Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category

derbyBoyScouts(I just found this article on my desk. I guess I forgot to post it. It might be a little late, but what the heck.)

Cub Scout Pack 68 of Melrose held its 2015 Pinewood Derby on Sunday, January 25th. As the current cubmaster I asked the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 if any of them would be able to help with the event. Five of them took me up on the offer.

Adrian was the first Boy Scout to arrive. His brother is a Cub Scout. Since he was the first I gave him my camera and made him the official photographer. His job was to take pictures of the Cub Scouts holding their derby cars before they turned them in. I also took him to take plenty of pictures during the event and of the award presentation at the end. I am not sure if he had ever been a photographer before, but he had plenty of practice during the derby.

Alex and Daniel were the next Boy Scout to arrive. They also happened to be the troop’s senior patrol leader and assistant senior patrol leader. I had Alex work with the two Tiger Cubs who were to do the flag presentation. The Tigers would count this toward one of their Tiger Cub requirements.

I put Daniel to work as our official time keeper. He would keep the time of each car in each race. Each “race” would actually consist of two races so each car would race on each of the two lanes. If a car did not win both races we would take the average time from the two races to declare a winner. Unfortunately for Daniel, we did not need to check the race times but his job would have been critical if the races would have been closer.

Jacob and Carter were the other Boy Scouts to help during the event. They became out derby car handlers. Their job was to take the cars from the table and place them on the track. They would then receive the cars from the end of the track and replace them on the table, or the track again for the second heat. These two guys definitely had the most exercise of the five Boy Scouts.

All five Scouts did an excellent job with their assigned duties. Each participating Cub Scout received a derby patch. Since we had purchased enough of them we also gave each Boy Scout a patch for their help.

After the award presentation, we opened the track for exhibition racing, or what we called “racing for the fun of it”. Three of the Boy Scouts had brought their derby cars with them. The Cub Scouts had a blast racing the Boy Scouts and the other Cub Scouts they did not get to race against during the competition.

As the event came to an end and the track was packed away for the next year I think I can honestly say that everyone had a good time; the families, the Cub Scouts, and the Boy Scouts.

Thanks for Sharing!

    2015carsCub Scout Pack 68 held their annual Pinewood Derby on Sunday, January 25th, at the Melrose American Legion. Ten Cub Scouts and their families attended along with friends a several Boy Scouts. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

    I have been to several derbies through the last few decades, usually as an observer. Back in the 1980’s, before their was electronic timers, I was asked to be a judge for a derby. In the last couple years I showed up with my camera and acted as the unofficial photographer. I took lots of photos that I shared with the Cub Scout families.

    This year was a little different. Since I am the cubmaster this year I had a few more derby duties than I have ever had in the past. Not only did I learn how to assemble an aluminum Pinewood Derby track but I acted as the master of ceremonies for the event.

    I am sure our derby was just like many derbies held around the council and the nation. There were the fast cars and the cars that did not quite make it to the finish line. There were the fancy looking cars that had a look of work applied to them and a couple that did not. In fact, there was a nice variety of car designs. A few races were extremely close that added to the afternoon’s excitement. In fact, one race was one thousands of a second difference between the two cars.

    Every Cub Scout who participated received a patch. The three fastest cars received trophies. A trophy was also given to the “best of show” car which was given to a car that featured Mario from the video game. It was cool to see the Cub Scout of the Mario car grinning from ear to ear as he accepted his trophy because his car did not do very well in the races.

    Next on the Cub Scout Pack agenda is the Blue and Gold Banquet in February. I am working on a special surprise for the pack but I am not sure if I will be able to pull it off. If I do, it will be a Blue and Gold the Cub Scouts and their families will not soon forget.

    Thanks for Sharing!

      policestationMost people are quite happy to never have to visit a police station. Seeing one on a television show is just fine with them. The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 think a little differently. They were happy to pay a visit to the local station.

      The Boy Scouts gathered at the city hall during their regular meeting time on Monday, January 19th. Police Chief Craig Maus met the Boy Scouts and leaders in the lobby and led them downstairs for a tour of the station. The adults seemed to be just as excited as the Scouts as they walked down the stairs.

      Police Chief Maus did an excellent job of explaining the duties of a police officer as he led the group from room to room. The youth may have been a little disappointed to discover there was not a jail cell but they did have fun looking inside the police car and seeing all the gadgets and gear.

      Chief Maus was very patient with the group and did an excellent job of answering all the questions that were asked. Before they knew it, it was 8:00 and time for the Scouts to go home. Everyone was a little smarter about the life of a rural town police officer and what it would take to become one.

