Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category


 

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?

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    Boy Scout Patch BlanketIt is only five more weeks until Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs around the country celebrate B.S.A. Scout Anniversary Week. Local units will be setting up displays in their communities to promote their Scout programs. We will probably be doing the same here in Melrose. We have four businesses in town that allow us to set up displays. Soon it will be time to plan what will be on the tables in each establishment. (Check out our 2012 displays at http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=2892 )

    If you have been following this blog you know that I completed my first Scouting patch blanket a month or so ago. It took several months for me to finish it but I think it turned out well. I plan to use that blanket as a part of one of the displays this coming year. I think it will attract a fair amount of attention.

    I have now been working on the second blanket. This new blanket will hopefully display the rest of my patches (from 1996 to present day). I am also hoping their will be some room left over to apply future patches. At least a couple years worth. I think it will, but I will not be sure until I add a few more rows. If not, well, I guess I may have to start a third blanket.

    Back to Scouting anniversary week. I really would like to be able to display both blankets, but that means I will not be able to take several months to complete the new one. In fact, I cannot even take several weeks. I have five weeks left. I guess I will not be able to drag my feet this time. I finished the third row tonight, and laid out the patches for the fourth row. As you can see, this will bring me to the year 2001. I guess you could say I have 14 years worth of patches to apply in a one month period. Lucky for me there are not as many patches in this 14 period as there was in the previous 14 years.

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      Christmas at Philmont

      If you have been on a Philmont trek that included the northern and central portions of the ranch, then chances are good that you have hiked through Santa Claus Camp. The camp is located in Santa Claus Canyon, north of Bear Canyon and southeast of Head of Dean Camp.

      I have been through Santa Claus Camp a few times on my Philmont treks. Usually, it was an unstaffed camp, but in 1992 I was surprised to discover that it had become a staffed camp, complete with a volleyball court for the day and a telescope for the evening. The crew had a great time there.

      The 1992 staff invited campers to write a story about how Santa Claus Camp received its name. A few members of my crew took the challenge. Al, one of our crew advisers, wrote a great story about the history of the site. Since it is the Christmas season I would like to share it with you.

      There was a lot of snow that winter of 1853, too much for the horses and tired people moving through the mountains of northern New Mexico. They had left in a train of wagons on the Santa Fe Trail, but were down to one wagon for two families; and they were lost. The wagon master, who knew the way to Cimarron, had died of typhoid on the plains of eastern Colorado. Now, they were nearing exhaustion as they searched through the canyons for human life.

      It was December 24, and there were tears in the eyes of the parents as they kissed their children good night, for there was a chance that some of them would never wake up.


      The sky was clear, with uncountable millions of stars, but the beauty of the night was swallowed by the intense cold. The Borgerdings and the Hansons were typical pioneer families, and they were near to meeting the fate that so many others met on the Westward march.


      It took a few minutes before they realized that there was a stranger at the fire, before their cold-numbed senses could react. He was an old mountain man that the Utes called White Cheeks due to the soft white beard on his face. He had on snow shoes and a pack which was full of freshly butchered mountain lion.
      Asking no questions, he stepped up to the fire and cooked his lion steaks for everyone. After eating he led them up to his cabin and safety.

      Of course the children called him Santa Claus, and since he offered no other name, the parents joined in. The mountain man stayed with them through that long winter, teaching them the skills they needed to survive in the mountains.
      In the spring, he loaded his beaver pelts in his pack and headed for the Taos Rendezvous. The Borgerdings and Hansons followed the clearly given directions to Cimarron where they told the story of Santa Claus to its inhabitants.

      White Cheeks never got to Taos, nor was he ever again seen alive. The people who come to his canyon on Christmas Eve know that there is an old white faced mountain man sitting over a fire, and even though no lion has lived here for many years, there are always plenty of lion steaks for everyone. If you ask him, he’ll tell you about the winter of 1853, and the families that called him Santa Claus.

      Do you have any Christmas stories about your Scouts? Share them with us and leave a comment.

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        2013-11-26 patch blanketIt is hard to believe that it is nearly three years since I first seriously began thinking of taking thirty years of patches from various Scouting events and sewing them on a blanket like so many Scouters have done. In the summer of 2012 I laid out one of my Scouting blankets on my ping pong table and started placing patches to see how it would look, and play around with an arrangement. After six months I came to the conclusion the patches were not going to sew themselves so in January of this year I began sewing patches.

