Archive for the ‘Service’ Category


Today is the fifth day of the 100 Days of Scouting program. What do I write about? Hmmmmm. How about a quick shout out to Boy Scout Troop 68′s Charter Organization? For over thirty years the Melrose VFW Post 7050 has supported our Scouting program. They have been the troop’s sponsor since it began in December 1979.

Last night I received a phone call from Jim, the post commander. The VFW has had some tough times during the last few year and is in the process of selling its building. Jim needed to move boxes of records and stuff and was wondering if I could get a couple Boy Scouts to help. “That might be a bit tough on a Friday night”, I replied, “but I could give you a hand.” The only thing I was going to do was to post a podcast to the website. I met him at the building and it did not take long for the two of us to load his truck, unload his truck at another storage place, and load it a second time. We were done within an hour and I was able to do my good turn for the day.

How many other troops out there are sponsored by a VFW post?

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    Okay. I usually do not cover sporting events in this blog but I just watched a couple of videos that really show how a community can come together and do a super sized service project. As we all know, Boy Scouts love their service projects, but it was simply amazing to see this.

    According to an article on Yahoo Sports: While tossing hats onto the ice when a player scores three goals might be hockey’s most famous tossing tradition, it simply doesn’t compare to the Technicolor grandeur of 23,096 teddy bears and other stuffed animals blanketing the rink as they did at the Calgary Hitmen game on Sunday. For 16 years the Hitmen, who were co-owned by and named after former WWF champion Bret Hart, have held a Teddy Bear Toss to benefit over 50 charities in Alberta that work with children. On Monday, after the 23,000-strong toss, the players hand-delivered teddy bears to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
    Read the article at http://tinyurl.com/2eh7l4q

    “Totally awesome”, as a furry friend of mine would say.

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      The Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs of the Central Minnesota Council held their annual Scouting For Food Drive on Saturday, October 9. Thousands of Scouts, leaders, and parents assisted in making this event a success. It is hard to believe that this “national good turn” began way back in 1988, twenty two years ago.

      Pack 68 and Troop 68 of Melrose used to share in the work for the drive. The pack would distribute the bags one Saturday, and the troop would pick up the bags the next Saturday. Unfortunately, the pack has fallen on hard times and does not have the membership to distribute the bags, so it has fallen on the troop to distribute them and pick them up again. And unfortunately, the troop is down to eight boys so we were not able to distribute the bags over the whole community either.

      Does that mean we had a terrible food drive? No way. We collected over 520 pounds worth of food and items. It is not the best drive we have ever held, but it is certainly not the worse drive either. The food shelf was happy to receive the food. It really helped to fill up their shelves which were looking a little bare this time of year. (The picture shows the Boy Scouts with some of the food collected this year.)

      Has your pack and troop already conducted their food drives? How much food did you collect?

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        The Eagle Project is one of the biggest challenges to attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. For many Scouts it is probably the first time they have ever had to plan, prepare, and conduct such an activity. Dozens, even hundreds, of hours will be spend on a project. Papers need to be signed, people and groups contacted, materials bought, and refreshments need to be provided. It is quite a job for a teenager to carry out. Yet they do, and communities benefit from the projects.

        There has recently been an article passed along in Scouting groups about an Eagle project that helped a group of children half a world away. Alex Griffith, a sixteen year old from Maryland, decided to help an orphanage in Russia when it came time for his project. It was the same orphanage that he lived in before he was adopted by Dwight and Jenny Griffith as a young child. To understand the enormous nature of this project here is an except from an article on the CNN website:

        Alex devoted 2 ½ years to his Krasnoyarsk Playground Project. In addition to recruiting more than 500 volunteers in five countries, he raised more than $60,000 by soliciting help from local Rotary Clubs and joining forces with other Boy Scouts for candy sales, car washes and barbeque fundraisers. Alex oversaw every aspect of production, from designing and purchasing the playground to shipping equipment overseas.

        The whole article can be seen at:
        http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/09/10/cnnheroes.alex.griffith/?imw=Y
        Be sure to check out the project’s website for the facts and figures from this project: http://www.krasplayground.org/ (By the way, the picture shown with this article is from this website.)

        This was an awesome project. And tell the truth, another awesome aspect of this project is that CNN decided to list Alex as a CNN Hero. It is great to see a national news agency picking up a positive story of Scouting.

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          In the previous post to A Scoutmaster’s Blog, I wrote about the local American Legion’s Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags, and the Boy Scouts’ participation in the ceremony. Mel-TV, our local community television access station, was on hand to film the event. The station’s co-ordinator was kind enough to let me borrow the video tape so that I could make a podcast video from it. I edited the footage down and added photographs that I took during the event.


