Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

This is the time of year when the unknown and unnatural walk the earth. When ghouls and monsters creep up to our lawns. When small boys and girls in costume knock on our front doors and say “trick or Treat!”  That is right. It is that Halloween time of year.

Scoutmaster Steve and Buttons decided to put together a special episode of Around The Scouting Campfire to celebrate this scary time of year. Each host tells a ghost story that you could use during your own campfire programs. Steve tells us about the cremation of Sam Magee. Buttons has a story about two Eagle Scouts who make a solemn oath. Don’t worry though. The stories are alright for the young listeners too.

Send us your emails. You can contact Buttons at You may contact Scoutmaster Steve at Please rate the show and/or leave a comment at the iTunes store or at PTC Media forums.

You can also follow the hosts on Twitter at or .

Download episode #19 by clicking HERE.
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Show notes:
The Cremation of Sam Magee -
The Boy Scouts’ Oath –
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    It is time once again to make that trip to your nearest Hallmark store and pick up this year’s Scoutmaster Snoopy Keepsake Ornament. This year’s ornament, The Fearless Crew,  features Snoopy leading Woodstock and two of his friends on a wilderness hike. As they reach the hilltop the old Beagle Scout plants a Camp Snoopy flag into the ground. It is another great addition the Scoutmaster Snoopy series of ornaments.

    I have already picked up two of these ornaments, one to hang on the tree and one to keep as a Keepsake. It will be a nice addition to the three other Keepsakes from previous years that I have including Snoopy and his friends canoeing, roasting marshmallows around the campfire, and  reading a spooky story before going to bed. (Do a search for “Snoopy” to see the articles of previous ornaments.)

    The ornaments are listed at $14.95 each. It can be seen on the Hallmark online store but I believe they can only be bought at your local store.

    So, do you have any of the Scoutmaster Snoopy ornaments? How many do you own? Which ones do you hang on your Christmas tree? Will you get one for your scoutmaster?

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      It looks like Hallmark did it again! There is another Scoutmaster Snoopy ornament to be found at your local Hallmark store. Or you can buy it online. This one is called A Spooky Story and features Scoutmaster Snoopy sitting at his tent reading a scary story to Woodstock and his fellow Scouts. It looks like I need to make a trip to Hallmark myself.

      I think I will buy two of these this year. As I was setting up my tree tonight I broke my Scoutmaster Snoopy canoeing with his Scouts ornament. Luckily, there is this stuff called superglue.

      The new ornament can be found online at
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         We had discussed it a couple times at committee meetings but I was still a little surprised when the troop finally decided to hand out small United States flags along the parade route in town this year. Our troop had not done anything for a parade for twenty years or more.

        The flags were small plastic flags bought from an online retailer. Our charter sponsor, the VFW, agreed to pay for the purchase of the flags which came to nearly $100.00 for almost a thousand flags. The Boy Scouts would walk the parade route, a block or two ahead of the honor guard, and hand them out to the people along the route.
        We thought this would be a great public relations project. The Boy Scouts would be in uniform and show their patriotism by giving away flags. We would be seen by thousands of people sitting along the streets, giving us some much needed exposure, something the troop does not receive for cleaning road ditches, holding paper drives, and working early morning park clean-up projects.
        I arrived at the high school, the starting point of the parade, about an hour before things would begin. Two Boy Scouts were already present, with a third one arriving a short time later. And that was it. Only three of the nine members of the troop decided to join us for this project. At least that left us two people per side of the street. I would be riding my gas powered scooter which had a basket to hold the thousand flags. The Scouts would be walking.
        We really did not know how soon we should leave before the parade started so we began when the honor guard began lining up at the head of the parade. Unfortunately, the honor guard caught up to us after only four or five blocks, and soon the parade was passing by us. Since we had to hand out the flags person to person it slowed us down and took much longer than we first thought.
        The crowd loved the flags. We began by handing them out to kids but they were so popular that teenagers and adults wanted them also. We ran out of flags with a third of the route left to go.
        So, we learned two things about this project. First, we need to leave about 15 minutes ahead of the parade in order to have a chance of staying ahead of them. Second, we will need to order about 1500 or 2000 flags for the next time.
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           While shopping for a few graduation cards last weekend there was a Father’s Day card that caught my eye that I just have to share with you. It features Snoopy, the Beagle Scout, and his trusty troop featuring Woodstock and his pals. I immediately added it to the pile of cards I was buying. Here is a picture of the front and the inside of the card. It is a Hallmark card, by the way.

          I will not be sending it to my father though. I will be keeping this one as a part of my Scouting collection.

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            Late last night, on Christmas Eve, several of us from around the country joined Chris for his live “An Hour A Week” Christmas show. The chat room was very lively as we listened to Chris and the various Christmas music he was playing.

            He invited us to join him on the show, so I thought I would try reading the story “A Christmas Scout”. It is one of my favorite Scouting Christmas stories (not that there are that many too choose from). I recorded it while Chris was playing some music and sent him the mp3 file to use during his show.

            The first thing I noticed when the mp3 was playing is that it did not take long for the chat room to become pretty quiet. Nearly everyone stopped typing to listen to my reading. I must have done a decent job, because after it finished people started writing about how well I had done. Even a tear or two had falling by the end of the story. Immediately, a couple people asked for a copy of the mp3. Within minutes Chris had a copy available through the PTC Media site.

            After thinking about it this morning, I thought I should make it available through this blog also. If you would like to hear my reading of the story of the Christmas Scout which was written by Sam Bogan, all you have to do is click on this LINK.

