Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

patc1(The following article was written by Pat Christenson, an alumni of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. Pat was a member of the troop from 1994 to 2001. He earned the Star Rank. It is the second of a few guest articles written by former members of Troop 68.)

Scouting was an invaluable time in my life that gave me a great background of experience and abilities that I find useful every day. Whether it is tying knots, starting fires, camping, using a knife properly, or just a state of mind as to how I may approach a given challenge, many things lead back to Scouting. This doesn’t even touch on the fact that it was just a lot of fun!

Probably the biggest lesson I learned in Scouting that I still fall back on to this day is to “be prepared.” I always keep this motto in mind as I go about my daily life. I try not to let things catch me by surprise and if there is anything I can do ahead of time to prepare for what’s in store, I will take the time to do so. Sometimes I may take a little too much time to prepare (just ask my wife), but I can’t begin to tell you how much this has lead my life in a great direction.

The other major lesson that I still try to maintain to this day is to “do a good turn daily.” This is an important reminder that what you do affects others, and you should always try to look for something good you can do to help others. By having this frame of mind, you will always be ready to lend a hand, or pitch in when needed and help make our society great. If everyone took the time to think of others and try to think of even just one thing a day to give to others or their community, this world would be a much better place. As much as I may have groaned about it as a teenager, doing the tasks to help out the community, like road cleanup, or helping to collect food for the food shelf, are things that I can look back on in my younger years and feel proud of. Those tasks give you a sense of worth that is very important in life.

As far as abilities, there are many things I feel confident about based on my time in Scouting. I learned many survival skills such as starting a fire, or making a shelter. I learned how to be a good steward of the environment and to leave any area better than when I arrived. This knowledge gives me a great deal of confidence that if I were to be in a situation where I was lost or stranded, I would know what to do.

Now, how about the really fun part! I was able to participate in many activities that I more than likely wouldn’t have been able to do if it wasn’t for Scouting. The biggest one for me was going backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch. I have so many great memories of that trip, and it was an experience of a lifetime. It started with a road trip to New Mexico from Minnesota. Somehow, we ended up in a van that only had AM radio, but we made it through! We then spent the next several days backpacking over 70 miles through the hills and mountains, and participating in activities on the way. The guys that I was able to go with were a ton of fun. I can still hear Jay telling terrible jokes as we went to sleep and Brent busting a gut laughing. I definitely wouldn’t have done this if it weren’t for scouting.

There were many other activities that I enjoyed as well. We camped many times and in Scouting you are really given a lot of responsibility. You are given a budget and are tasked with preparing meals from start to finish, including the grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. This definitely gives you a good perspective on how much work goes into planning and cooking meals at home as a kid. There were plenty of times when things didn’t work out so great and you also had to deal with the consequences of that. We weren’t all top chefs anyway! I think that is another great thing about Scouting in that you learn that things are not always given and prepared for you. You have to learn to fend for yourself and be responsible and accountable.

I had a lot of great times in scouting. I made some great friends, I made lifelong memories and I learned how to be a good citizen. It is a time I will always cherish and be proud of.

From a former scout,

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    nathanb1(The following article was written by Nathan Blommel, an alumni of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. Nathan was a Boy Scout from 1988 to 1993. He has earned the Life Rank. This is the first of a series of guest articles written by former members of Troop 68.)

    What Scouting means to me?
    Scouting has taught me many things in life. As a scout, Scouting exposed me to fun activities, gave me a sense of pride and belonging, taught me about being responsible, and gave me many fond memories about summer camp and high adventure camp.

    Fun Activities
    Scouting introduced things to me that I would not have experienced if I had not been in Scouting including: hiking, camping (both in the summer and winter), downhill skiing, pizza parties, roller skating parties, pinewood derby races, and bowling.

