Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category


Cub Scout Pack 68 of Melrose will have a new Pinewood Derby track this year when the big day arrives. To tell the truth, it is long past time for a new track. The pack has been using the same one for the last 30 years. It is made of steel and is very heavy. It is also worn out. The pieces do not fit smoothly any longer. During the last two years some of the derby cars would jump their lanes when they hit the splices, even though the fathers did all they could to smooth the lanes with duct tape. Coats were used at the end of the track to cushion the cars as they came to a stop. Some races had to be rerun because the judges could not pick a winner during the close races. The pack does not have a track timer.

Two local Lion Clubs have donated money to purchase a new track. The cubmaster has been doing some homework to determine which track might best serve the pack’s needs. Pack 68 is a small pack with only 16 Cub Scouts. Chances are the new track will have two lanes, just like the old one does. He is also checking out timers so we know who wins those close races. I joked with him that he should sell the old track for scrap steel to raise the money for the timer.

The Cub Scouts and families are looking forward to this year’s races on a new Pinewood Derby track. It will be sleek. It will be smooth. It will be faster. And it will be super cool! It looks like it will be a great racing season in 2013 and beyond.

UPDATE! The cubmaster has made his choice and ordered the track. It will be a two lane Besttrack, from besttrack.com along with a two lane timer. he also said there is software available that allows us to organize the entire event and that the timer plugs into the computer to track everything. He might buy the software and donate it to the pack. I am starting to looking to attending this year’s derby.

Have any of you used a Besttrack track and timer? How do you like it?

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    Cub Scout Gingerbread housesHere it is, the last post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast for the year of 2012. The goal has always been to post at least one video each month, or at least twelve per year. This podcast will keep that twelve per year goal.

    When the Cub Scouts of Melrose Pack 68 met for their December pack meeting, they knew it was going to be fun. The parents knew it could get a bit messy. The cubmaster knew he had a lot of baking to do. The Cub Scouts, along with help from their parents, were going to make gingerbread houses and decorate them with lots of candies, crackers, and other building accessories. Each one ended up being a masterpiece, but a couple of them did not make it home in one piece. I think they could have used a little more mortar (frosting) to hold them together.

    This video post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast includes video of the boys and their parents creating the houses and photos of the Cub Scouts with their finished projects. It is eight minutes long. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe this would be a good project for your Cub Scout Pack next Christmas.

    Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
    Watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.
    Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
    or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
    Don’t forget to leave a comment here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

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      The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have been spending a spring weekend at Camp Watchamagumee each year for over twenty years. Many years ago we held a contest during the outing that has since become a Watchamagumee tradition – The Egg Drop Competition. The contest is played individually or by teams; it seems to vary from year to year. Each player, or team, is given a raw egg. Using only natural materials found around the campsite they are to create a package that will protect the egg when the package is dropped. No man made materials are allowed to create the package. The winner of the competition is the one whose package protects the egg the longest as we drop it from higher and higher heights.

      I video recorded the event in the spring of 2012. This post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast features that event. I am not going to give anything away but I will state the the winning package was thrown from the top of a step ladder onto a concrete patio block. Did the egg break? You will have to watch the video to discover that answer. (This video is about 20 minutes long.)

      Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
      Watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.
      Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
      or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
      Don’t forget to leave a comment here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

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        First of all, let us get something straight. When I say camping I mean staying overnight in a tent or sleeping under the stars. I do not consider staying in a cabin, lodge, or barracks as camping. Camping is sleeping outside, not in a building. Now that we have that understanding…

        I have not camped out even one night during 2012, and it looks as if this year will be my first year without a camping trip since 1979. I began camping with the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 when I became an assistant scoutmaster in 1980. There were a lot of camping trips during the next 32 years, both long term and short term outings.

        This is not to say that I did not attend any troop activities this year. I did attend a weekend outing at Camp Stearns in  March, but we stayed in a lodge. I did spend most of a day at Camp Watchamagumee in May but I did not spend the night. I did visit the troop for a day at Many Point Scout Camp in July but left when it was time for the evening campfire program. I was going to spend the weekend with the boys for a June camping trip at Kings Lake but it was cancelled due to a lack of participants. The August canoe trip was attended by several parents so there was no need for me to tag along. I was going on a weekend camping trip with some former troop members in May, but it rained that weekend and everyone backed out.

        It seems strange not to use my camping gear. Usually, I would have to pack up for at least five or six outing each year. My rain gear remains dry. My cot remains folded and my mat remains rolled. My eating utensils remain clean. It is kind of weird, but it was my own choice. I wanted the Scouts, parents, and new adult leadership to understand that I really have stepped down as the scoutmaster and that they should not be relying on me to attend the troop’s outings as they have in the past.

        Will I get back into camping with the troop during 2013? I am not sure yet. We will have to see how things turn out, but yes, I would enjoy camping with the Scouts again in the great Minnesota outdoors. I think everyone now understands that we have a new scoutmaster but that I am there if I am needed. Besides, I enjoy camping and I think I still have a skill set to offer the troop.

