Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category


2014pinewoodderbyThe Scouting program snuck up on me a little as this week became a bit busier than usual. I guess I knew of everything that was coming up, but I was not really paying attention. Oh well, I can not think of many other programs I would rather spend my time on.

On Monday the patrol leader council of Troop 68 met at my house for their monthly planning meeting. It did not take them long to plan the three March meetings, the court of honor, and other things, plus review how things went in February. They began at 6:30 and were finished before 8:00. That included eating the meat and cheese tray I set out during the meeting.

On Tuesday I attended Cub Scout Pack 68′s Pinewood Derby. Thirteen Scouts participated in this year’s event. It was the first time I had seen a derby since the pack bought a new track with an electronic timer. I attended the activity to take some pictures. I ended up being the official photographer. I might have gone a little overboard. I ended up with over 100 pictures of the boys and their cars. I am going to burn the pictures to cd’s and give one to each family who had a Scout participate in the derby.

On Friday the members of the Striking Cobra Patrol will be coming over for pizza, sodas, and a movie. They won the patrol flag competition in December. I am not sure what movie the Scouts will decide to watch but I have a feeling I better have at least two large pizzas ready for them. Boy Scouts always seem to be hungry, especially for pizza.

How has your Scouting week been going? Is it a busy one?

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    disc golf 2013I think the first time I ever played disc golf was in 1981 at Crow Wing Scout Reservation near Nevis, Minnesota. I was a 20 year old assistant scoutmaster attending camp with the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. It was their first time at a week long summer camp. The troop was only a year and a half old.

    The Crow Wing disc golf course did not have any baskets like most of today’s courses do. Instead, it had posts in the ground that were numbered. The goal was to hit the post with the frisbee. I believe it was a nine hole course that was placed near the beach.

    Over the decades the Boy Scouts have played disc golf when ever a camp presented a course to play, or when we felt like making one of our own. Courses were not found in many cities in our area during the 1980′s and 1990′s. Today, there are several courses found in various city parks within 30 miles of Melrose. Unfortunately, out community does have have a course so we have to leave town to play a game.

    During the first few decades of the troop, the Scouts only played disc golf as an occasional activity. As more courses have been created the interest level has gone up. A few of the Scouts now own their own disc sets and have started playing more often.

    The sport has become so popular with the troop that this month they held their first disc golf Tri-O. Seven Boy Scouts, along with three adult leaders, played three different 18 hole disc golf courses in one day. They left Melrose Saturday morning for the first game to be played in Albany. Since I had to work that morning I did not join in that first round. I did join the troop after lunch for the games at the St. Joseph Millstream Park course and the Riverside Park course in St. Cloud.

    We all had a blast, even though there was a bit of wind, and the water hazards at Millstream Park seemed to attract our discs, as did the many trees at Riverside Park. New Scouts were introduced to the game, while older Scouts worked to improve their skills and scores. One Scout set his goal to beat my score. He was successful, beating me by 2 or 3 throws on each of the courses.

    I have a feeling that disc golf will become a regular activity on each yearly program for the next few years. A few Boy Scouts were even talking about playing again as a patrol activity.

    Do the Boy Scouts of your troop enjoy playing disc golf?

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      Boy Scouts disc golfI have been giving the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 a small Christmas present each year for 30 years. It is not a very big present, just something to make the season a little more fun, and to give the Scouts a little something to look forward to during our troop Christmas party. Gifts in the past have included balls, fire starters, water bottles, and small lunch coolers. It is easier to find things these years with a small troop. It was tough finding something when we had forty members in the troop. Have you ever tried to find 40 of something in a store? You should see the look on a checkout person’s face when you bring two shopping carts full of red four-square balls to the counter.

      This year I had to push my gift giving up a couple months, to last night’s troop meeting. You see, the gift is something the Scouts can use at this weekend’s troop outing. On Saturday, the troop will be traveling to three different cities to play one of their favorite games, disc golf. Many of the Scouts did not own a disc made for the game so that became this year’s Christmas gift from me.

      I came up with the idea when I noticed on the scoutstuff.com website that there was a closeout going on of the leftover 2013 National Jamboree merchandise. Disc golf discs were going for 50% off the regular price which brought to price down to $4.98 per disc. That is the cheapest price I have ever seen on discs. And they were discs made by Innova, one of the main manufacturers of supplies for the sport, so they were not some cheap unknown brand name discs. I ordered three sets for myself and one midrange disc for each of the Scouts.

      The Boy Scouts seemed to like the gift. There was various colors to chose from so instead of having a free-for-all and stampede to see who would get what color I started with the newest member of the troop and worked my way up to the Scout with the longest membership. Seniority did not count this time. I also told the boys to write their names on their discs in case that get lost on the course, and so that we know whose disc is whose when we play a game.

      Saturday is the big tournament day. The troop will start at the Albany disc golf course, move to St. Joseph for the second game, and end at Riverside Park in St. Cloud. It is going to be a long day. There is going to be a lot of throws. And I would bet there is going to be a lot of very tired Boy Scouts crawling into their sleeping bags Saturday night.