    Sense of Pride and Belonging
    Although selling tickets for a scout breakfast, or selling wrapping paper or popcorn, or helping out with Adopt-A-Highway, wasn’t something that I looked forward to, it taught me about working hard to accomplish a goal. Whether that goal was a troop goal or a personal goal (to raise money for an upcoming trip), it taught me that nothing is ever given to us and that we need to work hard for everything that we have. Scouting also allowed me to get to meet more friends and get to know others in the community. To this day I keep in touch with friends who I met through Scouting whom I never would have had a chance to meet if it weren’t for Scouting.

    Summer Camp/High Adventure Camp
    Summer camp was always a blast because it allowed you to have a week to be with friends. In addition, you got to work on projects and complete a number of merit badges. It was the week of the summer that you looked forward to so you could be away from home to learn and do new things. My favorite memories of summer camp include frisbee golf, the campfires (with other troops involved), canoeing, cooking, and sail boating.
    One of our troop’s high adventure camps that we attended was Philmont Scout Ranch. Philmont is located in New Mexico and consists of more than 214 square miles of camping/hiking. Philmont was where we spent 10 days hiking/back-packing in the mountains. Fond memories include: learning how to live on bare essentials, enjoying and appreciating the views and valleys of the mountains, doing team activities, and encountering live animals (including a bear).

    Do I take anything that I learned from scouting and pass it on my family?
    Yes, my son is active in Cub Scouts. Although I wasn’t real active with Cub Scouts (I did a lot more with Boy Scouts), when my son expressed an interest in Cub Scouts, I made sure to get him signed up because I knew he would get to experience so many fun things. He has been involved with scouting for less than a year and he has done many fun activities including the raingutter regatta, pinewood derby race, planting flowers, geocaching, touring a grocery store, attending a city council meeting, touring the airport, and building a model rocket.

    Because of scouting, I love camping and being outdoors. As a family, we take numerous camping trips each year. Our family enjoys being outside together, fishing, and hiking, and of course- having campfires.
    Another cool thing that I have passed on to our family is the game “Roses and Thorns”. Each night before bed, our kids tell us what their rose and thorn was for the day. We’ve been doing this since they were very young. My wife and I enjoy it because we learn a lot about what was their favorite thing and their least favorite thing about the day. At times, we are quite surprised with their answers. I know our kids like playing it too because they are always listening to each others’ answers and they sometimes will say something like, “Really, that was your thorn? I thought your thorn would have been…”

    In conclusion, Scouting means a lot to me and my family. I’m very excited to watch my son in scouting and I hope that he gets as much out of it as I did.

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      Philmont SunsetIf you have been following this blog of mine, you will have noticed that it is not a blog heavy about the things you should do to create a great Boy Scout troop, or about all the training you need to become a fantastic Boy Scout leader. No, this blog has basically been about my memories and experiences about being a Scoutmaster and Scouter in a small rural central Minnesota community. I have always thought of this blog being more entertaining then enlightening. Sometimes I think I should try to take these 800+ posts and try to make a book of it, but I just have not found the drive to do that. At least not net. But I do have a working title: The Master Thinks, And Unfortunately Wrote It Down.

      Things will be a little different here next week. I have asked some alumni of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 to write articles about their memories of being a Boy Scout and what, if anything, they have learned that helps them in their adult lives. I only have replies from three so far, but I am hoping for a few more. All three have stated that yes, they have learned a few things in Scouting and that they do look back on their Scouting years as good times. What do they say exactly? You will have to check out the posts next week to discover that.

      I hope that is enough of a tease to bring you back.

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        scouttoys1950I subscribe to the eBay Scouting Hot Finds Newsletter that is done by Jason Spangler. While most of the eBay auctions featured are for various patches once in awhile he lists something new that catches my eye. Today was one of those days. There is an auction that ends today for a 1950s MARX TIN LITHO CABIN, WITH SCOUTS AND ACCESSORIES. It is like a toy soldier action playset except that it features Boy Scouts figures at a summer camp setting. It features a scoutmasters cabin with 16 scouts, 29 different pieces of accessories and 14 North American wildlife figures. I never knew something like this existed. At the time I write this the bid is at $222 with six and a half hours left to go. The picture shown here is an overall view of the playset but more pictures are posted to the action that show more details. Check it out at

        While I would love to have this as a part of my Scouting collection but it is already out of my price range. (My scoutmaster pension was not as much as I had hoped for. jk) Of course, you never know. Maybe I have a reader of this blog who would like to purchase this set and give it to me as a present.

