Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category

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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    slingshotThis is my second summer as the cubmaster of Pack 68. I have had a good time and have agreed to a third year in the position. The pack does not have meetings during the summer months but we do have a pack activity each month. I had the Cub Scouts come out to my family cabin which is located on Kings Lake for their July activity. Eleven of the 17 Cub Scouts attended the event.

    The activity was held on a Monday night. It started at 6:30 in the evening and lasted until 8:30. We did not plan any swimming activities, but that does not mean the Cub Scouts did not get wet. One of the events had the Scouts filling water balloons and trying to hit a target using my water balloon sling shot (shown in the picture.) Some of the balloons busted while in the slingshot, spraying nearby Scouts with water. Some of the balloons became air bound without using the slingshot. The Cub Scouts did not mind. They were having fun.

    The second activity was a disc golf putting contest. The pack was divided into two teams. Each team had several discs and tried to putt as many discs into the disc golf basket as they could. I started the Scouts a bit too far from the basket so after each round I moved them a little closer until the discs began landing in the basket. Some of the boys were asking what the winning team would receive. Another Scout stated correctly that they get bragging rights. Once again, the boys had a good time.

    The last activity of the evening was to get out the marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. We had worked up an appetite and it was time to make s’mores. I think this may have been the Scouts favorite activity. It did not take long for sticky fingers and mouths to be found around the campfire.

    I want to thank the many parents for helping with the event. They assisted the boys as they filled water balloons, manned the slingshot, and helped the Scouts prepare the s’mores. Everyone stayed safe and had a great time. I bet they would all come back out next year if we do it again.

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      kayakingI have heard from several people how fun kayaking can be, but I never really tried it. Well, not until earlier this month. My sister and her son invited me along on a kayak trip down the Sauk River, which runs through Melrose, Minnesota. They planned to start from the Sauk River Park in town and get out just south of New Munich, a small town located about five miles from Melrose. I had nothing planned for that Sunday so I decided to go along, if they could find a kayak for me to use. Ben, my nephew, made a phone call and found one very quickly.

      It was a great time and a perfect day to spend on the river. The current was slow since we have not had a good rain for awhile. There were a lot of downed trees in the river but we only had to portage once. For most of the trip you did not see many signs of civilization. We even got to see and eagle and a deer. The trip took a little longer then expected. We thought it would be a three hour trip. It actually ended up being four hours. No one really cared though. It was a lot of fun.

      As I was paddling down the river I thought to myself that this would be a fun activity for the Boy Scout troop. They have been canoeing a couple times during the last five years but never have they been kayaking. I can honestly say that I think I prefer kayaking to canoeing. I have found it is a little harder to get out of a kayak though. If the troop decided to go on a kayaking weekend trip, I am not sure where they would store their gear. There does not seem to be a whole lot of storage room in a kayak.

      My questions to you readers are, “Has your troop been on an overnight kayaking weekend? How did it go? Did the Scouts enjoy it? What did you do about the troop gear?”

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        Disc Golf Ribbon Cutting2

        A year and a half ago I wrote a couple of articles about how the Melrose Boy Scout Troop had inspired the Melrose city officials to think about having a nine basket disc golf course installed in the main city park. A quickly planned but simple service project activity during the city’s 2014 Night To Unite evening started the ball rolling on something I would have liked to have seen in town two decades earlier. You can read these posts Here and Here.

        It recently occurred to me that I did not write any follow up articles to let you all know how things turned out. As stated in one of the earlier posts, I thought the Boy Scouts would assist in helping the city staff assemble the course equipment and installing it in the park. Well, it did not quite happen that way. The city park staff assembled everything themselves during the winter months, and installed all the signs and baskets early in the spring while the Scouts were still in school. At least a couple of the Scouts, who happened to be working on their Citizenship in the Community merit badge, were able to assist in creating the tee signs for each hole.