      Does your troop play disc golf?

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        Birch Lake State Forest 2013I walked into my house shortly after nine o’clock tonight and I smelled it almost immediately. Smoke! No, it was not the house on fire or anything like that. It was me. More specifically, my clothes. You see, I stopped by the Birch Lake State Forest campground tonight to visit the nine Boy Scouts of Troop 68 who were camping this weekend. And as is so common when standing around a campfire, the smoke seemed to follow me no matter where I stood around the ring.

        When the Scouts left for the campground last night (Friday) the weather was wonderful. The sun was shining. It was just cool enough to wear a jacket or not, depending on how warm blooded you were. It was going to be a cool but clear night, great for camping.

        But this afternoon (Saturday) a low front moved into the area and the rain began. I kept thinking about the Scouts as I sat in my warm, dry living room at home. Four of the nine Scouts had just joined the troop. This was their first Scout overnight weekend camping experience. I wondered if they had brought raingear. Were they having a good time or were they miserable and wanting to go home?

        I was invited to my parents for supper. It was still raining slightly when I left their home, but instead of turning to the left I turned to the right and headed out of town to Birch Lake State Forest to pay the Scout troop a quick visit. The park was less than ten miles from town. It was raining lightly when I arrived at their campsite. Only four of the nine Scouts were there to greet me. The other five had gone fishing. I soon discovered that all the boys were having a good time, even though they were damp. I did not hear any of them say a word about going home.

        As darkness fell the Scouts wanted me to tell a story, but not a scary one. We decided on a story with suspense, not too scary, since there were first time campers among us. The story chosen was the Purple Gorilla. Yes, it was a long story that took place out in the middle of nowhere, during a terrible thunderstorm, that brought the main character of our story to a lonely old rundown looking farm place with no cell phone coverage. The new Scouts were listening to every word. Even the Boy Scouts who heard the story last spring paid attention to hear how I changed up the story a bit. This was the first time that cell phone became a major prop in the story.

        After the story, and the end of the rain, we left the shelter of the tarp we were sitting under, and stood around the campfire. As the fire died and the coals glowed bright, it was time for me to teach the boys a couple campfire songs. The first was a song I learned as a Boy Scout at summer camp in the mid 1970′s, “The Hole in the Ground Song”. The second song I learned at Many Point Scout Camp in the 1980′s, “Vista!” Both are “repeat after me” type songs that get faster as the song goes on. I think the boys had fun signing them. I know my voice was just about shot when I was done. It was time for me to go home.

        Sunday morning, after breakfast and one last time fishing, the Scouts will came back to town and end their camping trip. I have a feeling they all will be counting this trip as one for the good memories mental scrapbook. I was only there for two hours and I can tell you I added it to mine.

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          Scouts and SmokeySix Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68, along with two adult Scout leaders, joined 170,000 other people on Saturday, August 24, at the great Minnesota Get Together, otherwise known as the State Fair. Despite the hot temperatures and the high humidity, the Scouts had a great time exploring the buildings, eating food on a stick, and experiencing the rides at the midway. The Scouts also made a quick stop at the Northern Star Council’s Adventure spot, only to discover it was more designed for Cub Scouts than Boy Scouts. A short stop at Cabelas in Rogers was an extra bonus attraction.

           

           

          IMG_4496The Boy Scouts join other people in viewing the pond stocked with dozens of native fishes.

           

           

           

           

           

           

          Scout BoothThe Northern Star Council “Adventure Summit” was very popular with the Cub Scout age children. Our Boy Scouts were a little disappointed it was not meant for them.

          Does your troop visit your state fair?

           

           
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            Melrose Scout Productions Podcast

            Nearly every spring in the past twenty years the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 have spent a weekend at Camp Watchamagumee, usually in May. The camp is actually privately owned forty acres found north of Melrose. The land owners have allowed the troop to clear out campsites and create our own camp setting. The site currently has three patrol sites, an adult leader site, a scoutcraft open area, a treehouse, and a troop campfire area. We camp near a small pond. A short hike from the campsites is an open field in which the troop has played softball, volleyball, and disc golf. It quickly became one of the troop’s favorite camping sites.

            A tradition has developed over the years, the annual Egg Drop Competition. Each Boy Scout, or team of Scouts, is given a raw egg. He must build a package for the egg usually only natural materials found around the camp. This package must protect the egg when it is dropped from various heights. The winner is the Scout who’s egg survives the highest drop without breaking. The boys must use their imagination to create a package that will not only withstand the actually drops, but also cushion the egg to keep it from becoming scrambled. I have seen a lot of various packages over the years using a wide variety of materials from bark, grasses, moss, mud, and sticks. This year one Scout even used a cow pattie.