        After the first row was sewn, the blanket laid untouched for a few months. I do not like to sew. Finally, the second row was complete. By the time I was working on the third row I discovered I had a hard time keeping the patches straight and that the blanket was starting to bunch up a bit. I tried an experiment when I began the fourth row. I had a bottle of Fabri-Tac so I tried spot glueing the patches into place to try to keep them straight. It worked, very well in fact. I decided to try using only glue on a few patches to see if they would stay without sewing. They did. Sewing was now done. The rest of the patches would be glued into place.

        Last Sunday I finished the last three rows on the blanket. It took me nearly 11 months from when I first grabbed a needle and thread. If the Fabri-Tac had not worked well I would bet the blanket would not be even one third of the way completed today. I was able to glue 4 patches in the same time I was able to sew one patch. I just had to be careful. I only had one chance to place a patch properly when I glued it.

        There one hundred forty two patches in twelve rows on the blanket, including the segment patches from summer camp. For the bottom half I used a straight edge to keep the patches in line. The first patch is from a 1980 council camporee. The last patches were from the 1996 summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp. Patches from Wood Badge, Philmont Scout Ranch, and awards earned at the summer camp rifle range are included. In the middle of the blanket I placed an assistant scoutmaster and a scoutmaster patch to represent those troop positions I held during those 16 years. A roundtable commissioner patch can be found along the left edge. Order of the Arrow conclave patches and one from the 1995 B.S.A National Meeting complete the blanket.

        The only thing left is to find a way to display the blanket when it is part of Scouting displays set up around town. The best thing I have found online so far is an expandable garment rack. I am open for suggestions if you have any.

        If you click on the picture a larger version will appear. Which one is your favorite patch? Do you see the one from America’s Funniest Home Videos? How does this blanket compare to your patch blanket? Send me a picture and I may post a future article featuring your blankets.

        Now it is time to consider starting work on the second blanket….

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          scoutsreview072380I learned early on that promoting Scouting seems to fall into the hands of the local troops and packs. During my 33 years of being involved with the Boy Scout program I have very rarely seen the national office or the local council do much to promote the Scouting program outside of the Scouting program. In fact, even with the all negativity thrown during the past dozen years at Scouting I have seen little positive promotion done by the national office. Take away any news of the 100th anniversary or the National Jamboree and what are you left with?

          Are those crickets I hear?

          Anyway, my issue with the national office and the local councils can wait for another article. Let’s get back to what this article is about, and that is local promotion of the Scout program, that which is done by local packs and troops. Namely my troop, Melrose Troop 68.

          Shorty after becoming an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 68, like within a month, I began writing articles about troop activities for the local newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, and called it the Scout’s Review. For awhile, I wrote the article with Sharon, the oldest sister of one of the Boy Scouts and a cousin of mine. The first article was published on July 23, 1980. It covered the first troop camping trip held at a local lake in June. It also covered a second outing, a father and son camping trip, and the troop elections. It covered a lot of stuff for a short article. (Click on the picture for a larger version to read the article.)

          The purpose of the articles was to get the word out within town that the Boy Scout program was back and going strong. The previous troop had disbanded four or five years earlier. It was time to start anew. Time to get your son involved in this worthwhile program.

          I believed it helped. Articles and pictures appeared in the paper regularly, usually at least once a month, sometimes two times a month. Boys not involved in Scouting were able to see what the Scouts were doing and the fun they were having. Even the Cub Scout Pack would submit articles which I am sure helped the pack to grow strong. When the troop went to Philmont the story of the trip filled half of a page of the newspaper. Stories of Eagle Scouts began to appear, and people enjoyed reading about them. When our community had its own public television station we put that to work to add to the troop’s public image.

          For three decades I wrote articles about Scouting and submitted them to the paper. I had a great relationship with the newspaper. But three decades is a long time to write articles. I started to burn out. I received very little help from the parents. It finally got to the point were I really did not care to write and submit any articles anymore. The Scout’s Review began to appear less regular. Sometime months would go by without an article. I was also burning out as the scoutmaster. I know that did not help my mood for writing articles.

          I am not the scoutmaster anymore. I stepped down nearly two years ago. But somehow, this year has been turning out to be a great year for getting the Boy Scouts back in the press locally. One reason is because I still submit pictures to the newspaper, along with a short description of the activity. I may not write a full story along with the photo, but at least we get something in the paper.

          The second reason is because the editor of the paper, Carol, has covered the troop during a few of its activities. She was there to take pictures at the last troop meeting of the year at the Jaycee park. She came to our waffle breakfast fundraiser and took a couple pictures. She wrote an article about the troop’s decades of use and meetings at the Jaycee Park, which the city council decided to sell to the hospital this year for a new expansion project. In other words, she sees stories about Scouting that she thinks should be shared with the community. It has been great.

