Archive for the ‘Activity’ Category


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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    Personal items have been packed. The troop gear has been loaded. The freshly uniformed Scouts have chosen their rides. The vehicles have left town. Boy Scout Troop 68 is on its way to a week of camping at Many Point Scout Camp in northern Minnesota. I am sitting at home writing this blog. Yes, that is correct. For the first time in many years I am not joining the troop for a week of camping at Many Point Lake.

    I attended my first week of camp as an adult leader in 1981. I was an assistant scoutmaster of Troop 68. We attended Crow Wing Scout Camp near Nevis, Minnesota. If I remember correctly, about a dozen boys attended that year. It was a good week. Both the Scouts and the adult leaders had a great time.

    The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have attended a long term camp every summer since that year. The first years were at Crow Wing. In the later 1980′s we tried Tomahawk Scout Camp in Wisconsin and Many Point Scout Camp. In the early 1990′s Many Point Scout Camp became our summer camp, by decision of the Boy Scouts.

    I have not attended every year of summer camp since 1981, but I have been on a long term camp with the Scouts each year. There have been five treks at Philmont Scout Ranch, a trip to the High Knoll Trail in Virginia, a week of adventure at Charles Sommers Canoe Base, and a stay at the 2001 National Jamboree. The assistant scoutmasters and fathers picked up the summer camp duties while I attended the high adventure bases with the older Boy Scouts.

    I retired as the troop’s scoutmaster at the end of 2011. I told the committee and the parents that I would not be attending summer camp this year. My assistant scoutmaster of 24 years, Eymard, would be going to camp again, but someone else would need to fill the position of the second adult leader. Luckily we have a new 18 year old assistant scoutmaster, Darren, who decided to attend since none of the parents stepped forward to fill the slot.

    I do have mixed feelings about staying home this year. I would like to be a part of the boy’s summer camp experience, but I also need to break away from the troop and start doing my own thing. For gosh sakes, I am 52 years old! It is time to start doing something with my life other than Scouting.

    Isn’t it?

    Well, maybe I will go up Friday and see how things are going, and watch the closing campfire.

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      The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 took their May 7 meeting night to have a field trip. They gathered at the Melrose Area Historical Museum for a tour of the facility which worked into their monthly theme of Historical Places. One of the museum curators, Roger Paschke, lead the Boy Scouts through the rooms while explaining several of the more interesting of the exhibits. The Scouts learned a little about the founders of Melrose, Minnesota. Mr. Paschke stopped the troop at the Charles Lindberg display for a short explanation of his famous plane trip and his links to Melrose. The boys enjoyed the “war room”, but quickly passed by the religious displays in the “chapel” for some reason. Other popular areas of the museum included the prohibition (moonshine and stills) area, the old printing press, the railroad displays, and the case with the old Scouting memorabilia.  The troop plans to go back to the museum later this month for a scavenger hunt.

      Here are a few pictures from the field trip.

       The Boy Scouts learn about the ties Charles Lindberg had to Melrose, Minnesota.

       

       

       

       

       

       This is part of the Scouting display found at the museum.

       

       

       

       

       

       
       The group photo was taken in front of some of the old farming machinery found in the museum.

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        Philmont Group 1986Philmont Scout Ranch. Land of adventure, living history, and magical wonders.  It is a place where deer walk through your campsite, billions of stars can be seen at night, and the views can literally take your breath away. It is a place to get away from the stress of modern society. Leave you computers, iPods, and cell phones at home because you will be without electricity for ten days while backpacking in the Philmont wilderness. In other words, this can be a great place for that “get away from everything” vacation.

        Well, maybe not quite away from it all. As an adult crew advisor you will be with a crew of up to ten teenage boys (and girls if you are with a venture crew.) That youthful group can present you with an unique perspective of the backcountry, but they will also challenge you from day to day. Believe it or not, but there will be times when the adults and the Scouts will not quite see things the same way or even agree on things.

        Philmont is a great place to relax. There is nothing like finding that special spot in or near the campsite that overlooks the valley below, or the mountains above. Just lay back and enjoy the peace and quiet. That is, if the boys are peaceful and quiet. Oh, and your body might be a little sore from hiking that last 13 miles with a 45 pound pack strapped to you back. If it rains you can always crawl into you tent and catch a quick nap. That can be very relaxing.

        Some people consider a vacation to be great when they get to participate in new experiences. Philmont has plenty of those to choose from. How about rock climbing, panning for gold, or burro racing? Standing on top of a mountain and watching the clouds float by below you is a great one. Hiking with a heavy pack during a downpour while you are marching up the side of a mountain is not so great.

        If you have a chance to participate in a Philmont trek GRAB IT! Yes, there will be moments when you may wish you were at home, sitting in front of the television in your comfy recliner, but it is the other moments that will be fondly remembered ten years later. I should know. I have been on five Philmont treks and I would not mind going back for a sixth time. Philmont IS a great place for a vacation.

