Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category


The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 like to play disc golf. They enjoy the game so much that they have added it as an activity to their yearly program for a few years. They also enjoy playing a round if a course is available at a camp they are staying at over a weekend.

The troop was first introduced to the sport in 1981 while attending summer camp at Crow Wing Scout Reservation which was located near Nevis, Minnesota. There were not any baskets found on this nine hole course, just round wood posts with a small numbered sign located near the top of each. Instead of trying to throw the disc into a basket we needed to hit the post to complete a hole.

Each spring the troop spends a weekend on some private land north of Melrose that the Scouts call Camp Watchamagumee. They will usually set up a course in the woods and use trees as the “holes”. Yellow cation tape is used to mark the trees and is removed as the boys complete the course.

On Saturday, March 24th, the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 will be holding this year’s disc golf marathon. Instead of traveling to the St. Cloud metro area as they have done for the last few years, the Scouts have decided to visit a course they have not played for awhile, and try two newer courses in central Minnesota.

The course in Albany, located about twelve miles from Melrose, is a nine basket course with 18 tee pads, so it can be played as an eighteen hole course. This course has been around for several years so a few of the Scouts have already played this course.

The course in Long Prairie was installed a few years ago. It is a nine hole course the winds its way through a wooded park located on the south side of town. This will be the first time the troop will play on this course.

The third course is a brand new one installed last year in the small town of Upsula. This nine hole course was an Eagle Scout project so it may have a special meaning to the Scouts as they play a round on it.

The Scouts will be keeping their scores as the play in this year’s marathon. They will play eighteen holes in Albany, and nine holes at the other courses. The scores will be added at the end of the day to discover the best overall score of the day. The three Boy Scouts with the best scores will each win a set of three disc golf discs. Although the adults will be playing alongside of the Scouts they will not be eligible to win the disc sets, but they could still earn bragging rights.

Do the Boy Scouts of your troop enjoy the sport of disc golf? How often does your troop play the game?

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    When the patrol leader council of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 planned their year long program in August 2017 they decided to bring back an event that had not been on the program since 2008. They decided to add the Laughs For Lunch Show back into their schedule!

    The Laughs For Lunch Show was based on skits and songs seen at summer camps across the country. The Scouts would plan a two hour show which featured their favorites, along with several they developed themselves. They would practice during their January troop meetings, which were two hours instead of the usual 90 minutes. The last practice was held during the afternoon before the evening show. I was always amazed that the troop could pull this off with only four practices totally about eight hours.

    The troop member ship began declining during the 200o’s so Troop 68 held their last Laughs For Lunch Show in January 2008. A few former members agreed to come back for the last show to fill in the two hour program.

    The troop has begun to see an increase in membership recently so they thought it was a good time to bring back the show. There would need to be a few changes to the show since we still had a small troop that was somewhat inexperienced.

    The troop would still hold the show at the end of January and use that month’s three meetings to practice. The show would be cut down to an hour long since many of the skits would be new to the boys and would have to be learned from scratch. The time of the show would move from the evening to the afternoon, meaning the final practice would be in the morning.

    The planning meeting was held on Monday, January 1st. Six of the fourteen Scouts attended.We began by watching some video footage from previous shows. We discussed other songs and skits that were new to the group. By the end of the meeting the Scouts had planned an agenda in which they felt comfortable, and one that I thought would make a fun show.

    The Scouts worked well during the January troop meetings as they practiced the songs and skits. It did not take long before they began to tweek little things in the skits to change them up slightly and make them more fun.

    As we met on the morning of January 27th for our last practice I was feeling pretty good about the show. The Scouts had really stepped up to the plate and learned their lines and actions. This final practice was held at the high school auditorium where the show would be held in the afternoon. It was the only time they would have to practice the show from start to finish on the stage.

    The troop had planned on one skit being performed by alumni members. Unfortunately, neither one of the young men was able to make it to the practices during the troop meetings, and they had not shown up for the final morning practice. The Scouts decided to add one more skit to the show to replace the one to be done by the alumni. The boys had the chance to run through the new skit twice but felt confident they could do it for the show. When one of the two young men showed up later in the morning I decided to do the original planned skit with him, but the Scouts also decided to keep the added skit in the program. This surprised me but also made me feel a little proud that they were willing to do it.

    The 2018 Laughs For Lunch Show began at 1:00 pm. There was about 60 people in the audience, so it was a nice crowd. Other than for two small glitches the Melrose Boy Scouts did an outstanding job! The performed the skits and songs very well. The audience had a great time which meant the boys had an awesome time.Several people commented after the show that they hoped the Boy Scouts would do another show next year.

