Archive for the ‘collections’ Category


Bear Skin SignWhat do you think of when you hear the words “bear skin”? Is your first thought a bear skin rug? Maybe a sporting game between the Bears and the Redskins? Maybe a sunburn after sitting with bare skin in the sun too long? One of the things I think of is summer camp. It was the name of the campsite my troop used for two years when I attended camp as a youth.

I attended Parker Scout Reservation of the Central Minnesota Council for three years during the mid-1970′s. It is a small camp by some summer camp standards, but it was the home of Troop 68 and other troops for a week of fun and excitement. In its earlier days it was called Camp Clyde. These days it is sometimes called Camp Parker. It closed as a summer camp in the late 1970′s but is still used as a weekend camp for council Boy Scout and Cub Scout activities. Troop 68 has used the camp on several occasions over the years for their own weekend activities.

The council has done several major renovations and additions to Camp Parker during the last few decades. The old dining hall was completely renovated and an addition was built onto it. A storage building was added next to it at the same time. A new shower house was constructed back in the nineties. Several older buildings have been remodeled with new heating systems installed. The biggest addition to Camp Parker took place when the castle was built. Yes, you read that correctly. A castle. (Pictures of the castle can be seen at http://www.bsacmc.org/photo_gallery_miller_castle.html .)

A few months ago I received a phone call at work asking if the lumber yard would like to donate some cedar lumber so new signs could be built for the campsites. The signs were getting pretty run down and looked rather shoddy. I did not even give my boss a chance to reply to the request. I used this as a chance for myself to give back a little to the place I have been going to for four decades. I donated the materials.

But I had one request. I wanted the old campsite sign of the camp I stayed in as a young Boy Scout. I wanted the old Bear Skin sign. I was told that should not be a problem and that they would set it aside for me.

That was a couple months ago. Yesterday, when I arrived back home from working at my parents renovation project, I found something placed between my front door and combination door. Later in the morning my district executive had stopped by my house on his way through town and dropped off the sign. Other than patches and pictures, this is the first item from Camp Parker I have been able to add to my Scouting collection.

The sign was actually in decent shape considering it has weathered several Minnesota winters and summers. I really have no idea how long this sign has marked the campsite. I would doubt it is the same sign that welcomed Boy Scouts in the 1970′s, but it is a piece of camp history and I am happy to have it in my collection.

Below you can see a map of Parker Scout Reservation from a camporee probably held in the early 1990′s. As you can see, Parker is not a big camp but it really does not matter. I have made a lot of great Scouting memories there.

ParkerMapb

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    Snoopy_learning-the-ropes-root-1495qxi2556_1470_1It is that time of year. Hallmark is now selling the new Keepsake Ornaments for this year’s Christmas season. That means there should be a new Beagle Scout Snoopy ornament if the company is continuing the series they began several years ago. I was in St. Cloud last Saturday afternoon so I decided to stop in the store and see if there was a new one that I needed to buy. There was!

    This year’s ornament is called “learning The Ropes”. According to the Hallmark web page, “Square knots, slip knots,…the Beagle Scouts have Snoopy tied up in knots. They’re not trying to be “knotty,” though, they’re just learning the ropes! This ornament would be great for a Peanuts® fan, or anyone who has experience with Scouting.” The size of the piece is only 2.58″ W x 2.09″ H x 1.83″ D, which I believe is a bit smaller than previous year’s ornaments. The price is $14.95. I believe they are for sale in the stores only, and not available online.

    I picked up two them. One to use on the tree and one to keep as part of my collection. I have done the same with each year’s piece. I am thinking I may have to set up a tree this Christmas season, put all eight of my Beagle Scout Snoopy ornaments on it, take a picture of it, and post it to this blog again to see if you can find them all.

    The store also had several 2013 Lego Yoda ornaments on sale for 80% off. I picked up a three of those since they were less then $4.00 each. I may place one in the tree with the Snoopy ornaments just to mess you up a bit in this year’s tree picture. The others may end up as presents for someone this holiday season.