          Even though I edited out some footage I did not feel was needed, the video was still a bit longer than I would have liked it to be. But I wanted to be sure to include the whole ceremony and add several of the pictures. I would be curious to know if your Boy Scouts have participated in such a ceremony, and what their part was during it.

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            The Melrose Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were recently invited to participate in a United Sates flag disposal ceremony by the local American Legion. Three of our six Boy Scouts were able to attend, along with one of the Girl Scouts.

            The ceremony began shortly before dusk. Members of five American Legion clubs were in attendance, along with some local citizens who brought flags to be retired. The ceremony was very dignified. Unfortunately, due to the wind and my location, I was not able to hear much of what was being said.
            The Scout’s part of the ceremony was to unload the flags from the vehicle and present them to the American Legion members who inspected the flags before their final disposal into the fire barrel. The Scouts were also allowed to place a few flags into the barrel, which I think helped to bring the impact of the ceremony closer to home.
            The local media was also in attendance. The Melrose Beacon and the Sauk Centre Herald sent reporters. The local television cable access station, Mel-TV, was on hand to videotape the event. I look forward to seeing if the Boy Scouts made it into any pictures posted in the newspapers or were captured on the video.
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              The national office of the Boy Scouts of America has encouraged its troops and packs to participate in an annual Scouting For Food drive for nearly twenty years. These drives have helped tens of thousands of people over the years, and have became a necessity to many of the food banks around the country. Boy Scout Trop 68 is proud to say we have been active in conducting a food drive in our community every year since Scouting For Food began.


              One of the challenges of the drive is to promote it. Our local newspapers and local cable access television stations have always been happy to post a bulletin about the event. One more thing we have done some years is ask the city council to pass a proclamation declaring the week between when the bags are dropped off and when they are picked up as “Scouting For Food” week. We try to have a few Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts standing around the mayor as he signs the proclamation. The picture looks pretty good in the paper and draws more attention to the service project.

              Here is a copy of the wording used in the proclamation by our city:


              PROCLAMATION

              WHEREAS, hunger remains a pervasive intrusion on the quality of life for millions of Americans; and

              WHEREAS, hunger is a problem we can do something about by working together; and

              WHEREAS, for more than 90 years the Boys Scouts of America has been an organization committed to community service; and

              WHEREAS, the Scouting program instills the positive values of citizenship, ethical decision making, leadership and helping other people as outlined by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law; and

              WHEREAS, the Central Minnesota Council of the Boy Scouts of America and its corps of dedicated Scouts and volunteer leaders will coordinate with other groups to conduct a Scouting for Food on October 2, 2004 in this community and throughout the country in a positive example of its longstanding commitment to service of direct benefit to the less fortunate among us.

              NOW, THEREFORE, I, Nancy Roering, Acting Mayor of the City of Melrose in the State of Minnesota do hereby proclaim the period of September 26-October 2, 2004, as

              “SCOUTING FOR FOOD” WEEK

              in the City of Melrose. I urge my fellow residents to join me in expressing the gratitude of an appreciative community, and ask that each of us contribute as best we can to this worthwhile endeavor.

              IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the official seal of the City of Melrose this 16th day of September, 2004.

              MAYOR SIGNATURE

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                 We had discussed it a couple times at committee meetings but I was still a little surprised when the troop finally decided to hand out small United States flags along the parade route in town this year. Our troop had not done anything for a parade for twenty years or more.

                The flags were small plastic flags bought from an online retailer. Our charter sponsor, the VFW, agreed to pay for the purchase of the flags which came to nearly $100.00 for almost a thousand flags. The Boy Scouts would walk the parade route, a block or two ahead of the honor guard, and hand them out to the people along the route.
                We thought this would be a great public relations project. The Boy Scouts would be in uniform and show their patriotism by giving away flags. We would be seen by thousands of people sitting along the streets, giving us some much needed exposure, something the troop does not receive for cleaning road ditches, holding paper drives, and working early morning park clean-up projects.
                I arrived at the high school, the starting point of the parade, about an hour before things would begin. Two Boy Scouts were already present, with a third one arriving a short time later. And that was it. Only three of the nine members of the troop decided to join us for this project. At least that left us two people per side of the street. I would be riding my gas powered scooter which had a basket to hold the thousand flags. The Scouts would be walking.
                We really did not know how soon we should leave before the parade started so we began when the honor guard began lining up at the head of the parade. Unfortunately, the honor guard caught up to us after only four or five blocks, and soon the parade was passing by us. Since we had to hand out the flags person to person it slowed us down and took much longer than we first thought.
                The crowd loved the flags. We began by handing them out to kids but they were so popular that teenagers and adults wanted them also. We ran out of flags with a third of the route left to go.
                So, we learned two things about this project. First, we need to leave about 15 minutes ahead of the parade in order to have a chance of staying ahead of them. Second, we will need to order about 1500 or 2000 flags for the next time.
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