Archive for the ‘Service’ Category


Have you ever retired from an organization only to feel that they never let you go, or that they are trying to pull you back? That happened to me Monday night with the Boy Scout troop. Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself. I volunteered for it all. Next week will now be a very busy Scouting week for this retired scoutmaster. Here is why….

On Monday, the 19th, the troop is using their regular troop meeting night to begin selling tickets for next month’s Dad’s Belgian Waffle supper fundraiser. The Boy Scouts will go door to door selling tickets, covering as much of the town in one evening as their are capable of doing. As the troop’s treasurer it will be my job to hand out the tickets, collect the leftovers and money taken in, and start the record keeping for the boys going out on their own.

Tuesday night is the monthly troop committee meeting. I still need to sit down and balance the checkbooks and prepare the report of the troop’s finances. I least I do not have to leave the house. I still volunteer to host the meetings in my basement family room.

I am a Collections merit badge counselor. One of the Scouts caught me after this week’s troop meeting to begin working on the badge. We decided on Wednesday, the 22nd. That makes three nights in a row I will be doing something Scouting related.

So far I have nothing planned for Thursday, but I volunteered my home to host a troop event on Friday. The troop’s one day outing for February was scheduled for this Saturday but only one boy was able to attend. I have always hated the idea of completely canceling a monthly activity so I offered to hold a movie night. The boys took me up on the offer. They plan to watch a couple movies and enjoy pizza, snacks, and sodas. I plan to send them home at 11:00 pm.

On Saturday, the 25th, the troop is hosting an afternoon retirement party to celebrate the three decades I spent as the scoutmaster. I hope some of the troop alumni are able to attend or it will be a small party. I do plan to bring the thirty or so photo albums I have made from those thirty years of activities and functions.

That brings it to five of seven days next week that I will be busy doing something Scouting related. I thought my schedule would slow down after stepping away from the position of scoutmaster. Wait. What’s that? Something is pulling on the back of my shirt. Aaahhhhhhhhh!

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    The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 had an opportunity to do two service projects in one day for the Melrose Riverfest celebration. The event was held last Saturday, August 20th.

    The first project took place before the parade which was scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm. The Boy Scouts were set to distribute two thousand 3″ x 5″ plastic USA flags along the parade route. The funds to purchase the flags were provided the the local VFW and American Legion clubs.

    This was the third year the troop did this project. Two years ago were started with 1000 flags that only covered about half of the parade route. Last year we ordered 1500 flags that covered about two thirds of the route. This year we ordered two thousand flags and had a couple hundred of them left over. Even though we began handing out the flags at the beginning of the route 30 minutes before the parade began, the parade was only three blocks behind us when we reached the end. The flags were very popular.

    At midnight, the Boy Scouts met in downtown Melrose for the second of the projects. The Scouts, and their fathers, assisted the Melrose Chamber of Commerce with taking down a few refreshment tents, and packing up dozens of tables and hundreds of folding chairs. We finished this project at 1:45 in the morning.

    Unfortunately, only two of the nine members of the troop were able to help with the day’s projects. Fortunately, the boy’s fathers were able to assist us so had doubled our manpower.

    The troop’s next service project will be held tonight, August 22nd. We have a three mile stretch of highway south of town which we have adopted to clean the ditches of trash. Hopefully, we will have more troop members show up then we did on Saturday or it is going to to take awhile to clean those ditches.

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      The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 held their summer court of honor on Monday, June 27th. The recognition ceremony began at 7:00 pm at the Melrose City Hall. All ten members of the troop attended along with many of their family members.

      The award presentations began with the Year Pins which are given to Boy Scouts on their yearly anniversary of joining the Scouting program. Noah received his One Year pin. A Five Year pin was presented to Thomas. Dakota received a Seven Year pin. Very few young men stay in Scouting long enough to receive a seven year pin.

      Three Boy Scouts received the Tenderfoot rank, which is the first of the six ranks a Scouts may earn, with the rank of Eagle Scout being the highest. Alex, William, and Noah received the Tenderfoot rank with their parents standing proudly by their side.

      Troop 68 surprised committee member Chris Massmann with a Community Service Award. Chris began her service to Scouting when her oldest son, Dakota, joined the Melrose Cub Scout Pack. She joined the pack committee and became the pack treasurer. When Dakota graduated into the Boy Scout troop, Chris moved with him and became a member of the troop committee and its treasurer. She has been with the local Scouting program for about ten years. Chris plans to retire from the troop committee in August when her son leaves the troop to attend college.

      Congratulations to all the award recipients!

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        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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