    You know what? The Scouts are talking about it!

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      Camp Watchamagumee is one of the favorite camping spots for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. It is forty acres of private land located about ten miles north of Melrose. The troop began camping there in the late 1980’s and have planned an annual trip there every year since then.

      I would guess it was maybe 15 years ago when I suggested a new activity to the Scouts for this weekend. It became so popular that it has now become an annual tradition. I had no idea the Egg Drop Competition would become so poplar. The Scouts really enjoy the challenge and trying to come up with a design to create the best package of the year.

      The Egg Drop Competition is actually quite simple. Each Scout, or two person team if a lot of Scouts attended the outing, receives a raw egg. They have 15 minutes to create a package for that egg using only natural materials found in the wooded area around the camp. No man-made materials are allowed, not even string. The Boy Scouts become quite inventive as they use grass, bark, stick, logs, mud and moss to create their packages. A few packages over the years have even used dried cow patties. The packages must be easily opened so that the egg can be retrieved to see if it has survived.

      The first round begins with the egg packages being dropped from waist high. If the egg survives it moves on to the next round in which the eggs are dropped from chest high. Each round gets higher which eliminates more eggs, of course. The drops continue until only one egg remains unbroken.

      Some of the Scouts have gotten pretty good at this. There have been years I have stood near the top of an eight foot tall step ladder throwing the packages down unto a concrete patio block trying to break the egg. Of course, you can probably imagine the excitement when the competition get to that point, and the smile on the face of the Boy Scout when his egg survives the throw.

      I was not able to attend this year’s Egg Drop Competition. Yes, i missed the egg drop. This may have been the first time. I heard that the nine Scouts had an excellent time again this year, including the four new Scouts who had just crossed over from Webelos a couple months earlier. The picture shows Luke, this year’s winner.

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        I like reading the Bryan On Scouting blog. It is quite informative, and can also be quite fun at times. He recently added a post of which I was a bit skeptical at first since he posted it on April 1st, which is April Fools Day. But after doing a bit of research it looks like it is legit. The Boy Scouts of America has eliminated its Tour and Activity Plan!

        I wish they would have done this back when I was a scoutmaster. I always felt these forms were a pain in the neck. I understood the reason for them but that did not mean I had to like them. The planning of the outing usually was not the problem. The worst part run running around to get the signatures needed.

        The Bryan On Scouting blog post explains the reasoning behind the new policy. You can click on the link below. I would suggest you check it out. You can also check out the BSA’s page on the Tour and Activity Plan page for more answers. which can be found at:

        http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/Alerts/TourActivityPlan.aspx

        BSA’s Tour and Activity Plan eliminated

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          It is winter in Minnesota. That means it is time for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 to spend a weekend at Camp Stearns for their annual winter outing. It is a tradition that began over 15 years ago.

          Seven Members of Troop 68 attended the weekend outing near Fairhaven this year, along with two adult leaders. They left Melrose January 20th, a foggy Friday night, and returned on a much less foggy Sunday morning. The forecast for the weekend was for the weather to be damp and above freezing, which was not the best forecast for a winter activity.

          The Troop had reserved the Whitewater Lodge which allowed them to have a warm, dry place to sleep and relax. Their schedule would keep the Scouts outside for a good portion of the weekend. Their are plenty of activities at Camp Stearns if a troop decides to take advantage of them.

          Once the Troop had checked in with the camp master, and the Scouts had unpacked the gear, it was time to do a little exploring. The first stop was at the quartermaster’s building to check on gear. The next stop was the sledding hill. Camp Stearns has a great sledding hill which has lights for evening fun. The Scouts were hoping that there would be enough snow on the hillside after the warm weather we had had during the past week. There was plenty of snow. The boys went back to their Lodge, changed clothes, and had fun sledding before calling it a night.

          The Troop had a full schedule Saturday morning which included time older Scouts helping the newer members work on their advancement. Most of the boys participated in an orienteering course and hike. Then it was back to the sledding hill for another hour of racing down the hillside.

          Camp Stearns has two nine-hole disc golf courses so you can probably guess where the Troop spent a portion of the afternoon. They discovered it takes longer to play a round in the winter time because it takes longer to find the thrown discs in the foot deep snow. The Scouts did not mind. They were having too much fun playing the game and talking smack at each other.

          After supper, the boys had a short religious service and relaxed with a game of Catan and a movie. They also had the chance to surprise their Scoutmaster on his birthday with a song and cupcakes baked by one of the boy’s mother.

          The Troop was on their way home by 9:00 Sunday morning after a quick breakfast and cleanup of the building. Plans were already being discussed for next year’s trip to Camp Stearns.