    Here is the Hallmark website page if you want to check out this year’s Beagle Scout Snoopy ornament: http://shop.hallmark.com/christmas/christmas-ornaments/learning-the-ropes-1495QXI2556.html#prefn1=characters&prefv1=Peanuts®&start=1

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      patchescspIt is inevitable. If you are in the Scouting program for several years you will start collecting something. It could be activity patches. Maybe it will be council shoulder patches (csp’s) or Order of the Arrow lodge flaps. It might be coffee mugs or bolo ties. Would handbooks or fieldbooks be more to your liking? What do I collect? All of the above.

      When I went to the Philmont Training Center in June I brought along some Central Minnesota Council shoulder patches to trade with Scouters from around the country. The first time I was introduced to patch trading was at the Philmont Training Center in 1984, and I was not prepared to do any trading. I have tried not to make that mistake anymore whenever I leave the council.

      I brought 19 csp’s with me to trade at Philmont this year. Trading was to take place Monday evening that week. I was going to be ready.

      I was a bit disappointed to see that only a half dozen people show up to trade patches at the South Tent City activity building, but I was able to do some trading. I was also able to trade a couple patches during the rest of the week. I went back to Minnesota with ten new council strips and one Order of the Arrow patch. I did well. I was happy.

      There was one patch for trade that night that I really wanted for my collection. It was a Far East Council should patch that featured James E. West, the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. The young Scouter (a possible staff member?) that had the patch did not want to trade one for one. He wanted more. I did not want to give up any of my new patches so I prepared to leave without it. But than another young Scouter arrived and he had the same patch to trade. He was willing to trade one for one. I was able to add James E. West to my collection.

      There was one patch that eluded my trading. National Commissioner Tico Perez was in attendance during the week I was at the training center. I tried to trade csp’s with him a couple of times but each time he did not have any patches with him to trade. He did however have his special red “National Commissioner Tico Perez” patch which he gave me. To tell the truth, I was more excited to add this rare patch to my collection than his council patch.

      What do you collect? How many items do you have in your collection?

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        Boy Scout NovelsSaturday, May 3rd, was free comic book day so I went to St. Cloud to pick up a few at Granite City Comics. I arrived downtown early to get a good parking spot so I decided to walk around to get some exercise and to see what kind of stores were in downtown St. Cloud these days. After all, I had not been shopping downtown for years. There has been no need for me to go downtown since this was on the east side of town and most of the big stores and shopping malls were on the west side of town, closer to where I live.

        While I was walking the streets I noticed that there was a used bookstore a block away from the comic book store. I did not realize there was such a store in the downtown area so I decided I needed to check this place out when I was done at Granite City Comics. And I did.

        There were two main types of books I looked for once I arrived at the used book store, science fiction and old Scouting books. I was lucky enough to find two old Boy Scout themed novels written in the early 1900′s. Both were in pretty good shape considering that they were over 100 years old. One was The Boy Scouts Of The Eagle Patrol written by Howard Payson, published in 1911. The other was Boy Scouts In An Airship by G. Harvey Ralphson, published in 1912. I was able to pick up the two of them for under twenty dollars.

        As I laid them on the counter I thought to myself, I hope I do not already have these books. I could not remember if they were already part of my collection or not. Oh well, if they were I would now have two of them. I could always use one as a prize at a Scout Roundtable or something. I was happy to discover when I arrived at home that I did not own either one yet. I also discovered that I have the ebook version of The Boy Scouts Of The Eagle Patrol on my computer.

        Do you collect old Boy Scout novels? How many do you have? Where do you find them?

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          Scouting FigurinesAs I was looking online for a name of that Norman Rockwell painting mentioned in my last post, I came across a picture of a set of figurines based on six of his more popular Scouting themed paintings. I wish I had seen this sooner. I might have placed a bid on them. But the auction had already closed. They would have made a great addition to my Scouting memorabilia collection.

          Do any of you have these figurines as a part of your collection? Where did you find them? When did you buy them?

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            filesIt is amazing the amount of stuff you can collect when you are a scoutmaster for thirty years, especially the paperwork. What should you throw away? What should you keep? What do you file away and than forget about? I played it safe and kept a lot of it.