            And one more thing… I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

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              As Christmas approaches I have tried to find a new Boy Scout related Christmas story for you to read. There does not seem to be very many of them, which is not too surprising. But I did find one for you, thanks to the Cumberland Times of West Virginia. The story is called “A Lone Scout’s Christmas“. It was written in 1917 by Cyrus Townsend Brady as one story of a book titled “A Little Book For Christmas.” The main character is a Boy Scout who is stranded in a Midwest snowstorm when the passenger compartment of the train in which he is the only occupant becomes detached from the rest of the train on Christmas Eve.

              The story is a bit long to post as part of this blog, but here are the first several paragraphs of the story:

              Every boy likes snow on Christmas Day, but there is such a thing as too much of it. Henry Ives, alone in the long railroad coach, stared out of the clouded windows at the whirling mass of snow with feelings of dismay. It was the day before Christmas, almost Christmas Eve. Henry did not feel any too happy, indeed he had hard work to keep down a sob. His mother had died but a few weeks before and his father, the captain of a freighter on the Great Lakes, had decided, very reluctantly, to send him to his brother who had a big ranch in western Nebraska.

              Henry had never seen his uncle or his aunt. He did not know what kind of people they were. The loss of his mother had been a terrible blow to him and to be separated from his father had filled his cup of sorrow to the brim. His father’s work did not end with the close of navigation on the lakes, and he could not get away then although he promised to come and see Henry before the ice broke and traffic was resumed in the spring.

              The long journey from the little Ohio town on Lake Erie to western Nebraska had been without mishap. His uncle’s ranch lay far away from the main line of the railroad on the end of the branch. There was but one train a day upon it, and that was a mixed train. The coach in which Henry sat was attached to the end of a long string of freight cars. Travel was infrequent in that section of the country. On this day Henry was the only passenger.

              The train had been going up-grade for many miles and had just about reached the crest of the divide. Bucking the snow had become more and more difficult; several times the train had stopped. Sometimes the engine backed the train some distance to get headway to burst through the drift. So Henry thought nothing of it when the car came to a gentle stop.

              The all-day storm blew from the west and the front windows of the car were covered with snow so he could not see ahead. Some time before the conductor and rear brakeman had gone forward to help dig the engine out of the drift and they had not come back.

              Henry sat in silence for some time watching the whirling snow. He was sad; even the thought of the gifts of his father and friends in his trunk which stood in the baggage compartment of the car did not cheer him. More than all the Christmas gifts in the world, he wanted at that time his mother and father and friends.

              “It doesn’t look as though it was going to be a very merry Christmas for me,” he said aloud at last, and then feeling a little stiff from having sat still so long he got up and walked to the front of the car.

              It was warm and pleasant in the coach. The Baker heater was going at full blast and Henry noticed that there was plenty of coal. He tried to see out from the front door; but as he was too prudent to open it and let in the snow and cold he could make out nothing. The silence rather alarmed him. The train had never waited so long before.

              Then, suddenly, came the thought that something very unusual was wrong. He must get a look at the train ahead. He ran back to the rear door, opened it and standing on the leeward side, peered forward. The engine and freight cars were not there! All he saw was the deep cut filled nearly to the height of the car with snow.

              To read the rest of the story click on this LINK. By the way, this story is old enough to be in the public domain, so go ahead and use it in your troop and pack.

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                For over twenty years the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have held a Christmas Party. Our community is predominately Christian, and all of our Scouts during the years have been Christian, so it was no problem adding this to our yearly program. The parties were held for many years in various homes, but as the troop grew we needed to use a larger facility, so we moved the party to the city hall meeting rooms. Now that the troop is down in membership I hold the party at my home. And yes, we have at least two adults at each event. There is that youth protection thing we have to follow, you know.

                The party begins with a movie. I remember the first party held at the home of one of the few families in town who owned a new thing called a video cassette player. It was a big clunky piece of equipment but it allowed us to watch a movie in the family room, on a 19 inch analog television, I believe. The equipment has changed over the years. Now we watch the movie from a dvd on a 46″ flat screen LCD HD television. Usually, we end the evening with a second movie.

                Between the movies we have pizza, sodas, and snacks, followed by a gift exchange. During the earlier years we would name or number the gifts as the boys arrived, and each Scout would draw a piece of paper from a hat. It worked fine. During the last four or five years we have changed things a bit and made a game of it. The Scouts who wish to participate will bring a gift. These are put in the center of the room with the Scouts in a circle around them. We then pass dice around the circle. When a person rolls doubles he chooses a gift from the pile. Once everyone has a gift we open them to see what we received.

                Now the fun begins. For the next ten minutes we roll dice again, passing the dice around the circle. If you roll doubles you get to change your gift with someone else in the circle. Once time runs out you keep the gift you have in front of you. It is a lot of fun, and can be very fast.

                After the dice game we hand out the gifts brought for specific people, such as the scoutmaster and his assistant. I still own a few gifts (ornaments) that were given to me in the 1980′s. This year I received several gift cards to be spent at my favorite stores and restaurants. I think the families know me pretty well.

                Since we began the Christmas parties, I have always made an effort to get each of the Scouts a present. I know, I know, that is weird. But I have enjoyed doing it. The gifts started very small, just a red Christmas stocking with a candy cane. They have grown a little over the years, but I always have a budget I stick to. The hard part is trying to find enough of something so I can give each Scout the same thing, and stick to that budget. The years when the troop had nearly 40 Scouts were a real challenge. I remember one year in particular when I filled two shopping carts with soccer balls that were on a great sale at a large department store. I received some strange looks from people and the clerk as I checked out.

                The troop held this year’s party last weekend. We all had a great time. We watched two movies: Wall-E, and Indy Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The food was good. The dice game was fun. And the gifts were great. I want to thank each of the Scouts and their families for the gifts given to me this year. I do not know what I will get with the gift cards yet, but you know I will think of something.

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