          I have four three ring binders that contain the articles printed in the Melrose Beacon over the past 33 years. I think I have every article, but I may be missing one or two. Those four binders contain quite a history of the troop, beginning with that first camping trip at Uhlenkolts Lake, to the Scouting For Food Drive held this month. They contain articles about trips to Philmont, and BWCA, and the mountains of Virginia. There are also articles of most of the eighteen Boy Scouts who have earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Like I said, quite a history in those binders.

          How does your troop get the word out about Scouting in your community? Does your troop or pack have a person appointed to submit articles and pictures to your local newspaper?

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            ptcmediabannerI was contacted tonight on Facebook by a fellow Scouter from Illinois. Kevin Miller was wondering what is going on with PTC Media these days. For those of you new to this blog, PTC Media was a website featuring a collection of Scouting related podcasts, featuring shows about Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. At its peak the site featured six podcasts, with another one or two short lived shows. I created two podcasts, the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast (MSPP), which was a video show, and Around The Scouting Campfire, an audio program hosted by myself and Buttons, the radical Boy Scout. I also co-hosted the Leaders Campfire with Cubmaster Chris. The site can be found at http://www.ptcmedia.net/ .

            Unfortunately, the answer to Kevin’s question was that not much is happening these days at the website. Many of the podcast hosts have moved on to other things, and some are not involved with the Scouting program any longer. Fortunately, Cubmaster Chris, the caretaker of the PTC Media, has decided to keep the site up and running so people can still listen to or watch the many podcast episodes created during the last eight years. Many of them hold information that is still relevant to today’s Scouting program. I still post a new video to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast occasionally.

            Kevin really liked the podcasts and PTC Media. He liked them so well that he made one of the points of his Wood Badge ticket to hold a Podcast Awareness Day featuring the shows found at PTC Media. And boy, did he go all out. In 2010 he created audio cd’s of the shows, over a 100 for each of the main shows, and had a banner created for his booth. (See in the picture above.) He also created business cards, srtickers, half sheets, and full sheets to promote the shows. I am sure his efforts gave a nice boost to our downloads, and it was great to see someone who really appreciated our time and effort into creating the shows.

            After a short online chat with Kevin this evening it almost made me feel guilty about not creating more podcast episodes on a regular schedule. I do still have a few videos to finish editing and post to MSPP. I have even thought about doing another episode or two for Around The Scouting Campfire. My idea was to actually record a couple stories as I tell them to the Boy Scouts around a campfire some night. (I should have recorded last Saturday’s Purple Gorilla story.) I just don’t know if people would like to download them and listen to them, if it would be worth my time and effort.

            Kevin has given me permission to use his photos for this blog post. What do you think about his podcast promotion? I think it is awesome.

            ptc media promotionClick on the pictures for a full size version.

             

             

             

             

             

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              jambonewsWith this year’s Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree now a part of history, it has made me think about the 2001 Jamboree which I attended as the scoutmaster of Central Minnesota Council Troop 1417, one of two troops we sent to Fort A.P. Hill that year. I brought back several things from that event that I just had to pull out of the closet after seeing all the pictures online from this year’s extravaganza.

              As I was looking through my tote of Jamboree items, I came across some things that made me wonder if they are still printed for the current Jamboree. One highlight of each day was when the Jamboree Today newspaper arrived at the campsite. This daily paper, printed at the Jamboree, was quickly snatched up by the Boy Scouts and adult leaders. Each issue included color pictures of previous day’s activities, interviews with Scouts and leaders, and information about upcoming events and activities. We all quickly skimmed the photos to see if any of us had made it into the paper. Unfortunately, no one from my troop did, but it was still fun to read the newspaper. Many of the Boy Scouts keep their copy as a memento of the Jamboree.

              Another daily bulletin delivered to each camp was the Leader’s Update. It was a short handout for the troop leaders and camp staff featuring all sorts of things important to us, but not necessarily interesting to the youth. If there was something I thought would be of interest to the Scouts I would bring it up to the youth leaders or talk to the troop when we had assembly. I still have nine of the editions, but unfortunately I am missing a couple of them.

              So my question to those of you who attended the 2013 Jamboree, did they still print these two publications for the campers and troop leaders? Or were they found online? Or both? Did you keep your copies for a memento and add them to your Jamboree collection?

