Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category


I began collecting Scouting themed books soon after becoming a Scoutmaster in the early 1980s. I collect handbooks, leadership books, history books, and the fictional novels that were written in the 1910s and 1920s. After 35 years of collecting I would say I have a very nice collection.

The old Scouting themed fictional novels written a hundred years ago have a special place in the collection. I love finding those old books if they are in decent condition. It can be a challenge to find these old books that are still in one piece. I don’t think anyone really thought they were meant to last more then a generation or two so when I find one, at a reasonable price, I like to buy it.

I recently saw a post on a Facebook group called Scout Patch Collectors. It is a great group for trading and buying Scout patches. Once in awhile other Scouting memorabilia is posted. Last week I saw a post featuring three of the old Scout novels for sale. While they looked a little frayed around the edges I noticed they were three books I did not have in my collection.

The Boy Scouts at the Panama Canal, written by Lieut. Howard Payson, was published in 1913. The other two books were written by Herbert Carter. The Boy Scouts Afoot In France was published in 1917. The Boy Scouts On War Trails In Belgium was published in 1916.

After a few messages back and forth between the seller and myself I agreed to purchase the books for a price we both agreed upon. Since I was buying the books based on the one photograph posted I hoped they would not be in terrible shape.

The books arrived last Saturday. The covers are in decent shape, showing a bit of wear which is to be expected. The covers are coming loose but a little glue will take care of that. Two of the books have a loose page in the front of the book, but at least the page is still with the book. Otherwise, the books are in decent shape for being one hundred years old.

Two of the books have handwriting inside the front cover. I think one was a gift to a young man. The other book I believe has the owner’s name written on the first page. This does not bother me in the least. I think I adds a little character and history to the book.

I am going to have to rearrange my book cabinet to make room for these three new additions. While they may not be in great shape they do fill in three holes in my collection and I am glad to be able to add them.

Do you collect old Scout themed novels? Which ones do you own? Leave a comment below.

I bought my first digital camera in 2004. I was going to Philmont Scout Ranch with the troop and thought this would be a good trip to start using digital photography. I have been using a digital camera ever since that trip.

I soon began using the digital photos to make slideshows of the troop events and activities. It was fairly easy to create a slideshow using the programs of the Mac Pro computer I owned. The next step was to burn the slideshows to a DVD so I could watch them on the television.

As Christmas approached I decided to copy the pictures to a compact disc and print one for each of the Boy Scouts in the troop. The slideshow DVDs soon followed. The Boy Scouts and their families seem to enjoy watching the shows so I kept doing it each Christmas.

It is now the year 2018. I have finished this year’s annual DVDs. Once again there will be a DVD of the slideshows, but the yearly photo collection has grown too large to put on CDs anymore. I take thousands of photos each year so the collection is now burned as a data DVD. This year’s photo collection was over 3 GB, and that does not include the photos of the trip to the Summit high adventure base. The data DVD does include some short videos taken during some of the monthly events.

I hope the Boy Scouts and their families enjoy watching the slideshows and looking at the pictures. It does take several evenings to create the DVD package each year. But I think it is well worth it.

PS: after posting this article and viewing the picture I noticed a mistake on the DVDs. Do you see it?

When you are an adult leader, or a former Cub Scout or Boy Scout who is now grown up, it is fun to look back at the Scouting days of your youth. It is fun to reminisce about those Pinewood Derbies, camping trips, or award ceremonies. That is one reason I take so many pictures when I attend a troop or pack function. I know the boys and their parents will enjoy looking back at them several years from now.

Since the national office of the Boy Scouts of America does not seem to do much of anything to promote Scouting outside of their own organization (or if they do, I never seem to catch it) I always appreciate it when I see Scouting represented in a good light in the newspaper or in a magazine. Thanks to my parents I have been reading some issues of a magazine called Reminisce. It features stories written by the readers of those days gone by. Articles include stories from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. At my age, somewhere in my fifties, I find many of these articles fun to read and even historical.

A few times I have stumbled across pictures and stories in Reminisce that are Scouting related or feature pictures of Scouting events. I really enjoy reading these stories, and the pictures are a blast to look at. One issue a few months ago even featured Cub Scouts participating in a soapbox derby of the cover of the magazine. Another larger photo was included inside. I have spotted Scouting pictures in other issues. Oh, those long ago days…

Have you read any magazines lately that feature Scouting related stories, that are not Boys Life or Scouting magazine? What magazines were they? What was the story? Leave a comment and let us know about it.

This year marks the eleventh year that the Central Minnesota Council has created a special council shoulder patch, featuring a point of the Scout Oath, as an incentive for their annual Friends of Scouting campaign. Of course, that means the point used this year is Clean. A bar of soap with the words “Scout Clean” is the focal point of the patch.

I have collected these patches since they began, placing them in my three ring binders. A few of the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 wear one on their uniform. We are already wondering what next year’s “Reverent” patch is going to look like.

Does your council create special patches for their Friends of Scouting drives? What have they recently done as a theme for the patch? Leave your answer as a comment below.

When I became the assistant scoutmaster of a six month old Boy Scout troop in June 1980, I never in my wildest dreams think I would become a bit of a journalist. A month later I wrote my first Scouting-related article for the weekly local newspaper, with the help of one of the committee members. Little did I know I would continue doing this for nearly four decades.

Those early articles, known as The Scouts Review, were only a few paragraphs long, recounting what happened at the weekly troop meetings. We also did a longer article about the monthly outings, usually with a picture or two. The Melrose Beacon supported our efforts by printing anything we submitted to them. After several months we stopped writing about the weekly meetings and only wrote about the monthly outings, service projects, courts of honor, and other special events. Most of our Eagle Scouts and their projects were covered by the newspaper. Some of the summer camp or Philmont trek articles appeared in two parts spread over consecutive issues.