        The Sauk River Park disc golf course was finished the first Monday of May in 2015. On a rainy night two weeks later, the Boy Scouts were present with various city and park officials for the official ribbon cutting. As the person who did a lot of the planning and design work for the park, I was given a scissors to cut the ribbon. Then the Scouts lined up for a picture throwing their discs at the basket for the local paper. The adults that were present also lined up for a similar picture. The newspaper did a great write up about the course.

        The disc golf course received a good amount of use during the year of 2015. The local teenagers started making use of the course immediately, and many families discovered it was an activity they could do together. Even the high school started using the course as a Phys Ed activity since the course is located across the street from the school. Both city officials and the park board were happy with the use the course was getting, which made me feel good after the time and effort I had poured into the project. Not many people get to say they brought something to their city which everyone can play and have fun doing.

        A few weeks ago we began a disc golf league in Melrose. There are about fourteen people in the league, most of them teenagers, and four of them Boy Scouts. There is even one Cub Scout and his father who play. Ages range from 9 years old to 55 years old. We have been having a great time playing and meeting the new members. I just wish I would have thrown a bit better last week, but then, we all wish to do better than we usually do when we play.

        I sometimes still find it hard to believe that this course happened because of a little project in the park one night prepared by the Boy Scouts. It just goes to show, you never know…


        Disc Golf Ribbon Cutting6

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          discgolf2016The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 sure like their disc golf. They like it so well that for the last few years they have planned a disc golf outing as part of their yearly program. Central Minnesota has several disc golf courses. In fact, I believe there are nine or ten within a 35 mile range of Melrose. Grab your discs and let’s play a game!

          This last weekend was a busy one for the Scouts. Saturday began with a disc golf triathlon, followed by a junior leader training session, and ending with Sunday’s breakfast fundraiser. It would be enough to tire out Boy Scouts, adult leaders, and parents.

          Saturday morning, March 19th, began with a strong chill in the air. That chill was partially due to the snowfall we had the day before and overnight. We had been hoping for a nice day since the weekend before had seen temperatures in the upper 60’s, and those temps had melted the remaining snow. Oh well, time to lace up the boots and grab the winter jackets as we loaded up the cars to head to our first course of the triatholon.

          We drove 35 miles to get to our first stop, the Riverside Park course in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It is one of the nicest course in the county. Unfortunately, it was not a good course to play one this day. We noticed very quickly as we drove along the park that all the disc golf baskets had been removed. We did not see a single one. Not even the practice baskets were in place. We needed a different course to play.

          Fortunately, the Calvary Park 18 hole course was only a few miles away. The Scout’s smiles returned as we saw the baskets were still in place. Since it was the first time the troop had played this course it sometimes took a few minutes to discover were the next tee boxes and baskets were located. The course was challanging as it contained a wooded hillside that presented many branches to deflect throws. Not that it mattered too much. The Scouts still had plenty of fun. And to make it even better, the snow had begun to melt before we left the course.

          Since it was nearly the noon hour we stopped at White Castle for lunch. Most of the boys had never eaten at the fast food chain before this stop. Most of them ordered a four pack of Sliders, the White castle hamburger. Later that day, some of the Scouts discovered the secret meaning of the Slider name.

          The second course of the tour was the 18 baskets found at Millstream Park in St. Joseph. By the time we arrived a lot of the snow had melted. That also meant the millstream was flowing. The well known water hazards of the park would now have to be considered as we threw discs around the course. Unfortunately, some of the discs did land in the water hazards. Some discs the Scouts were able to retrieve using long sticks and branches, but four of them were left behind in the deeper bone-chilling water. The nature of this course slowed us down to the point that by the time we finished it was too late to play the third planned course. We had a junior leader training session to begin at 5:00. The triathlon had turned into a biathalon.

          Even though we lost a few discs, and two of the boys decided to test the temperature of the water by sliding into the stream toward the end of the game, we all had a great time and look forward to playing a lot more games this summer.