      The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 would like to thank Police Chief Craig Maus for taking the time to give the troop the tour.

      Just a little sidenote: Craig Maus is a home grown police officer. He was born and raised in Melrose. He is also a troop 68 alumni. He was a member Boy Scout Troop 68 in the early 1990’s.

      Thanks for Sharing!

        2014 troop auctionWow! It was a lively troop auction this year. The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 seemed to like the selection of prizes and they were ready to spend their “troop bucks”. (See the last post for the explanation of the troop auction and the troop bucks.) They surprised me once again with what they valued and placed the high bids for. Here is a quick summary of the evening.

        The item that went for the highest bid, and what I expected to go high, was the $20.00 cash prize for which only this year’s troop bucks could be used. The final bid was 900 bucks. Two prizes went for 500 bucks or higher. The 100 page jumbo scrap book sold for 500 bucks, while the mid-range disc golf disc went for a surprising 580 bucks. A day pack/small duffle bag set went for 445 bucks.

        Usually, the last few items do not sell for very much, many times for less than 25 bucks, but this year was a little different. The item with the smallest bid was kite accessory which sold for 50 bucks. We usually have a Scout Handbook as one prize and this year was no different. It sold for 155 bucks.A Scout bolo tie went for only 85 bucks. When everything was auctioned off I think most of the Scouts had spent nearly all of their troop bucks. I also noticed that every Scout went home with something this year. That does not happen very often.

        I decided to tally the amount the boys spent on this year’s prizes while we were putting the room back in order. I was impressed. The total spent during this year’s auction was 4000 troop bucks! I do not think the Scouts have spend that much at one auction since 2004. Like I said at the start of this post, it was a lively troop auction this year.

        Thanks for Sharing!

          auctionprizesOn Monday, December 15th, following the last court of honor for the year, Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 will hold its annual troop auction.While some troops hold auctions as fundraisers, Troop 68 does things a little differently. Our auction is actually an event for the Boy Scouts to bid on prizes using “troop bucks” they earned during the year.

          I began the troop auction when I was the scoutmaster in the 1980’s. It became so popular that we have held one every year since then, even after I stepped down as the scoutmaster. The Scouts enjoy bidding on the prizes as if they were participating in a real auction, which they are when you think about it.

          The idea for the auction came about as an extra way to encourage the Scouts to participate in troop activities and earn advancement. Attend an troop outing, earn 25 troop bucks. Earn a merit badge, earn 50 bucks. Ranks were valued for 100-200 troop bucks.

          The Boy Scouts receive a certificate at the December court of honor with the amount of troop bucks earned during the year. This has no monetary value. Its only purpose is for the troop auction bidding. Any troop bucks not earned this year may be saved and used next year. The certificates expire on the Scout’s 18th birthday. Certificates may only be used by the Scouts who’s name appears on the certificate. Scouts may not use each other’s troop bucks or combine theirs to create larger bids for prizes.

          Prices range from small to large items. There is usually something Scouting, like a handbook or a bolo tie. There is camping gear, from water bottles or flashlights to small backpacks or day packs. Of course, there are also items just for the fun of it. There is a $20 cash prize that only the troop bucks earned during the current year can be used to bid upon.

          It has been interesting to see which prizes have been popular, or not, over the years. There have been items which I thought would have had a lot of bidding but the Scouts did not care for. There have been items I thought would go for a small amount but instead had a bidding war going on. Every is different.

          The picture shows the prizes for this year’s auction. What will be the most popular? I am not sure. But it will be fun to find out on Monday night.

          Thanks for Sharing!

            climbing2014The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 had a busy one day activity during the month of November. It was a two part outing. The first part was a trip to the St. Cloud State University climbing wall where the Scouts had fun testing their skills on seven different climbs, from easy to quite challenging. Even one of the mothers took the opportunity to give it a try. Everyone had a great time and a good workout.

            The second part was the overnighter held at the residence of one of the Scouts. The Scouts played games, watched movies, and ate plenty of food. Several of the boys fell asleep after 2:00 am but a few stayed awake the entire night. The Scouts left for home at 7:00 in the morning.

            I attended the outing as one of the adult leaders. Of course, I brought along my digital camera and my new iPad Air. While the Scouts were climbing, I gave my camera to one of the other adults to take pictures so I could record video with the iPad. I ended up with nearly 30 minutes of video.

            Several hours later, while watching the Scouts play video games, I decided to open the iMovie app on the iPad Air and play around with creating a trailer using the video I took that afternoon. It was my first time using the app on the tablet. It take not take very long to learn how to use it and create a short trailer.

            I was happy with how it turned out so I thought it might make a nice addition to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. I hope you enjoy watching it. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of it.