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            Pinewood Derby time has arrived for many Cub Scout Packs across the country. Thousands of derby cars have been made, or are being finished. Each will be a work of art. Many will have original designs. Some will race for speed. Some will try for the Best Of Show award. A few will probably not cross the finish line. The point of the derby is for the parent and Cub Scout to spend some time together to create the car, and then have fun racing against the others of the Pack.

            Most Cub Scout Packs give trophies to the fastest cars. In Melrose Pack 68 we did something a little different this year. We awarded trophies to the two fastest cars in each den, thus giving the Scouts a greater chance of winning. Two trophies were also awarded for the Best Of Show. Of course, this means a lot of boys will not go home with an award so we gave each Cub Scout a patch for participating. The patch we choose this year is shown above. I think it is a sharp patch. The boys really seemed to like it.

            In addition to the patch each Scout also received a special “race car cookie” baked by one of the grandmothers. I can testify that they are the best race car the boys have ever eaten! The cookie pictured below did not last long after the picture was taken.

             

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              lbp002I have been more active with Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 during the last few months as our new scoutmaster gets comfortable with his new position. I have invited the Patrol Leaders Council to once again hold their meetings at my house which has given me the opportunity to assist in their training and answer any questions of the new scoutmaster.

              As the Boy Scouts planned their monthly agenda, I encouraged them to plan a different game for each of the weekly troop meetings. I also asked them to only use one game from the previous month. This adds for variety during the meetings and forces the youth leadership to think a bit more when they do their planning.

              When the Scouts were planning their November meetings during the October patrol leader council meeting they were coming up short on game time ideas as they tried to follow my suggestion. I mentioned a game I have not seen the troop play in a few years. I gave them a brief summary of the games rules and the boys quickly added it to the meeting plan for November 21st.

              The meeting arrived. It was time to play the game. I soon discovered that not one of the Scouts attending the meeting had played this game. I thought that a few of the older boys had played it when they were younger but I was wrong. I was surprised that it had been a few years since the troop had used this game during a meeting.

              I explained the rules of the game, and also told them it was a game that they would probably never play in school because it can be a pretty rough and tumble game. I had them take off their uniform shirts to prevent any damage, and told the boys who were wearing boots to remove them. We did not want anyone getting hurt after all.

              It was time to begin. The Scouts had a blast! They also had quite the workout. Most of them were breathing hard by the end of the game. I have a feeling this game will start getting used more often in the upcoming months.

              Have you guessed what the game is yet? It is called British Bulldog, a game played by Boy Scouts since the start of the program in the early 1900’s. I would bet Lord Baden-Powell watched a few games of this being played. This old game had become new again to another group of Boy Scouts in central Minnesota.

              Does your troop play British Bulldogs? Does the game wear them out?

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                img_1049The Bears Den of Melrose Cub Scout Pack 68 had fun last weekend. They had their first overnight camping trip. It was held a couple miles south of Melrose in the backyard of one of the families. With a nice big backyard, and hiking trails nearby, it was a good spot for this fun activity. Eight of the ten Bear Scouts were able to attend the outing. I believe they each had a parent in attendance.

                The Bears were kept busy with several activities. They assisted in setting up the tents and laying out their gear. They took a hike to a nearby gravel pit, watching for animal tracks along the way to complete an award requirement. They learned about pocket knife safety as they earned their Whittling Chip badge. And, of course they played games. It is amazing how much noise eight third grade boys can make when they are having fun together. After it got dark, it suddenly grew very quiet, like someone had turned off the volume switch. It did not take long to discover the boys had decided to play a game of hide and seek. After that game was done the noise level rose again.

                I did not stay for the overnight. I did attend for a few hours, enough time to have supper with the den, chat with the parents in attendance, and have a little fun with the boys. My true reason for being there was to tell a story around the campfire before they turned in for the night. The story I chose? The Purple Gorilla story. It is a good story for that age group. Even the adults enjoyed it. As the story’s suspense reached its peak toward the end of the tale, I had everyone’s full attention. In fact, at one point I think everyone one of the boys jumped, and maybe even a couple adults. As I finished the tale with its interesting twist, the Scouts laughed and the adults smiled.

                It may have been a quite suspenseful story, but it really is not a scary story. In fact, one of the fathers told me the next day that the Scouts fell asleep very quickly once the turned in for the night. No nightmares were to be had. Let’s face it, the boys were worn out. The night did get a bit chilly though. It temperature dropped into the upper thirties Sunday morning. The young Scouts did not seem to mind very much. It was just another part of their weekend adventure!

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