            It has been two years since I stepped down as Boy Scout Troop 68′s scoutmaster so it is probably time to sit down and begin going through the hundreds of files I have accumulated. It is time to get rid of some of this stuff. I am sure the current scoutmaster is not interested in most of it since it does not apply to the current Scouts and program.

            I have files dating back to the 1980′s. They include advancement reports, board of review notes, troop rosters, Eagle Scout court of honor programs and agendas, and committee meeting minutes. There are files of information from the yearly trips to summer camps along with info from high adventure trips to Philmont Scout Ranch, the 2001 National Jamboree, and Charles Sommers Canoe Base.

            I wrote the troop’s monthly newsletter for over 25 years. There is a file of these for each year. These newsletters contain quite a bit of history of the Scouting program in Melrose. And there lies part of the problem. I don’t really want to “throw away the history” of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68, but I really do not need to keep all this paperwork.

            Then I got an idea! I emailed a note to the president of the Melrose Area Historical Society to see if they would be interested in receiving some of these old records for the museum. She responded quickly, writing, “We would definitely like to give them a home.”  I think the MAHS museum would be a great home for some of these records. It would be available to the public instead of just collecting dust in my office.

            Now I need to find an evening or three to to go through the files. I may scan some of the records before passing them, like the old newsletters that were created using a typewriter and real “copy and pasting” techniques.

            What does your troop do with older files and paperwork? Do you simply throw them away? Do you have a special place to keep them? Do you give them to your local museum? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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              Eagle Scout WallMelrose Boy Scout Troop 68 does not have a building or a room to call its home, so my basement family room is the place I have created a “Scout Room”. It contains collections of Scouting coffee mugs, awards, and other stuff. The troop holds its patrol leader council meetings, committee meetings, and some training meetings there.

              Photos of Troop 68 Eagle Scouts hang on the west wall. There was always a couple Scouts missing because I did not have a good picture to post on the wall. This morning I decided I needed to have photos of everyone, whether they were an actual Eagle picture or not. I searched through my photo collection and picked the best pictures of those missing Scouts, printed them, and placed them into frames.

              The wall is now complete. All 21 of the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 who have earned the rank of Eagle Scout now have a place on the wall. There is even room for one more. Could that spot be filled by the Boy Scout who has an Eagle board of review on Tuesday?

              By the way, do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of a wall of framed glass photos and not get a reflection?

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                Patch Blanket 1996-2013It is done! That is correct, the second of my patch blankets is complete. I picked up the last patches this morning from the Scout Shop. Now I am waiting for the glue to dry. This new blanket contains 144 patches.

                This second blanket had a couple interesting “happenings” that were unplanned. First, as you can see from the picture, I used the 2010 B.S.A. anniversary blanket design, the same as the first blanket. Since this blanket would contain patches from the 100th anniversary year, I decided to leave the 2010 logo mostly exposed, instead of covering it up like I did on blanket one. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the row featuring patches from 2010 actually ended up on the same level as the logo. I was even able to use an anniversary patch on top of the zero of 2010.

                The last two patches I needed included a roundtable staff patch. I wanted to it to recognize that I joined the Scenic District roundtable staff in the fall of 2013. It was also the last patch I “earned” for the year. The final patch was the generic Leave No Trace patch. I really wanted 2013 to end this blanket and it happened to work out that way. The year 2014 will be the year to start a new one. However, each of the two completed blankets display 16-17 years of patches. I have a feeling there may not be a third blanket for me. At least, not a completely covered one.

                When I was at the Scout Shop this morning Bob, my district executive, happen to catch me and we had a nice chat. He also asked me if I planned to bring the blankets to the roundtable on Tuesday, January 7th. I replied that I could. I bought a couple of garment racks to hang them on to display. I did bring the first blanket to the Boy Scout roundtable in December which meant, of course, that the Cub Scout leaders did not see it. I may display both blankets in the lobby this time so everyone can view them. After all, I did create the blankets to be viewed. The next time I plan to display the flags will be during the first week of February, during Scouting Anniversary week.

                Both patch blankets 1980-2013Now that that Scouting project is complete, what do I begin as a new one?

                Click on the pictures to see a larger photo.

                 

                 

                 

                 

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