Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category


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.

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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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      I screwed up. I took out all my Scouting Village pieces this afternoon to set them up for Christmas. I was kind of excited because not only was I able to get all of this year’s pieces but my local Scout Shop was able to find the piece I missed from last year, the lighted Ranger’s Cabin. I thought I would be able to set up the whole collection!

      I was wrong.

      I discovered that I now own two Ranger’s Cabins. I was not missing the cabin. I was missing last year’s Trading Post! Arrrrrggggg! I should have looked in the cabinet one more time before I had the Scout Shop find me the piece I thought I was missing. I am rather upset with myself. I thought I would be able to post a picture to this blog featuring both year’s collections.

      I took a quick look on eBay and did not like what I found. People are selling the $12.99 Trading Post for $75.00 as a starting bid. The cheapest bidding I found was for $40.00, but there are three days left in the auction so I know where that is going. One seller posted a Trading Post as a “buy it now” purchase of $129.00. Sorry, but I am not interested in paying that much for one piece. This are not Dept. 56 Village pieces, you know.

      Well, I guess my Scouting village will have two Ranger’s Cabins. I will have to pretend that one is used as a trading post.

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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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          wall tent village pieceRemember last year? Scout Shops around the country and scoutstuff.org sold the first(?) three pieces of the Scouting Village collection. Those pieces were the Ranger’s Cabin, the Camp Chapel, and the Trading Post. I never heard anything whether this was the start of a new yearly collection or if this was a one year deal, and the folks at my local Scout Shop could not answer my question either.

          I decided to buy the collection anyway. At least I tried to buy the collection. By the time I decided to do it my council Scout Shop was already out the the Trading Post, but I bought the Chapel and the Ranger Cabin thinking I could by the Trading Post online. When I got home I went to the website and discovered they had sold out of the Trading Post. I called back to the Scout Shop to ask if they would be getting more Trading Posts in stock. They said they would try.

          The story ends sadly. I never received a Trading Post. I almost returned the other two pieces since I would not be able to complete the set, but for some reason I kept them. And to tell the truth, I forgot about them. Until today.

          I received a comment today on last year’s blog post of my village dilemma. Debora wrote to tell me that the Trading Post has reappeared on the scoutstuff.com website, so I went there to check it out. Sure enough, there it was. I would be able to complete my set. And I discovered something else. There are more pieces this year! That’s right, there is a 2013 Scouting Village collection.

          It looks like accessories are the theme for this year’s collection. There is a snow covered bridge, and a set of pine trees. There are two sets of people/Scouts figurines: Scouts On A Fence and Campfire And Rowboat. There is only one “building” this year, and it is not really a building but it is something you need if you are going to have a Scout camp – the lighted BSA Wall Tent. The accessories and people figurine sets are $5.99 each. The wall tent is $14.99.

          I know that I will be ordering the Trading Post, but should I order this year’s collection? I am leaning toward buying one of everything, but I almost feel like I need to buy two or three wall tents to make a campsite setting. That is maybe the reason they only put out one lighted piece this year. They want us collectors to buy several tents! The least they could have done is to make two different looking tents so there would be a little variety when everything is set up for the holidays.

          I am never satisfied, am I?

          What do you think of the new 2013 collection? Will you be purchasing them?

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            wood badge ChristmasYes, I know it is not even Halloween yet, but Christmas commercials are already on television and the stores have already begun decorating for the season, so I thought now would be a great time to tell those of you who have completed their Wood Badge training to check out the scoutstuff.org website for this year’s Wood Badge themed Christmas cards. That is correct. There is now a Christmas card featuring all our Wood Badge animal pals as they try to help pull Santa’s toy filled sleigh.

            Well, except for the beaver and the fox, who have decided that a snowball is much more fun then helping to spread the joy of Christmas. The owl almost seem poised to join them. And why is the bear riding in the sleigh? Should he not be helping the buffalo to pull it? For some reason the antelope thinks this is funny. At least the eagle is bringing the lights to brighten the way. The bobwhite is were he should be, overlooking everything and trying to be in charge. Note that I said trying.

            By the way, in case you have not figured it out yet, I am a member of the Bobwhite Patrol. NC-269.

            You can order the Christmas cards at http://www.scoutstuff.org/set-card-wb-10pk.html

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              beagle-scouts-rock-keepsake-ornamentIt is August 1st, and that means this year’s new Hallmark Keepsake ornaments are in the stores and ready to sell. Beagle Scout Snoopy and his friends once again make an appearance as the Scouting series continues. This year captures the Beagle Scout as he  climbs to the top of the mountain with the help of Woodstock and his friends. It is a fitting theme when you think about how popular rock climbing has become with Boy Scouts and how many summer camps now feature climbing towers.

              Unfortunately, it is not one of my favorite Beagle Scout Snoopy ornaments. To me it looks like the characters are climbing a piece of frosting covered chocolate. Maybe the characters are climbing a gigantic s’more instead of a mountain! That would be quite tasty. The sticky marshmallow topping would make the climb a little easier, or would it make it worse?

              Anyway, I bought two when I was in the store today. One will actually be used on the tree, and one will be stored away as part of my collection. I believe this is the seventh Beagle Scout ornament in my collection. Here are my articles from the previous years:
              Campfire Fun 2007
              Beagle Scout Day Out (canoeing) 2008
              A Spooky Story 2009
              The Fearless Crew 2010
              Holiday En-tree-preneurs (selling Christmas trees) 2011
              Salute The Flag 2012
              Beagle Scouts Rock! (this year’s)

              http://www.hallmark.com/products/general/keepsake-ornaments/beagle-scouts-rock-1495QXI2175_DK/

              It looks like you may have to find a store to buy it. The Hallmark website does not to seem to include it as an online purchase. Will you be picking one up for yourself or that special Scout in your life?

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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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