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          Have you ever retired from an organization only to feel that they never let you go, or that they are trying to pull you back? That happened to me Monday night with the Boy Scout troop. Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself. I volunteered for it all. Next week will now be a very busy Scouting week for this retired scoutmaster. Here is why….

          On Monday, the 19th, the troop is using their regular troop meeting night to begin selling tickets for next month’s Dad’s Belgian Waffle supper fundraiser. The Boy Scouts will go door to door selling tickets, covering as much of the town in one evening as their are capable of doing. As the troop’s treasurer it will be my job to hand out the tickets, collect the leftovers and money taken in, and start the record keeping for the boys going out on their own.

          Tuesday night is the monthly troop committee meeting. I still need to sit down and balance the checkbooks and prepare the report of the troop’s finances. I least I do not have to leave the house. I still volunteer to host the meetings in my basement family room.

          I am a Collections merit badge counselor. One of the Scouts caught me after this week’s troop meeting to begin working on the badge. We decided on Wednesday, the 22nd. That makes three nights in a row I will be doing something Scouting related.

          So far I have nothing planned for Thursday, but I volunteered my home to host a troop event on Friday. The troop’s one day outing for February was scheduled for this Saturday but only one boy was able to attend. I have always hated the idea of completely canceling a monthly activity so I offered to hold a movie night. The boys took me up on the offer. They plan to watch a couple movies and enjoy pizza, snacks, and sodas. I plan to send them home at 11:00 pm.

          On Saturday, the 25th, the troop is hosting an afternoon retirement party to celebrate the three decades I spent as the scoutmaster. I hope some of the troop alumni are able to attend or it will be a small party. I do plan to bring the thirty or so photo albums I have made from those thirty years of activities and functions.

          That brings it to five of seven days next week that I will be busy doing something Scouting related. I thought my schedule would slow down after stepping away from the position of scoutmaster. Wait. What’s that? Something is pulling on the back of my shirt. Aaahhhhhhhhh!

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            It has been over 25 years since 1985 came to an end. It was a busy year for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. They went to winter camp at Parker Scout Reservation, attended the council’s Ripley Rendezvous at Camp Ripley, held a spring pancake and sausage breakfast fundraiser, went to camp Watchamagumee in the early spring, hopped onto their bicycles for a weekend outing in June, attended summer camp at Tomahawk Scout Camp in Wisconsin, visited the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in September, took part in a city’s emergency drill in October, and even found time to hold a few courts of honor. Like I said, it was a busy but very fun year. Here is a slideshow featuring pictures from those events.

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              Nascar may be one of the most popular sports in the country but it may not be on a Cub Scout’s radar during the next couple of months as Packs across the nation prepare for one of the biggest annual Cub Scout events: The Pinewood Derby! Hundreds of thousands of Pinewood Derby cars are about to be distributed across the 50 states. Young boys and their fathers (or mothers or older siblings) will take that block of wood and attempt to create an awesome work of art that is also speedy enough to race down the track and earn its owner the victory trophy.

              I attended Cub Scout Pack’s derby last year along with three of the Boy Scouts who had younger brothers in the pack. It was the first time I had been able to attend a derby in several years. The races were usually held the same night as our troop’s patrol leader council meeting. I brought my camera and became the evening’s unofficial photographer, taking dozens of pictures of the boys and their cars.

              It took the fathers awhile to set up the track and get the lanes to run smoothly because it had been a couple of years since the last Pinewood Derby. The pack membership had dwindled down to just a couple of Cub Scouts, but last year there were eight of them. And they were ready to race!

              The adults kept the atmosphere light. The emphasis was to keep the races fun and exciting. Even though it was a double elimination tournament, the competitive aspect of the evening was downplayed. Each of the eight Cub Scouts received a trophy, though the top place trophies were a little larger.

              The Cub Scouts had a great time. They continued racing their cars after the formal races had been completed. Even the Boy Scouts got to race their cars against each other. Toward the end of the evening the Cub Scouts were racing the Boy Scouts to see who had the better cars.

              The Pack has added a few more members this past year so the next derby promises to be a little bigger and a little more exciting. I plan to attend the event again and be the unofficial photographer. It should be a great night in February.

              By the way, here is a fun thing I did with some of the pictures taken at last years Pinewood Derby. I used them to create Derby Cards of each of the racers. The boys thought they were pretty cool. Check them out at Pinewood Derby Cards (100 DoS: Day 6) .

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                Last year, I thought we could have a little fun. I hung the four Hallmark Beagle Scout Snoopy ornaments I own on my Christmas tree. I took a picture of it and posted it online. Then I asked you all to see how fast you could find them. It was a fun 30 second treasure hunt.

                Let’s do it again! This year there are five Beagle Scouts hanging on the tree. Try to find Snoopy and his friends as they camp out in their tent, roast marshmallows around the fire, canoe down the rapids, and hike to the top of the mountain. The newest, and fifth ornament, features Snoopy and his troop selling Christmas trees.

                Click on the picture for a bigger version. Time yourself and see if you can find them in under 20 seconds. Good luck!

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