Archive for the ‘camping’ Category


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.

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How was your summer camp this year?

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    This year’s weekend camping trip to Kings Lake near Freeport, Minnesota, was not a typical troop outing. We arrived Friday night, as usual, and set up camp. We left Sunday morning, as usual. Saturday was anything but the usual.

    Only three members of the troop attended this outing, and one did not arrive until after breakfast Saturday morning. We began the program with some map and compass work for the Second Class Rank. When it came time for the hike we decided to walk into Freeport, have an old style ice cream malt at Charlie’s Cafe, and walk back to camp in time for lunch.

    We jumped into the car after lunch and went to Albany to play disc golf at North Lake Park. We played nine holes before going back to camp to clean up a bit. It was time to go to the graduation party of our oldest Boy Scout, Dakota. He invited us to stop by for supper. We, of course, could not turn down that opportunity.

    Back at camp, the evening began with a leisurely pontoon boat ride around Kings Lake. The Scouts branded the Boy Scout logo onto an old canoe paddle, several times, which was then cut up into smaller pieces to take home as souvenirs. It ended with everyone sitting around the campfire. The boys must have been tired because they went to bed before the sun set in the western sky. It may not have been a typical weekend but the boys had fun and enjoyed the program. Isn’t that what really matters?

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      Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, had a lot to say about the program. A good source of his thoughts can be found in his book, “Scouting For Boys”. Now that we are in the summer camp season, there is one of B-P’s thoughts that I thought would be a good choice to share with you:

      The Value of Camp Life

      I CANNOT impress on Scoutmasters too highly the value of the camp in the training of Scouts; in fact, I think that its whole essence hangs on this.

      Many Scoutmasters who value the moral side of our training are almost inclined to undervalue the importance of the camp, but the camp is everything to the boys. We have to appeal to their enthusiasm and tastes in the first place, if we are ever going to do any good in educating them.

      An eminent educational authority assured me only to-day that our school education is all on wrong lines; that book learning was introduced by the monks in order to kill the more manly training in skill at arms and hunting which, in the Middle Ages, occupied the time of the boys, and which undoubtedly produced so large a percentage of men of character among them. It was done with a narrow-minded aim, and although it has done some good in certain lines, it has done infinite harm to our race in others.

      He said: “You should first of all develop the natural character of the boy by encouraging him in the natural athletic exercises which tend to make him manly, brave, obedient, and unselfish; later give him the desire for reading for himself which will eventually lead him on to study for himself. The fallacy of trying to force him to read what the pedagogue wants him to know is the secret of so much ignorance and absence of studious work amongst our lads to-day.”

      This same authority would like to see Scouting or some similar scheme introduced into our continuation schools, and attendance at these made obligatory for all boys of fourteen to sixteen.

      I hope that his wish may yet be gratified. I believe it will be if Scoutmasters continue in the way in which they have begun and prove to the education authorities in their neighbourhood the educative value which underlies our Movement.

      April 1911.

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        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.

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          Yes, I realize that if your tent leaks during a rainstorm your fun and enjoyable weekend could turn somewhat lousy. I understand that because it has happened to me a couple times. That is why when I saw the picture shown at http://www.scoutmastercg.com/2011/05/caption-contest/ I just had to break out laughing. These campers are determined to stay dry, no matter what Mother Nature throws at them. (And no, I am not going to show the picture here. Go to the website.)

          Oh, and do not forget to enter the contest sponsored by Scoutmaster CG by leaving a caption for the photo. The winner gets the coveted Kyber Pass granting you the privilege of moving to the front of any line at any camp trading post.

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            The PLC Meeting.

            The patrol leader council held their monthly meeting today to review April and plan for May’s meetings and activities. Although they did get sidetracked a few times, they were able to plan next month’s meetings and service project.

            There was one thing that came up that I was disappointed to hear. The program, menu, and duty roster for this weekend’s camping trip had not been planned yet, and more Scouts decided they would like to attend the outing, even though they should have been registered two weeks ago.

            It looks like we may have to postpone the camping trip one week to get everything planned out at next Monday’s troop meeting. Luckily, it is a local campout held on some nearby private land.

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              100 Days of Scouting: Day 60.

              Tuesday night, at the Scenic District Roundtable, a short discussion of iPads, iPods, and cell phones came up. Most of the troops represented stated they have a no-electronics policy on camping trips, similar to my troop. We also agreed, somewhat reluctantly, that these policies may need to be changed in the not-too-distant future. The boys are growing up with these gadgets and are becoming  an important part of their lives. Add to that the growing number of apps available that are Scouting related and I can see Boy Scouts and adult leaders wanting to bring these things along.

              I have been wanting to buy an iPad since version 2 became available. Before the roundtable, I stopped at Best Buy to play with one and look at the accessories. I think I am going to hold off with that purchase for awhile. Here is what the budget looked like:

              iPad 2, 64 GB – $700.00 (Wi-fi only)
              Smart Cover – 40.00
              Digital AV Adapter – 40.00
              Charger        – 40.00
              Misc Apps   – 50.00
              Subtotal  – $870.00
              Tax                 – 60.00
              Grand Total – $930.00

              Wow! The sticker shock got to me a little. Yes, I can use it for apps and games. Yes, I can use it as an e-reader. Yes, I can watch movies and Podcasts (like Melrose Scout Productions Podcast). This gadget would nicely compliment my Mac Pro computer. However, I do not think I would get $900.00 of use out of it. It would be a very expensive toy, one with a very cruddy camera system.

              I still want one though.

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                It is the sixth week of 100 Days of Scouting. Time for another Scout Trivia quiz. Today’s theme is outdoor skills. These ten questions come from the Scout Mania trivia book, and are based on the 1984 Boy Scout Handbook. Are you ready to begin? I thought you would be.

                1) How can you prepare questionable water for drinking?

                2) There are two basic primitive fire making methods. What are they?

                3) For quick pot washing, what should be done before cooking?

                4) A good map tells five things. Name three.

                5) Name four knots used to tie a rope to an object.

                6) Name three types of poisonous snakes in the United States.

                7) When you mask your ax, what are you doing?

                8 ) What is “bird seed” used on a hike?

                9) When hiking, how often and how long should you rest?

                10) How did the sheet bend get its name?

                And a bonus question: 11) What does green on a topographical map represent?

                Yeah, that is right.

                Eleven questions this week.

                I know you can handle it.

                At least I thought you could.

                Are you ready for the answers?

                Okay then, let’s begin.

                1) Boil it or use purification tablets.
                2) Fire by friction, fire by flint and steel.
                3) Smear soap powder or softened soap on the outside of the pot.
                4) Description, details, directions, distance, designations.
                5) Half hitch, slippery half hitch, two half hitches, clove hitch, timber hitch, tautline, lark’s head.
                6) Copperhead, rattlesnake, coral, cottonmouth.
                7) Sheathing it.
                8 ) It is a hiking snack.
                9) Every half hour, and no longer than three to five minutes.
                10) From “bending” (tying) a “sheet” (rope on a sail).
                11) Woodland areas, swamps and marshes, orchards and scrub lands.

                How did you do this week?

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