Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category


village 8pc setI remember when the Boy Scout stores began selling the Scouting Village pieces a couple years ago. I decided to start collecting them a little too late and missed out on getting the lighted Trading Post building. I still do not have one. When this year’s village pieces became available at our local Scout Shop I bought all three immediately. I did not want to make the same mistake a second time.

I recently noticed that in addition to this year’s collection pieces, scoutstuff.com has an eight piece starter set available to purchase. The set includes all the pieces from 2012 and 2013, including the lighted Trading Post. So, in other words, I can now get the piece I am missing, if I am willing to spend $80 on the whole set. Since I have all the other pieces already, I do not think I will be doing that.

I wish the scoutstuff.com website would make all the pieces available as single pieces. It is obvious they are manufacturing the pieces again, otherwise why wouldn’t they have offered the pieces online earlier to clear out inventory?  I am sure I am not the only one who missed out buying a building during the last two years, or maybe I am. I does frustrate me a bit, almost to the point of thinking that this will probably be the last year I will collect the Scouting Village pieces.

It is a great idea to offer the set to new collectors, but I feel it is a slap in the face to those of us who began collecting two years ago. What do you think about it?

http://www.scoutstuff.org/set-village-lighted-8pc.html

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    dining hallI arrived at the Central Minnesota Council office early for Tuesday night’s roundtable so I spent some time checking out the Scout Shop. There was only a couple of us looking around when the clerk asked me if she could help me find anything, like books, awards, Christmas items…

    The mention of Christmas items caught my attention immediately. Just last week I had checked the scoutstuff.com website to see if there were any new pieces for the Scouting Village that had began two years ago. I was anxious to see if this village would be continued and what this year’s pieces would be. Unfortunately, I found nothing on the website. So when the Scout Shop clerk mentioned Christmas items I had to ask about the Scouting Village.

    She replied that they had received the new pieces that very afternoon and have not had a chance to get them on the shelves yet. Awesome, I thought. I asked if I could see them and followed her into the storage room where she opened the carton. I believe I was the first Scouting volunteer in my council to see the new pieces, and this year’s building grabbed my attention.

    The newest building in the series is the Lighted Dining Hall. I thought is was well designed and quite colorful, but a little small in scale for a dining hall. Only one troop would fit in here, I thought. Oh well, it is a village building piece and they are not in the same scale as the people or even other buildings. It is still a pretty cool looking piece and I am anxious to add it to my set up this year. The website states (Yes, it can now be bought online), “A welcome addition to the holiday Scouting Village, this piece enhances any collection. Porcelain rendering of a BSA camp dining hall is beautifully detailed—complete with outdoor picnic tables!”

    The next piece that I noticed was the “Tree Sales” Figurine. I like this piece because it reminds me of the years that Boy Scout Troop 68 sold Christmas Trees as a fundraiser. The website says, “Premium-quality accessory adds character and dimension to your Lighted Scouting Village scenes. Polyresin tree figurine features a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Leader hard at work on a Christmas tree sales lot.” I have to agree the the figures do add quite a bit to the Scouting Village scene.

    The third and final piece of this year’s collection is the “Popcorn Tree” Figurine. This piece features a Boy Scout and Cub Scout decorating a Christmas Tree. The site says, “There’s nothing more iconic to BSA than popcorn! This polyresin figurine features a Cub Scout and Boy Scout decorating a tree with popcorn garland and ornaments.” I thought this could be a great gift for the unit’s “popcorn kernel”, the chairperson of the popcorn fundraiser.

    I bought all three pieces right then. I was not going to wait and have the same thing happen to me that happened two years ago when I waited too long to buy them and missed out on getting the Trading Post. (I still do not have one.) I look forward to late November when I set up my new expanded village. I think this will be the last year I will be able to use that piece of plywood I use for the base.

    I was not the only person who bought the set that evening. Within ten minutes of my purchase another set was bought and the Scout Shop was out of the Lighted Dining Halls. Since I am a roundtable commissioner I also took time during the meeting to give a quick shout out for this year’s Scouting Village.

    Have you been collecting the buildings and figurines? What do you think of this year’s additions?

    http://www.scoutstuff.org/house-lightd-dining-hall.html

    http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-tree-sales.html

    http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-popcorn-tree.html

    trees for sale
    popcorn tree

     

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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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        2014flags2The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 will be doing it again this summer. I believe this is the fifth time they will be doing it. The Scouts have fun and the people in the community enjoy it. What am I talking about? The Boy Scouts will once again be handing out small U.S.A. flags along the parade route before the parade begins in Melrose on June 28th.