For some reason, even after I became the scoutmaster, the articles remained my project. No one offered to take over the duty, although once in a great while of of the committee members submitted an article about an event. During the 1980’s and 1990’s I was pretty good about getting something in the paper every month. By the time the 2000’s came around I was starting to grow tired of the responsibility. By the 2010’s I was not submitting articles on a regular basis, maybe once every two or three months.

The articles were a great way to keep the activities of the Boy Scout troop in the public eye. The Melrose Beacon was great in supporting both the troop and the Cub Scout Pack. I am sure many of the Scouts and their families clipped those articles for their scrapbooks. I tried to save every one of those articles. Sometimes other local papers printed pictures of the Scout events. I saved those clippings also.

I now have four three ring binders full of the last 37 years of Melrose Beacon Scout articles, along with some clippings from the Hometown News, the Sauk Centre Herald, and the St. Cloud Times. The fourth book is nearly full. It will soon be time to begin a fifth book.

These binders usually sit on a shelf in the closet of my office, but a couple of times a year they come out of the dark and are seen by the public as part of a Scouting display during our spring and fall meal fundraisers. I had to work on them today to get ready for the spring breakfast to be held on Sunday, April 8th. There was over two years worth of clippings to tape into those books but they are now complete and ready to be viewed. It sort of boggles the mind when I think of the Melrose Scouting history found in those four binders.

Does someone in your troop or pack write articles for your local newspaper? Does someone in your troop collect them, maybe the troop Historian? Where are they stored? How often do they get viewed?

I became an assistant scoutmaster at the young age of 19 in June 1980. Shortly thereafter, I began receiving Boy’s Life and Scouting magazines, the two official publications of the Boy Scouts of America. I enjoyed reading them, and they were a part of my training during those early years of being a scoutmaster of Melrose Troop 68.

Instead of recycling those early magazines I held onto them. I thought they could come in handy as a reference. As the years went by and the pile grew larger I bought some magazine file boxes to store and organize them, still thinking I may look back at them some day. As the decades went by I continued to save the issues. The collection grew!

It has now been over 37 years since those first issues arrived. For over 37 years I have been collecting and filing both magazines. I probably have about 450 issues of Boy’s Life (12 per year) and over 185 issues of Scouting magazine (5 per year). The collection, seen in the picture, covers more than ten feet of shelving.

I have now reached the point at which I am wondering why I have kept all these magazines. I have only looked at a few back issues a couple of times. What should I do with them all? There are over 600 of them, with more coming every month. I doubt there are many people with as large of a collection as I have. I would hate to just throw them away. I know of no one who would want them. I doubt the local museum has a need for them. I am sure the local Scout office would want them for any reason.

What do you think? Do you have a suggestion on what to do with this collection? Leave your comments and suggestions below. Thanks.

In October 2016 I wrote a post in which I stated that I was going to quit making photo albums about Boy Scout Troop activities. I currently have 38 albums covering over 35 years of Troop 68 history. It is quite the collection of books. Since I am not the scoutmaster any longer and do not attend most of the events any more I thought it might be time to stop creating albums. In the digital age, are photo albums even relevant?

Well, I guess they still are. During one of last year’s meal fundraisers some of the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 noticed that there were not any current photos. The younger Scouts noticed they were not even included in the last album. You see, I usually bring some of the albums to the meal for people to look through as they wait in line or to look up pictures of activities of years gone by. Troop alumni seem to have fun looking through them.

Last weekend I decided to finish out the last album which was only half way filled, and do one more new album. I looked through the thousands of photos I have taken in the last two years (yes, thousands) and picked out 468 pictures of 2016 and 2017 to have printed since Shutterfly had unlimited free prints this past week. It still cost over $40.00 in postage, but what the heck, it is for the kids.

(Maybe I should ask the troop committee if they could help pay for some of that postage, huh?)

I guess I have my work cut out for me this weekend. The photos arrived today. Now to sort them, insert them, and label them in the photo albums. The goal is to have them ready to view at the spring breakfast next month. Wish me luck!

My brother and I were Boy Scouts for three and a half years in the mid 1970’s. My youngest brother was a Cub Scout. My mother was a den leader, and my father was a troop committee member. Scouting was strong in my family, but not quite as strong as it was in one of my cousin’s family.

Jim Ehlert, my uncle, had five sons. All five sons were involved in the Scouting program. Jim became a scoutmaster when his oldest son was a Boy Scout. Jim held that position for a number of years as all the boys grew threw the program. In fact, all five of the young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Once in awhile, back in the 1970’s, our families would meet at grandma’s cabin on Kings Lake. We would sometimes exchange skits and songs that were popular in our troops. We would also swap Scouting stories and experiences as we sat around the campfire.

I was a little in awe of Jim during my teen years, as a lot of Scouts look up to the adults who are Scout Leaders. I also admired him for holding the position of scoutmaster fo so many years. When his sons finally graduated out of the troop he retired as scoutmaster and took on a different Scouting position.

Occasionally, after I became the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68, Jim and I would have the opportunity to chat about Scouting. He would ask me how things were going in my troop, or ask me to tell him about the latest high adventure trip that we had attended. They were fun discussions.

On Tuesday, September 19, Jim passed away after a battle with kidney disease. He was in his 80’s. I guess I will not be sharing anymore Scouting stories with him. Until that is, until I join him in that great summer camp in the sky.