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            cardisplayThe Cub Scouts of Melrose Pack 68 recently had fun making a project during the March 21st pack meeting. They boys constructed display stands for their Pinewood Derby cars. Each stand is able to display five cars, enough from 1st Grade Tiger Cubs through 5th grade Webelos Scouts. With their parents help, the Cub Scouts completed their stand during the meeting. They will be bringing them back to the April pack meeting to show how they decorated them.
            The pack would like to give a special shout out to committee member Matt H. who cut the pieces and prepped them ahead of the pack meeting.
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              blueandgold13The Cub Scouts and families of Melrose Pack 68 held their annual Blue and Gold Banquet on Monday, February 15th at the Melrose American Legion. Sixteen of the eighteen Cub Scouts attended the event. I was quite happy with the turnout.

              The Central Minnesota Council sent a representative to talk about Friends of Scouting, the yearly fundraiser for the council. If the pack met its goal of about $650 it would receive free rank patches for the year. I was very surprised when the pack not only met the goal but surpassed it by collecting over $1000 in donation and pledges. It was great to see the parents demonstrating how they value the Scouting program.

              After the meal we began the award ceremony. The commander of the American Legion gave a short talk and stated the Legion was proud to be the sponsor for the Cub Scout Pack. The Legion allows us the use of their facility for both the banquet and the Pinewood Derby. It is great to have a charter sponsor that is more than just a signature on the recharter once a year.

              The award ceremony began with each of the Cub Scouts receiving a patch for attending the Blue and Gold Banquet. A few dozen belt loops were presented to the Tigers, Wolves, and Bears. It was the most belt loops I have ever had the pleasure of awarding the Scouts. The boys were quite excited as they stepped up to the stage, by den, to receive their achievements. The first year Webelos Scouts also did quite well. Each of them received two activity pins to add to their shoulder colors. Those strips will look very sharp by the end of the year of they keep this up, as will the belts of the younger Scouts.

              As the meeting drew to an end I had a little surprise for the Scouts. Last year I presented each of the boys a comic book donated by a local comic book store. This year, in a nod to the new movie, each Cub Scout received a Star Wars: The Force Awakens trading card. Each card had been inserted back into a wrapper so the boys did not know which one they received until they returned to their seat. They Scouts seemed quite excited about receiving a trading card.

              I had enough Star Wars cards left over so I invited each of the siblings who had attended the banquet to come up and choose one for themselves. Their grins were ear to ear, just like the Cub Scouts, as they stepped up to the stage to collect one. Ever the older siblings seemed to appreciate receiving a card.

              After the families had gone homeI stayed around for awhile talking to the Legion Commander and the caretaker of the facility. Both people expressed how pleased they were of the Cub Scouts and their families. The pack had cleaned the tables and stacked the chairs without being asked to do so. I think they were even a little proud of this Cub Scout pack they sponsored.

              The pack’s next activity will be a trip to the St. John University climbing wall. It will be fun to watch the boys test their skills, and courage, and they scale the 30 foot walls. It should be quite an interesting afternoon.

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                P68movie - 1Melrose Cub Scout Pack 68 currently has 18 members from Tiger Cubs through Webelos Scouts. The pack committee has been doing a great job of finding things to keep the Scouts interested in Scouting and things that are fun to do. A case in point was their November outing.

                Everyone has been to a movie theater to watch a motion picture. But how many times have you had the chance to get a “backstage” tour of the facility? On Sunday, November 22, seventeen Pack 68 Cub Scouts and their parents had the chance to go upstairs at the Main Street Theater in Sauk Centre and see what goes on in the projection booth. Bob Douvier, owner of the theater, gave the boys and their parents a tour of the room and explanation of how things operate. He even had the old film projector next to the new digital projector so the boys could see the difference in technologies over the last several years.

                The Cub Scouts had plenty of questions for Mr. Douvier. A few questions were also asked by the parents. I think everyone had a great time with the short tour, parents included. After the tour the Cub Scouts and their parents watched The Peanuts Movie which was actually quite good.

                The photo is of the article that appeared in the Melrose Beacon, our local newspaper.

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