Archive for the ‘Service’ Category

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
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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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            A newer video (2006?) by the Boy Scouts of American can be found on Youtube. It is a two song music video that features Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts participating in Good Turns across America. The First video asks, “What have you done today to made you feel proud?” It is a catchy song. The second song I think you will recognize from several years ago. Watch the video, then post a comment about your thoughts.

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              When a scoutmaster, troop committee, and council Eagle board review an Eagle project application there are a few things they keep in mind before approving it. How much planning is needed to organize and prepare the project? How will the Boy Scout show leadership during the project? Is it a worthwhile project for the community? What obstacles and challenges will need to be solved?

              The Eagle Scout project is not meant to be an easy thing to do. It is a test of the Scout’s skills, his determination, and his work ethic. Can he solve problems? Is he able to handle the responsibilities? Can he work well with others?
              An Eagle Scout Project does not always go according to plan. Weather conditions could postpone a project. Materials may not arrive on time, or could be backordered. People would could have helped on one day may not be able to help on another day. Some people need to cancel attending the project due to last minute plans. The project may need more time to be completed. How a Boy Scout handles these and other problems is just one aspect of the Eagle project.
              Here are a couple of examples of Eagle projects that needed a second round of planning or work:
              About ten years ago, a Boy Scout wanted to do his project for the local elementary school. He was going to add some playground equipment and plant some trees so the kids would have shady areas in several years. I thought it was a good project. The troop committee agreed. The Scout send his workbook to the council to get approval.
              I was surprised when I received a phone call a couple weeks later from the fourteen year old Scout to tell me that the council had not approved his project. He was very discouraged and did not know what he should do now. I drove to his home and we sat down ay his kitchen table to review his project and what the council wrote in their letter. It appeared that he did not do a good job of describing his project in his workbook. We talked about things for several minutes. Then I suggested he try again, this time adding more details about the project, and add a little more to the project, like planting a few more trees. He revised his plans, sent it back to the council, and received approval.
              A couple of years later another Boy Scout submitted a project of building and placing various types of bird houses along an eight mile portion of the new Lake Wobegon Trail. This project received council approval. However, when the Scout did the project the only people who assisted him were family members. He used no outside help. The committee and I as the scoutmaster agreed that this did not fulfill the leadership portion of the Eagle project. His mother became quite upset with us. He was frustrated. Then he and I sat down one evening and discussed it. To make a long story short, he did the project a second time inviting other troop members and people to assist in the project. I was quite proud of him when he completed his project.
              Do not let a Boy Scout get so discouraged when things do not go well that he throws up his hands and quits. As troop leaders and parents, we need to help them through the setbacks and encourage him to continue forward. Helping a Scout to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout is well worth the effort.
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                This Boy Scout Troop really knows the meaning of doing a Good Turn. They are giving up a trip to Disney to help rebuild a church. Here is a portion of the article:

                Boy Scouts Give Up Disney World to Help Rebuild Church

                Boy Scouts Give Up Disney World to Help Rebuild Church

                Time at Disney World could not compete with helping others for three Boy Scout troops in Vance County.

                Every year, Boy Scout Troop 691 in Henderson joins with two other troops for a chicken cook-out fundraiser. The proceeds go to pay for a trip to Disney World for the boys.

                This year, however, the scouts volunteered to donate money they will raise Saturday to help Union Chapel United Methodist Church rebuild its sanctuary.

                Lightning likely sparked a fierce fire on Aug. 10 that burned most of the 178-year-old church to the ground. Among many other items, the church lost its stained glass windows, which were brought from Europe and dated to the early 1800s.

                Larry Medlin, described how his 11-year-old son, James, who so far has earned his second-class scout rank, came up with the idea on his own after hearing about the fire. “James said, ‘Daddy, let’s raise money to help them build their church instead of going to Disney,'” Larry Medlin said.

                To read the rest of the article click HERE.

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