              By the way, if you click or tap on the pictures you will be able to see a larger version of the photo.

              jamboleadernews

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                1947handbooksmThe Boy Scouts of America’s website states this about the the Aims of Scouting: The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America — incorporated on Feb. 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916 — is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.

                Character, citizenship, and personal fitness. Those are three outstanding goals to teach our young men. The site lists the methods, or building blocks of Scouting, as nine points: Advancement, Community Organizations and Scouting Councils, Personal Growth, Leadership, the Order of the Arrow, the Outdoors, the Patrol Method, Scouting Values, and Scouts with Special Needs. (See http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/TheBuildingBlocksofScouting.aspx )

                While the main goals of Scouting have stayed the same through the decades there have been changes in the way the B.S.A. has stated these aims and methods. I decided to pull down a couple versions of the Scoutmaster Handbook from my collection to read what they say about these subjects, and see what, if any, differences there are between then and now.

                First, let’s look back to the 1990 version of The Scoutmaster Handbook.
                The Aims of Scouting are listed on page 69. They are:
                Aim 1 – To build character.
                Aim 2 – To foster citizenship.
                Aim 3 – To develop fitness.

                The book goes on to explain character on page 70.
                It’s a “complex of mental and ethical traits”, says one dictionary. It’s “moral or ethical quality” says another. It’s qualities of honesty, courage, and integrity”, says a third. To these perfectly good descriptions we add four “self” qualities that Scouting, over the years, has been especially successful in developing in boys, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-respect. When a boy begins to develop these, he begins to develop character.

                This book says about citizenship: The wise Scoutmaster can guide his Scouts not only to love their country, but to understand it, know more about its heritage and history, encounter the democracy that knits together its many cultures into a nation that welcomes them all. And thus find joy in serving it.It is growth in your Scouts to that level of citizenship in which you, as Scoutmaster, will find your joy.

                The book says about Aim 3, developing fitness – The third aim, developing fitness, covers a broader territory, for Scouting recognizes four areas of fitness: physical, mental, emotional, and moral. I sometimes see today’s Scout leaders emphasizing the physical fitness and forgetting about the other three, which is a shame.

                That 1990 version of the handbook lists the eight (yes, eight) Methods of Scouting as: Ideals, Patrols, Outdoors, Advancement, Personal Growth, Adult Association, Leadership development, and Uniform. These were the methods I based my 30 years of scoutmastership upon. This list is a bit different then found on today’s website. I have a question for the national office. When was Adult Association dropped from the list? When did the Order of the Arrow make this list?

                I also own a 1947 printing of the Handbook For Scoutmasters. Things are written a bit differently in that version. On page 10, right at the begining of the book, it states: THE AIM OF SCOUTING.
                Scouting trains for citizenship by inculcating in the boy, from within instead of from without, the qualities of Character, Health and Strength, Handcraft and Skill, Service to Others.

                That is somewhat different than how the aims are listed today. Some of it still exists today using different language but I find it interesting that Handcraft and Skill has been dropped. I had to look up the word inculcating because I have never seen it used before. It means: Instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction.

                Also on page 10 the 1947 handbook talks about the Methods of Scouting. Scouting is game played by boys in boy gangs under boy leaders chosen by the gang, guided by a man backed by other men of the community. Scouting provides the boy with an active outdoor life, grants him recognition for mastering various skills, and gives him a chance to wear an attractive uniform. It holds before him the ideals of a true Scout, and encourages him to “help other people at all times”.

                The Scout Way – 1) A Game, not a Science.
                Patrol Method – 2) The Scout Patrol, 3) Boy Leadership
                Men In Scouting – 4) The Scoutmaster, 5) Troop committee and local Council Scouters
                Activities – 6) Adventure in the out-of-doors, 7) Scout Advancement
                Uniform – 8) The Scout Uniform
                Ideals and Service – 9) The Scout Law, 10) The Scout Oath, or Promise – Service: Good Turns.

                I love looking at the old literature and seeing how differently things were written back then. Of course, the biggest difference between Scouting in the 1940′s and today’s Scouting is that women can now serve as scoutmasters and other adult leadership positions. Back then they wrote “out-of-doors” instead of outdoors. Patrols are not called gangs in Scouting these days. I also like they way that Scouts have a chance to wear an attractive uniform. Have you seen the uniforms from the 1940′s?

                This article is not meant as rant or a statement about Scouting as it is today. It is meant to show the differences in the way Scouting language has changed through the decades. I would challenge you to find some old handbooks and read them and see for yourself the way it has changed over its 100 year history. Or is it still the same?

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