes.

                How was your summer camp this year?

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