        We ordered this year’s “made in America” flags from the United States Flag Store. The ones we chose are the 4″ x 6″ stick flags that they currently have on sale for only $0.17 each. They are manufactured at the factory in Pennsylvania, printed in bright colors on cotton fabric, and securely stapled to a 10 inch natural wooden stick. We ordered these last year and people along the route really liked them. They can be found at
        http://www.united-states-flag.com/usa-stick-flag-4×6-no-tip.html

        When we first started doing this project several years ago we bought the cheapest flags we could find which were made out of plastic. Unfortunately, they were not made in the U.S.A. and by the third year people started refusing to take a flag because they were not American made. They had a good point, but we had a limited budget. So, do we buy American made and order half of number of flags, or do we keep ordering the ones not made in America?

        Thankfully, when we were ready to purchase flags last year, the United States Flag Store ran a sale just at the right time. We could order the quantity of flags we wanted and stay in budget. The Scouts handed out all 1500 flags before the parade. Unfortunately, the flags did not say “made in America” on them, so when people asked the Scouts had to tell them they were made in Pennsylvania.

        The flags for this year’s parade arrived last week, another 1500 of them, paid for once again by Melrose VFW Post 7050. I checked them out and once again they are not stamped that they are made in America. They are great flags, but I really wish they were stamped. It would be nice for people to know they were made here in the U.S.A. without having to ask about it.

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          Boys Life poster picIf case you do not know it yet, today, May 4th, is Star Wars day. That means it is time to say, May the fourth be with you! Yes, it is a bit of a silly pun, but it is a fun silly pun. The folks at Boys Life Magazine have decided to have a spot of fun with Star Wars day by creating their own poster to celebrate the new holiday. What is your favorite part of the design? Is it Pedro the burro as Luke Skywalker? Or could it be Pee Wee and Westly as the two droids? How about the Death Star depicted as a glazed donut? I do not think I would care for the alfalfa shake, even with the cherry on top.

          The poster can be downloaded at http://boyslife.org/poster/  .

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            scout greeting cardsThe season is a’ coming. Soon, sons and daughters will be buying greeting cards to give or to send to their mothers and fathers as the months of May and June come near. Hallmark sales will once again go through the roof.

            I was a little surprised when I visited the Scout Shop this week before the Scenic District roundtable. I noticed they had Scouting themed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards. I did not pick one up to look at it closely because I was running out of time but I thought it would be a nice touch for families that are really into the Scouting program.

            I do have to admit though that it was not the cards that caught my attention. In fact, I looked right pass them the first time. What caught my gaze were the patches that were laying on the counter in front of the cards. They were special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day patches. By the card and get the patch for free, a different one for each parent.

            I thought the front of the Father’s Day patch was pretty cool. It shows dad opening his shirt like Superman, revealing the Scout logo on his tee shirt instead of the Superman S.

            Almost makes me wish I was a father so I could receive one in June.

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              christmasscoutsMerry Christmas everyone! It is time for my favorite Scouting themed Christmas story – The Christmas Scout.

              In spite of the fun and laughter, 13-year-old Frank Wilson was not happy. It was true he had received all the presents he wanted. And he enjoyed the traditional Christmas Eve reunions with relatives for the purpose of exchanging gifts and good wishes. But, Frank was not happy because this was his first Christmas without his brother, Steve, who during the year, had been killed by a reckless driver.

              Frank missed his brother and the close companionship they had together. Frank said good-bye to his relatives and explained to his parents that he was leaving a little early to see a friend; and from there he could walk home. Since it was cold outside, Frank put on his new plaid jacket. It was his FAVORITE gift. He placed the other presents on his new sled. Then Frank headed out, hoping to find the patrol leader of his Boy Scout troop. Frank always felt understood by him. Though rich in wisdom, he lived in the Flats, the section of town where most of the poor lived, and his patrol leader did odd jobs to help support his family.