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          The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 chose geocaching as the theme for last August. A merit badge counselor came to one of the troop meetings and the monthly outing was based on that topic. The Boy Scouts had fun and seemed to enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

          After the activity, the scoutmaster and his son stopped by my house to discuss how things went. It did not take long before we were on the geocaching.com website to learn how to create and record our own geocache site.

          Over the last three months I have received five emails from geocaching.com informing me that people have been discovering our site and leaving comments. I am happy to report that all of the comments have been positive, even though one person was harassed by an injured goose While trying to find it.

          I have not been back to our cache site since we set it up, so on Sunday I went for a walk and checked it out. I was pleased to see that most of the treasure hunters had signed our sheet. troop number patch was still in the 35mm case so I guess Boy Scouts from another troop have not yet discovered it.

          Has your troop set up any geocaching sites?

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            The Pinewood Derby is a highlight of nearly every Cub Scout’s program year. The Cub Scouts love to race their homemade car down the derby track, and hopefully, their car will be the one to cross the finish line first to advance to the next level of the races. Even the siblings and parents, especially the fathers, really get into the races. It ends up being a great evening activity.

            I attended the Cub Scout Pack 68 derby in March 2012. I took video during the races (which still has to be edited) and pictures before and after the races, including the presentation of the awards. This video entry to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast features these pictures in a slideshow style format. There are a lot of smiling faces to be seen, along with a picture of each Scout and his car.

            Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
            Watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.
            Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
            or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
            Don’t forget to leave a comment here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

            Thanks for Sharing!

              Cub Scout Pack 68 of Melrose held their first meeting of the new program year last week Tuesday at the high school cafeteria. After the opening ceremony, Cubmaster Mark sat down with the new and older Cub Scouts for a short talk. Then the boys split off by age group to different tables to create posters representing their dens. At least one parent sat down with each group to help get them started.

              It was fun watching the Scouts get down to business. Crayons, markers, foam sheets, and glue were available to create the 18″ x 24″ tag board posters. The foam sheets allowed the boys to add a third dimension to their artwork.

              The six Webelos Scouts went right to work. It did not take them long to agree to a Webelos Team Ninja theme. There was only one Bear Scout and one Wold Scout in attendance so they worked together to create a poster featuring a bear print and a wolf print. The first grade Tigers needed a little help getting started but in a short time they were just as focused on their masterpiece as were the Webelos Scouts.

              Once the cubmaster saw that the boys were all busy he called the parents together in another part of the room for a short meeting. After several minutes I noticed a couple of the mothers glancing around the room with confused looks on their faces. I knew it was not about anything the cubmaster was talking about so I asked them what was on their mind. At least two of them were surprised to see the boys still working together on their posters without any adult supervision at any table.

              That is right folks! The Cub Scout dens were completing a goal on their own without an adult looking over their shoulder and telling them what they should do. Even the first graders were working hard. Granted, the parents were still in the room but the boys were working on their own, by age group, each group working together on their poster. And they were having fun!

              I honestly believe this may have been the first time these mothers have noticed their sons working and playing with other boys without having an adult watching over their shoulder and guiding their every move for more then two minutes at a time. Kind of amazing, isn’t it?

              Welcome to the world of Scouting!

                

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                A few years ago the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 spent a month introducing themselves to the world of geocaching. One parent came to the meetings and showed the Scouts how it was done, and worked with them to find two geocaches located nearby our meeting place. This month, the troop once again visited that monthly theme, but this time brought in a merit badge councilor to help them earn one of the newest merit badges of the Boy Scouts of America (introduced in 2010). For many of the Scouts, this was a new experience and they enjoyed their first hunt during the meeting.

                Yesterday, the troop held an outing to work on the merit badge requirements and find the half dozen or so caches in Melrose. Unfortunately, only one Scout showed up for the activity. Sports seemed to be the reason most of the others did not attend, although we discovered one Scout forgot about it and planned something else. Well, the one Scout, the scoutmaster, and the assistant scoutmaster went around town looking for the hidden treasures and found most of them. And they learned a few things. And the Boy Scout and the leaders and a good time.

                The Scout and his father, the scoutmaster, stopped by my house when they had finished their searches. Scoutmaster Jim had a few questions about scoutmastering and the Scout was excited to share his day’s experiences. In fact, I got caught up in his enthusiasm and before you knew it we were planning to create our own cache in town. I found an old 35mm film canister. We put a paper in it for a log and a red 68 numeral patch to represent our troop. We named it “Scout By Numbers” and found a great place for it near the river in town. Then we posted it to geocaching.com to let others know about it. We are hoping that other Boy Scouts hunt for our cache and trade their troop number patch for ours.

                The Scout was so exited about creating a new cache that I believe he will be creating one or two of his own. I just wish the others boys in the troop would have participated in the outing so they could have had the fun that geocaching offers.

                Has your troop done any geocaching? Have any of your boys earned the merit badge?

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