Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category


2019 Pinewood Derby Trophies

Another January has come and gone which also means thousands of Pinewood Derby’s has been held across the country. Melrose Area Cub Scout Pack 68 held this year’s Pinewood Derby at the Melrose American Legion on Sunday, January 20. Twenty five Cub Scouts participated in the event.

I arrived at the Legion to help set things up before most of the families arrived. After asking the cubmaster what I should do she asked me to take photographs during the event. I guess she knows that type of work is right up my alley.

I took pictures of each Scout as they arrived. I took two pictures of the Scout holding his/her car, and one closeup of the car. I also took some pictures during the event. When I was asked by the cubmaster to hand out the Derby Patches after the races were complete I handed my camera to one of the Boy Scouts who continued to take pictures. I took the camera back when the cubmaster presented the trophies. I was also able to get a few group and den photos before families started to leave.

By the time the event was over I had over 160 photos from the Pinewood Derby. Since most of the families have a Facebook account I posted many of them to the site. I may also make a slideshow of the pictures and post it later. Of course, no names of the Scouts will be listed with the photos.

Does your Pack assign someone to take photo’s during its Pinewood Derby? How many photos did they take during the event? Did your Cub Scouts enjoy your derby?

Boy Scout skit: Is It Time Yet?

Boy Scout Troop 68 held its 2019 Laughs For Lunch Show on Saturday, January 26, at the Melrose High School auditorium. The hour long campfire-style program began at 1:00 in the afternoon. Over 100 people attended to watch the Scouts perform songs and skits. The Scouts did a great job and the audience had a lot of laughs. Many audience members said they really enjoyed the show and would come back for another one.

This was the current troop’s second annual show, but it was the troop’s fourteenth program. The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 held their first show in January 1996. They held twelve shows over a thirteen year period. The troop needed to put the show on hold when membership dropped too low. With membership increasing once again the boys decided it was time to bring back the program.

As an adult Boy Scout leader I see several benefits for the Scouts who perform for these shows. The first, of course, is that the Scouts learn a lot of different songs and skits that they can then choose from when they are at summer camp or a camporee. For example, this year’s show contained eighteen songs and skits of which fifteen were new to the Scouts.

A second benefit of the show is the teamwork needed to carry out this type of program. Not only does each Scout need to learn his own part of each skit or song in which they participate but they also work together as a troop to do it well as they can so that they can tickle the audience’s funny bone. Scouts also help each other during the more difficult portions.

The third benefit is it sometimes forces the Scouts to learn how to ad lib and think fast on their feet. If your are involved with Scouting you know that many skits only have a basic premise and a good punchline. Much of the skit is made up by the Scouts acting in the short play. Add a few audience members and you can never be sure you know what is going to happen. A Scout has to think quick to use anything that could happen on the stage.

A fourth benefit is a big one. The Scout learns skills in public speaking. Many adults have a fear of public speaking. Imagine being an eleven year old Boy Scout on a stage performing a silly sketch in front of a hundred people. Not only do the new Scouts rise to the challenge during their first show, they begin to look for bigger parts during the future shows. Think about it for a moment. If a boy learns to overcome his stage fright and be silly on a stage when they are young, it will be much easier to speak in front of a group of people as they get older.

The fifth benefit almost does not need to be stated, but I will. The Boy Scouts have FUN while doing the show. The more the audience giggles and laughs, the more fun the Scouts have, and the harder they try to perform well. This is the reason the troop has done fourteen Laughs for Lunch Shows. And it will be the main reason for doing more shows in the future.

Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 became well known locally for performing campfire songs and skits in the 1980s and 1990s. The scouts had a great time performing and started getting good at creating revised and new songs and skits. The troop was even asked to chair a district Camporee campfire and did a fantastic job.

In 1996, the troop took their love of campfire programs to the next level. The troop decided to create a two hour campfire style show to be held at the Melrose high school auditorium. The show would be open to the public. The Scouts asked people to bring a nonperishable food item for the local food shelf. Thus the name Laughs For Lunch was created. The troop would provide the laughs as the audience members brought the lunch for those in need. It turned into a nice food drive.

The Laughs For Lunch show became a tradition that lasted for 13 years. While most of the audience were family members and friends of troop members, there were also people from neighboring towns. Boy Scouts of other troops would attend, including a troop from the Twin Cities who attended for a couple of years.

As Troop membership began to decline through the early 2000’s we found it more difficult to keep the show going each year. I believe the final show was held in January 2008. It was sad to see the tradition come to an end.

Membership in both the Cub Scout pack and the Boy Scout troop begin increasing once again in the mid 2010’s. During the troop’s yearly program planning session held in August 2017, the youth leadership decided to bring back the Laughs For Lunch Show. Both the committee chairperson and I were glad to see it returned to the schedule.

Bringing the show back would be a challenge. Over eight years had gone by since the last show. Not one of the current Boy Scouts were members of the troop when the last show was held. Only three members of the adult leadership were still involved with the troop. The scouts would have to learn nearly everything, both the skits and the songs.

