Archive for the ‘Service’ Category

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:


    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


    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.


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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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        The committee of the Boy Scout troop has recently been discussing ideas about how to get Scouting more visible in our community. The pack has had a few rough years and membership numbers are down. This in turn has hurt the troop since 80 percent or more of our membership traditionally comes from the pack.

        One idea that is gaining momentum is to have the Boy Scouts walk along this June’s parade route shortly before the parade begins and hand out small USA flags to children and folks sitting along the street. It would be great to see hundreds of flags waving as the veterans ride and march by during the parade. Of course, the Scouts would be in uniform as they pass out the flags.

        The Melrose Chamber of Commerce, who is in charge of the weekend festival to be held the last weekend of June, has shown interest in this project. We will be sending letters to the local VFW Post (our charter sponsor) and the American Legion to ask for some financial support to purchase the flags.

        The big question is, how many flags do we need? The parade route is a little over a mile long, approximately sixteen blocks. No one really seems to know how many people watch the parade so I started playing around with some numbers. If the Scouts hand out 20 flags per block, ten on each side of the street, we would need about 320 flags. That does not sound like many, does it?

        Let’s bump that number up to 60 flags per block, or 30 flags per each side of the street. That would be nearly 1000 flags waving along the parade route. That sounds much better.

        The cost of 6 inch plastic flags would be $5.99 for 72 flags, through an internet site. The total cost of a thousand flags with shipping would only be about $100.00, a very affordable project that would also give the Boy Scout troop a great way to be seen by thousands of people.

        Has you pack or troop ever done anything like this project? Do you have any helpful hints? Please leave a comment if you have any ideas.

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          I do not consider myself crazy (although their are some who think you need to be crazy to be a scoutmaster). For example, they are a number of people each year who decide they need to take a quick dip in a hole cut through the ice of a frozen lake in Minnesota. Would I do that? No way! I am not crazy.

          But this year in Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis, Minnesota, hundreds of people decided to bring in the new year by getting nice and cold in the icy water. Crazy, huh? Well, what caught my attention this year is that a group of Cub Scouts decided to join in the festivities. Here is the article from the KARE 11 website:

          They came from all over the globe, just to say they did it. Hundreds of thrill seekers leaped into Lake Minnetonka New Year’s morning, for the 19th annual Polar Plunge. Organizers say 388 people registered to take the plunge this year, far above last year’s record of 298. Hundreds more showed up and registered Thursday morning. In all, 908 people jumped into frigid Lake Minnetonka to welcome 2009.

          Among them, Cub Scout Pack 116 from Princeton, Minnesota. The boys recently learned their assistant cub master, Dar Durant, had been diagnosed with cancer, so they took pledges, collected money, and jumped into the lake. The money raised will go to help the family.

          Plunge organizers say people from Canada, England, Iran, and Jamaica registered to take the annual dip this year.

          I have to give those Cub Scouts and their leaders the credit that is due them. They did a great job of putting others first and helping someone in need. I am sure this is one plunge they will never forget.

          By the way, the link to the KARE 11 website also has a couple videos showing the Cub Scouts taking their Polar Plunge. I am not sure how long the video will be available so check it out quickly.

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            Up until now, Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, has always been about the Boy Scouting program. He has talked about the Scout Oath and Law, being physically fit, how to tell when you know you are a Boy Scout, and has interviewed a Cub Scout and an assistant scoutmaster. Today, he begins to expand his Scouting knowledge into something he has never talked about before – Girl Scouting!

            In the United States, boys and girls have separate Scouting programs (except for Exploring). Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting are very different programs even though they share many of the same goals. In both programs the members may chose to earn the highest award available to them. In Boy Scouting that would be the rank of Eagle Scout. In Girl Scouting it is the Gold Award.

            I recently had the honor of attending the Gold Award ceremony of my niece and two other Girl Scouts. It was very impressive, and I learned a few things about Girl Scouting that I did not know. I video recorded the ceremony at the request of my sister, and we plan to broadcast it over our local community television station.

            After the ceremony, I had the chance to congratulate each of the girls, and ask them if they would be willing to be interviewed by Buttons, the radical Scout. They had all seen a Buttons video or two so they knew what I was asking. To my pleasant surprise, they all said yes to the idea.

            This video posting to the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast is the first of these videos. Ali Kociemba, one of the Gold Award recipients, is the first Girl Scout to be interviewed by Buttons. They discuss the different age groups of Girl Scouting, what some of the awards are, service projects, what Ali did for her Gold award, and what her favorite troop activities were. It turned out to be a nice introduction to Girl Scouting.

            You are invited to leave a comment using the link below, or at the iTunes Music Store, or at the PTC Media forums. Drop me an email at It really is great to hear what you think about the podcast videos.

            Click here to DOWNLOAD this Podcast
            Subscribe to Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast through iTunes.
            or at
            Check out other Scouting podcasts at PTC Media.

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              The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 recently have a pretty busy weekend. It began on Saturday morning when the Scouts and parents met for the annual Scouting For Food Drive and the bi-monthly paper drive. Both began at 9:oo am. Part of the troop worked at the paper drive which was held at a local grocery store parking lot. The rest rode around town looking for the bags of food left outside by the front doors of homes. Both were a great success for our small community of 3100 people. This was the third time holding the paper drive and we have seen an increase in paper products collected each time. The troop also collected over 530 pounds of food during the food drive, for which the food shelf was very thankful.

              The work was not done though. The third project that morning was our semi-annual road clean-up project. The troop cleans the road ditches of a three mile section of County Road 13 south of Melrose. This is not the boys favorite project, but they do it well. It can be quite interesting with what is sometimes found. There was nothing very special this time. In fact, there was a smaller amount of trash collected this fall. Maybe drivers are becoming more responsible and not throwing so much trash out their windows.

              The troop held it’s annual fall pancake and sausage breakfast fundraiser Sunday morning. The boys and families pre-sell adult tickets for $6.00 each. The tickets cost fifty cents more if bought the morning of the breakfast. A few of the boys did an excellent job of selling advance tickets. The boys and parents worked hard that morning and served 349 people, up from last spring. It looks like the troop will make a nice profit (over $1500.00) that will be applied to program costs and individual accounts. Good job Scouts!

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                Domain names are very important when you have a site on the internet. Choose the wrong name and it is hard for people to find you. Choose the right name and people start showing up at your digital door.

                The blog at the Boy Scout Trail website, Scoutmaster Musings, has a great short article about someone who has freely given a couple Scouting related domain names to the Boy Scouts of America. It is a great Good Turn done for the BSA by an individual.
                Check it out at
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