              To Frank’s disappointment, his friend was not at home. As Frank hiked down the street toward home, he caught glimpses of trees and decorations in many of the small houses. Then, through one front window, he glimpsed a shabby room with limp stockings hanging over an empty fireplace. A woman was seated nearby . . . weeping. The stockings reminded him of the way he and his brother had always hung theirs side by side. The next morning, they would be bursting with presents.

              A sudden thought struck Frank : he had not done his ‘good deed’ for the day. Before the impulse passed, he knocked on the door. ‘Yes?’ the sad voice of the woman asked. ‘May I come in?’ asked Frank. ‘You are very welcome,’ she said, seeing his sled full of gifts, and assuming he was making a collection, ‘but I have no food or gifts for you. I have nothing for my own children.’

              ‘That’s not why I am here,’ Frank replied. ‘Please choose whatever presents you would like for your children from the sled.’

              ‘Why, God bless you!’ the amazed woman answered gratefully. She selected some candies, a game, the toy airplane and a puzzle. When she took the Scout flashlight, Frank almost cried out. Finally, the stockings were full.

              ‘Won’t you tell me your name?’ she asked, as Frank was leaving.

              ‘Just call me the Christmas Scout,’ he replied.

              The visit left Frank touched, and with an unexpected flicker of joy in his heart. He understood that his sorrow was not the only sorrow in the world. Before he left the Flats, he had given away the remainder of his gifts. The plaid jacket had gone to a shivering boy.

              Now Frank trudged homeward, cold and uneasy. How could he explain to his parents that he had given his presents away? ‘Where are your presents, son?’ asked his father as Frank entered the house.

              Frank answered, ‘I gave them away.’

              ‘The airplane from Aunt Susan? Your coat from Grandma? Your flashlight? We thought you were happy with your gifts.’

              ‘I was very happy,’ the boy answered quietly.

              ‘But Frank, how could you be so impulsive?’ his mother asked. ‘How will we explain to the relatives who spent so much time and gave so much love shopping for you?’

              His father was firm. ‘You made your choice, Frank. We cannot afford any more presents.’

              With his brother gone, and his family disappointed in him, Frank suddenly felt dreadfully alone. He had not expected a reward for his generosity, for he knew that a good deed always should be its own reward. It would be tarnished otherwise. So he did not want his gifts back; however he wondered if he would ever again truly recapture joy in his life. He thought he had this evening, but it had been fleeting. Frank thought of his brother, and sobbed himself to sleep.

              The next morning, he came downstairs to find his parents listening to Christmas music on the radio. Then the announcer spoke: ‘Merry Christmas, everybody! The nicest Christmas story we have this morning comes from the Flats. A crippled boy down there has a new sled this morning, another youngster has a fine plaid jacket, and several families report that their children were made happy last night by gifts from a teenage boy who simply called himself the Christmas Scout. No one could identify him, but the children of the Flats claim that the Christmas Scout was a personal representative of old Santa Claus himself.’

              Frank felt his father’s arms go around his shoulders, and he saw his mother smiling through her tears. ‘Why didn’t you tell us? We didn’t understand. We are so proud of you, son.’

              The carols came over the air again filling the room with music: ‘. . .Praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on Earth.’

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                Scouting Village 2013It is finished. I have set up my Scouting Village for the 2013 Christmas season. What do you think of it?

                The village fills a 2.5 foor by 3.5 foot sheet of plywood. It contains the 2012 and 2013 collection pieces. Except for the Trading Post, that is. But at least I have two Ranger Cabins. ( I am still a little upset with myself over that.) I also bought two lighted tents because a campsite is just not a troop campsite with only one tent. I set the church higher than the rest because it is a smaller scale. I thought it might help it look further away and more in proportion to the rest of the scene. The campsite is across the river from base camp because I do not think a troop would want to camp next to the busiest part of camp.

                The “snow” was picked up at a hobby store. The blue river is simply felt paper. The scene contains two sets of the trees from the Scouting Village collection. The rest of the trees came from my Dept. 56 Dickensville collection. I think the trees really add to the looks of the campsite. I also found a little wood pile which fits well with the Boy Scout cutting wood for the evening fire.

                Have you set up your Scouting Village yet? How does it look? Send a picture or two to me and I will feature it in a post to this blog.
                Click on the pictures to see the scene in more detail.

                ScoutVillage2013.16


                ScoutVillage2013.40

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                I wonder what pieces will be added to the village next year. I bet I will need a bigger sheet of plywood.

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