            This post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast features the video taken during the 2013 Egg Drop Competition. Six Boy Scouts were part of the contest. An added feature to the rules this year was that the package must fit inside a plastic wash basin. Some boys did very well. Other did not make it past the first round. Watch the video to see who winds and how his package was created.

            Oh, and since the new Star Trek movie had hit the theaters the same weekend as the outing I decided to use a Star Trek theme at the start of the video to introduce the Boy Scouts and their packages. Let me know what you think of it.

            Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
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            at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
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              flint and steelCamp Watchamagumee was the place to be for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 during the weekend of May 17-19. The six Scouts, including four new members, and two adult leaders may have got a bit damp during the evening hours but they had a lot of fun during the day.

              Friday night was a pretty laid back schedule. The troop left Melrose about 6:30 pm. The boys spent the evening setting up camp, reviewing fire safety rules, and enjoyed sitting around the campfire until the first drops of rain send them running for the safety of their tents.

              The Scouts had a busy Saturday schedule. After breakfast they worked on their advancement and began building their primitive shelters that would would sleep in that night. It did not take long to discover that the boys did not bring along enough tarps and plastic sheets to build what they wished to build. After a lunch of baked beans and hot dogs roasted over an open fire the troop played a round of nine holes of disc golf.

              Saturday afternoon was time for the annual Egg Drop Competition. Each of the Scouts received a raw egg. Their challenge was to create a package for their egg using other natural materials found around the campsite. These packages would than be dropped from higher and higher distances until only one egg remained. Daniel Klassen was this year’s Egg Drop Competition winner. He took home a Boy Scout campfire cooking grille as his prize.

              The next event tested the Boy Scouts fire making skills. Each boy was to start a fire and keep it going long enough to burn through a string seven inches above the ground. Matches were not allowed for this contest. The Scouts needed to start their fires using flint and steel. A strong wind turned out to be the villain of this event. Even though the Scouts created hundreds of sparks, the wind blew out many of the flames the boys were hoping to use to start their fires. Alex Engelmeyer was the troop’s winner of this competition.

              The boys finished the afternoon by finishing their primitive shelters, playing a couple of games, and making a great supper of fried potatoes and spaghetti and meat sauce. There was not much food left over. The boys had worked up quite an appetite.

              A short chapel service was held at 7:30 that evening. This was followed with the boys moving their sleeping bags and pads into their primitive shelters for the night. As the Scouts gathered for the evening campfire they learned a troop song about Camp Watchamagumee, heard the story of the Purple Gorilla, and learned how to protect themselves from a wolfen attack.

              Half of the Scouts discovered that their primitive shelters did not do a sufficient job of keeping them dry once the rain showers moved in overnight, but a couple did stay in their shelter for the entire night. Important lessons were learned which will be used the next time they build a shelter, which could be as soon as their June weekend outing.

              Attending the Watchamagumee outing were Boy Scouts Alex, Daniel, Zack, Adrian, Sam, and Macoy. Adult leaders for the weekend were Scoutmaster Jim and assistant scoutmaster Eymard. Committee member Steve provided program assistance. The troop would also like to thank Melvin and Vern Klassen for allowing them to use their land for the outing.

              More pictures of this outing can be found on the troop’s website.
              http://melrosetroop68.org/yearlygalleries/yh13.html#Camp_Watchamagumee .

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                airshowUnfortunately, it has come to this. The St. Cloud Air Show, an event being sponsored by the Central Minnesota Council, has been cancelled. Here is the official statement from the website:

                St. Cloud Air Show Cancelled as Result of Sequestration
                ST. CLOUD, MN (Tuesday, April 2, 2013) As a result of the sequestration and with that the uncertainty of the appearance of the Blue Angels, The Central Minnesota Council of Boy Scouts has decided to cancel the St. Cloud Air Show scheduled for July 20th and 21st. Over 25 other shows have been cancelled across the country with more sure to follow due the Sequester. Because of the Sequester we have lost all of the military support needed to put on a successful air show.

                “Our decision to cease planning for the 2013 Air Show comes after careful review and consideration of the fiscal challenges we would face by not having the Blue Angels appear,” said Dave Trehey of the Central Minnesota Council of Boy Scouts.

                “We are very disappointed, especially after all the hard work that has already been put into the show by our volunteers,” added Jill Magelssen, Air Show Chairwoman. “When you lose the headline act you lose the momentum going into the show. The St. Cloud Air Show was a fundraising event for the Central Minnesota Council of Boy Scouts. We could not take the very real chance that the show would lose money.”

                The many people who have already purchased tickets will be refunded their money by the company that was handling ticket sales. Information on how the refunds will be handled will be on the air show website www.stcloudairshow.com by the end of this week.

                “We appreciate all of the support the community has given us in the planning of the Air Show,” added Trehey. “There is a very good chance that we will again have the opportunity to bring the Blue Angels back to Central Minnesota. We hope that you will be as excited about it again.”

                Many local troops and posts were planning to help with and/or attend this event. The local public and community were also supporting this show. Too bad it had to come down to this.

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