            Video Information: 720 x 404, time 01:05, 17.6 MB, m4v format.

            Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
            Subscribe to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast at
            or through iTunes. (If you use iTunes, don’t forget to rate the podcast.)
            Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store. It is great to read what you think of these videos.

            Thanks for Sharing!

              disc golf albanyThe Boy Scouts of Troop 68 were asked to help by providing an activity for last August’s Night To Unite in Melrose. I volunteered my disc golf practice basket and the Scouts brought their discs. People had fun trying their putting skills, or discovering that they did not have any putting skills. Employees from the city of Melrose, and even a couple city council members, stopped by to throw a few discs and talk about the game.

              Melrose does not have a disc golf course, but the city now has an interest in one after watching the Boy Scouts and the public playing the game during that evening in the park. The city administrator asked the Boy Scouts and myself to attend the next park board meeting with a proposal to have a course installed in the park. Over the next couple days, a few Scouts and I worked out a plan for a nine hole course and, using my practice basket, actually played a game in the park. I worked up a cost estimate and other information and presented a plan to the park board at the end of August. The board members really liked the idea and the projected cost of the course. They stated that this idea would be a great project to bring more people to use the park, including tweens and teenagers.

              Earlier this month I received a phone from the city administrator asking me to attend the city council meeting on Thursday, October 16. The disc golf course proposal had passed the park board and had moved on to the city council for action. I needed to be there in case the council had any questions that needed to be addressed. I marked it on my calendar.

              The city council did have a few questions, but none of them were hard to answer. They all seemed to like the idea. When it came time to vote they all voted in favor of creating a disc golf course next spring. The budget they gave to it was lower than I originally proposed so we will not get the concrete tee boxes right away, but they would be a possibility in a few years.

              I was told I would be contacted over the winter to meet with the board to make the final preparations for the new course. I guess my work did not end with the proposal. It appears that I am the resident expert on disc golf courses. I had to chuckle to myself. I am probably one of the few adults in town who has played a lot of disc golf, and played on several courses in the area. I am not an expert but I guess I can help plan a local course.

              Boy Scout Troop 68 will have a hand in this park. I plan on getting a couple of them to help at the planning meetings this winter. I also plan to have them help build and install the course this spring. There should be plenty of service hours to go around. Unfortunately, the planning has already gone too far to allow one Scout to use this as an Eagle Project, but you know, those concrete tee boxes will need to be added in another year or two.

              Does your troop enjoy playing disc golf? Where do they play?

              Thanks for Sharing!

                kindergarden funThe regular meeting of Boy Scout Troop 68 began its usual way Monday night. The Scouts had an opening and then began the skill development session of the meeting. The theme was the Scout Law. It was time to review the twelve points and their meanings. Daniel, a Life Scout, lead the discussion. Scoutmaster Jim finished it by informing the Scouts they would have the chance to use several of these points during a good turn that would happen in several minutes.

                The troop meets at St. Mary’s School gym during the cold weather months, October through April. Monday night was the first meeting for this season held at the gym. The principal of the school had asked the scoutmaster if the troop could help with a little project. A meeting for the Kindergarten children and their parents was also being held at the school that evening. The teacher was hoping for several minutes to meet with the parents alone. Could the Boy Scouts keep these young children entertained for ten minutes during that meeting?

                When Mr. Doyle escorted the small students into the gym the Boy Scouts where ready to begin the game session. I thought there would be maybe a dozen kids, but they kept coming in. More and more. The line stopped when 24 Kindergarteners walked into the gym. You could tell several of them were a little frightened by the big Boy Scouts. We did not let them think about it before breaking them up into five smaller groups and starting the game.

                It was a very simple game. The kids took turns rolling balls into three bowling pins, trying to knock them over. The Boy Scouts acted as the pin setters, the ball return, and the helpers to lead the youngsters to do well. The Scouts were quite excited. When one of the little ones knocked all three pins over the older boys were the first ones to cheer and get a high five from the successful youngster. Several of the youngsters were really getting into the game. A few stayed a little shy and reserved. I think they all had fun. To tell the truth, after a few minutes it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the Boy Scouts or the Kindergarteners.

                I immediately saw the photo opportunity going on so I quickly grabbed my iPad. I was busy snapping photos and even took a couple videos. I look forward to sharing the photos with the troop and the school.

                After the children left and the meeting returned to normal, the scoutmaster gathered the Scouts and held a short discussion about what just occurred. Which points of the Scout Law did the Scouts practice during this visit? How did they feel about playing with this age group? Was it a good Good Turn?

                I think the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 will remember this evening for quite awhile.

                Thanks for Sharing!