As planning for the 2018 show began we quickly decided to cut the program down to an hour long. This proved to be a smart decision since we would only have four practice meetings of two hours each to prepare. The Scouts worked hard learning the songs and skits. They did great on the day of the show. The Boy Scouts and the audience had a great time.

When the patrol leader council held their yearly planning session last August they scheduled another Laughs For Lunch Show for January 26, 2019. The performing bug had bit the Scouts and they were ready to do a second show.

On Sunday, December 30, troop members got together to plan this month’s new show. And I do mean new. Nearly every skit and song would be new to the current Boy Scouts, similar to how it was with last year’s show. They also decided to lengthen the show by adding a few more songs and skits. The 2019 show could end up about 90 minutes long.

Like I mentioned earlier, there will only be four practices again to prepare. Each practice will be two hours long. The Scouts will have to work hard, but if previous years are any indication they will do very well and have another successful Laughs For Lunch Show.

The Boy Scouts of Melrose Area Troop 68 have held a Christmas party every year since the early 1980’s. It is an activity which is well attended because we have a lot of fun. Thirteen of the fifteen troop members attended this year’s party which was held on Saturday, December 15th. Four second year Webelos Scouts also attended the event.

The evening began at 5:30 pm with a supper of tacos. Most of the Scouts were quite hungry since they had spend the day downhill skiing at Andes Ski Resort near Alexandria.

The first activity was the gift exchange. Each Scout who wished to participate bought a gift valued from $12 to $15. All the Scouts participated. Each wrapped gift was placed in the center of the room. The Scouts took turns rolling dice. When they rolled doubles they chose a gift. Once all the gifts were chosen they were unwrapped. Then the real fun began. For the next fifteen minutes we continued to roll dice. When a Scout rolled doubles he could swap his gift with someone else. At the end of the fifteen minutes everyone “received” the gift they had in front of them.

Like every year, there were a few gifts that were very popular and moved around the room quite often. They were also a couple not so popular gifts that also were traded when the chance presented itself. I also participated in the exchange. Once there were only a few minutes of game time left, I became serious about which gift I wanted to take home. I was lucky enough to shake doubles with a little over a minute left, and even luckier to have no one shake doubles to take my chosen prize away from me.

The next activity was unwrapping a gift wrapped with duct tape, while wearing garden gloves. Once again, the Scouts rolled dice to have a chance to unwrap the box. Until the next Scout rolled doubles, that is. The game when the final box was unwrapped. Oh yeah, I did not tell you there were smaller wrapped boxes within the larger boxes.

The final game was a Twister tournament. This was followed by a movie which was a really good high school sports film based on a true story. The Scouts really caught caught up in the movie, even cheering for the team during the final event. The Scouts went home after the movie finished.

Does your troop hold a Christmas outing? What do you do? Leave a note about it in the comments section below.

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The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 took some time during the month of October to learn about renewable energy. They did this during their meetings and their monthly outing.

The Scouts were camping during the chilly weekend of October 12-14. They took time Saturday morning to go to Padua for a tour of the Sempa Wind Turbine facility. The boys were very interested and asked a lot of questions which turned the hour long tour into a two hour event. The Scouts even discovered the tour guide is an Eagle Scout himself.

The troop met at the Stearns Electric Association building in Melrose for their troop meeting on Monday, October 15, for a presentation on how the co-op distributes power to its members and how renewable energy fits into its system. Once again, the Scouts and leadership asked a lot of questions which turned the 30 minutes presentation into an hour long. The troop learned that the association receives 25 percent of its power from renewable sources which include wind and solar installations. They also learned the squirrels cause the most animal related energy outages.

The troop would like to thank both organizations for their assistance in learning about renewable energies.

The very first time Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 played disc golf was when they attended a week at Crow Wing Scout Reservation in the summer of 1981. The camp had a nine hole course set up near the beach area. There were not any baskets at this course 37 years ago. The Boy Scouts had to hit poles with their discs in order to complete a hole.

Things have changed in the sport since that first camp. Disc golf courses now have baskets and many have tee pads. Many Boy Scout camps have courses, as do many towns and cities. The sport has been growing and tournaments are held in several central Minnesota cities.

The Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 have enjoyed the sport since those early years in the 1980’s. In fact, for the last few years, the troop has held a disc golf marathon as one of their monthly activities. They will usually play at two or three courses in central Minnesota, taking up most of a Saturday morning and afternoon.

This year’s marathon took the Scouts to three courses in the area, including two that have been recently installed. This year’s marathon, which was held on April 21st, began at the course in Albany, at which the twelve Scouts played a round of 18 holes. After lunch they moved on to the new Upsala course which was installed last summer. The final nine holes were played at the Long Prairie course, which was created a few years ago.

The Scouts kept their scores at all three courses. After the last disc was thrown, all the scores were added together to create a marathon total. The three Scouts with the best marathon score each received a three pack of disc golf discs. This year’s best scores were (3rd place) Jacob, (2nd) Luke, and (1st) Carter. Even though not every Scout received a prize, they did all agree they had fun and a great time.

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?

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!