Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category


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.

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    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.

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      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.
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      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.

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        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?

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          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.

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            discgolfwaterThis month is the beginning of the new 2014-2015 program for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. The Scouts got together one Saturday last month and plotted out their monthly themes and activities for another year. A few of the traditional outings made it in, and a few new ones joined the program. Here is a look at the schedule for the next twelve months.

            September 2014: Safe trip afloat/ canoe safety
            1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings Popcorn sales
            9 – Committee Meeting
            18 – School night to join scouting
            22 – Court Of Honor
            26-28 – canoe trip and camp out
            29 – PLC Meeting

            October 2014: Leave no trace/packing
            6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
            6 – start ticket sales for supper
            6 – Popcorn Sales Due to Chris
            14 – Committee Meeting
            25 – Road Cleanup
            24-26 – Kramer’s/clay pigeon shoot
            27 – PLC Meeting

            November 2014: Knot tying
            1 – Troop fundraiser supper
            3, 10, 17 – Troop Meetings
            18 – Committee Meeting
            22-23 – Overnight/ rock climbing
            24 – PLC Meeting

            December 2014: Personal fitness/ management/advancement
            1, 8 – Troop Meetings
            9 – Committee Meeting
            13 – Snow Tubing/Christmas Party
            15 – Court Of Honor

            January 2015: first aid/ fire safety
            5, 12,19 – Troop Meetings
            20 – Committee Meeting
            24 – Water Park Brainerd
            26 – PLC Meeting

            February 2015: Uniforms/Sewing
            2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
            17 – Committee Meeting
            20-22 – Camp Stearns
            23 – PLC Meeting

            March 2015: Merit badge/Advancements
            2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
            17 – Committee Meeting
            21 – LPMRB Outing
            23 – Court Of Honor
            30 – PLC Meeting

            April 2015: Cooking
            6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
            17-19 – Watchamagumee
            18 – Scouting for food drop off
            25 – Road Cleanup/scouting for food pick up
            21 – Committee Meeting
            27 – PLC Meeting

            May 2015: Swim Safety
            4, 11, 18 – Troop Meetings
            15-17- Ripley Rendezvous
            18 – Summer Camp Meeting (Parents & Scouts)
            19 – Committee Meeting
            25 – PLC Meeting

            June 2015 Fire Starting/Campfires
            1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings
            16 – Committee Meeting
            19-21 – Camp out/Disc Golf
            22 – Court Of Honor
            29 – PLC Meeting

            July 2015: Summer Camp
            12-18 – Summer camp

            August 2015: Geocaching/ Hike safety
            1 – Yearly Planning Session
            3, 10, 17- Troop Meetings
            18 – Committee Meeting
            21-23- Sibley Camp Out
            24 – PLC Meeting

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              Hole #3.

              Hole #3.

              If you have been keeping up with this blog you know that both I and the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 like to play disc golf. I usually go to a nearby town to play since Melrose does not have a disc golf course. I like to get out at least once per week. Gotta keep that throwing arm a bit loose, you know?

              Today, Sergio, who is an alumni of Troop 68, and I tried a course at Rivers Edge Park in Waite Park that I knew of but had never played. Playing a course for the first time can be a bit of a challenge if the course is not marked well, and this one fit into that category. It took us a few minutes to discover where the course started (found out we parked in the wrong parking lot), and then where the tee off points and baskets were located.

              The course was only nine baskets, which was fine with us for the afternoon. None of the holes contained any long distance throwing, like the Albany course, but the course was a fair test of our skills. The fairways were mostly flat but some were narrow between the trees. There were a lot of trees. The Sauk River bordered three or four holes, and a few of the baskets were hidden within or behind groups of trees. Like I said, challenging, but fun.

              According to the DG Course Review website, the course has a par of 27. That means each hole is a par three. They gave it a rating of 2.73 out of five. I think I would have rated it a bit higher, except the course does need a little bit of maintenance.

              By the time we finished the ninth hole I thought I was losing by one throw. Sergio thought he was losing by one. We added up the scores and discovered a tie at 36. We had not made par, but we were both happy with our scores so we did not play another nine. We had a good time and that is what really counted.

              Now I have a new course to introduce the Boy Scouts to. They will have fun on it but will have to watch out for wild throws, or they may find themselves swimming in the river to retrieve their discs. (See picture.)

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                Philmont Sunset 0871aA few things came to mind as I took a late evening walk around Melrose tonight that was different from taking a walk at Philmont Scout Ranch:
                1) It is a lot more humid in Minnesota then it is in New Mexico.
                2) It stays lighter about an hour later in central Minnesota than it does at Philmont.
                3) There are a lot more mosquitoes in Minnesota than Philmont, which reminds me that MN is where skeeters are raised and then exported to the rest of the country.
                4) There is a lot more traffic in Melrose than at Philmont Scout ranch.
                5) I already miss those late night Philmont walks with Scouting friends that would take us to the Base Camp trading post for an ice cream cone before heading back to PTC.

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