        It could happen.

        UPDATE: The playset sold for $255.00.

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          The last two posts to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast contained the first and second parts of an eleven year old Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation vhs tape I have in my Scouting collection. This post features part three, the last part of that training tape which covers the Troop Committee. Who makes up the committee? What does the committee do? What are they responsible for? Are they really necessary? It is an excellent video that is still relevant to today’s Scouting program.

          I think it is fun to watch these old videos to see how, or if, Scouting has changed through the decades. What do you think about it? Have you seen this before? This is a great video to watch if you are new to the Boy Scout program.

          Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
          Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
          or at
          Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

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            Fast Start Orientation, The Outdoor ProgramThe last post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast contained the first of three parts of an eleven year old Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation vhs tape I have in my Scouting collection. This post features part two of that training tape which covers the troop Outdoor Program. It is an excellent video that is still relevant to today’s Scouting program.

            I think it is fun to watch these old videos to see how, or if, Scouting has changed through the decades. What do you think about it? Have you seen this before?


            Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
            Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
            or at
            Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

            Thanks for Sharing!

              The other day I received my latest copy of Scouting Magazine. (For those of you unfamiliar with that publication, it is the B.S.A.’s official magazine for adult leaders of the Scouting program.) I have always enjoyed reading Scouting and often got a pointer or two from each issue. The cover of this latest edition caught my attention. I did not realize that it is the 100th anniversary of Scouting magazine, but the front cover announces it boldly to the whole world.

              According to the Scouting magazine website:

              How many magazines do you know that can say they’ve published for 100 years? As of April 2013, you can count Scouting magazine among them. For 100 years, we’ve published more than 900 issues — all with the same goal: serving the BSA’s adult leaders and volunteers.

              To celebrate our centennial anniversary, we’ve partnered up with the University of North Texas Digital Projects Unit to digitize every single issue of Scouting that ever rolled off the press.

              You can view the initial product from this partnership at Here, you’ll see scanned editions of magazines from as early as 1913 to the mid 1920s. Visitors can search these scans, zoom in to examine photographs and illustrations, and read stories that describe issues faced by early Scouters.


              This got me thinking. I signed up as an assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68 in May 1980. I have been receiving Scouting Magazine ever since then, for 33 years. That means I own one third of all the Scouting Magazines ever published. Yes, that is correct. I still have them. They are stored in a closet in the basement, along with 33 years of Boy’s Life Magazine. For some reason I never threw them away. A little weird, huh?

              Congratulations to the folks at Scouting Magazine! May you have another 100 years worth of issues in your future.

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                Troop Meeting TrainingI have collected a fair number of Scouting related items during the thirty-plus years I have been involved with our local Boy Scout Troop. One of these items is a vhs tape of Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation from 2002. You see, there was a time, not that long ago, when adult leaders could not readily go to the internet to watch training videos. They had to borrow a vhs tape from their council office. I know, hard to believe.

                While I am stuck at home recovering from neck surgery, I decided to make a digital copy of this 2002 training tape I received from the council when they decided to throw it out several years ago. Once I had a digital copy of it I thought it might be fun to share this 11 year old production with the viewers of the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. The whole video is 32 minutes long so I broke it down into three parts.

                This first part takes us through the process of planning and conducting a Boy Scout troop meeting. The video covers things very well and is still very reverent to today’s program. Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 has followed this format for decades with a lot of success. If you have new adult leaders in your troop I would recommend they sit down and watch this. I also think it is fun to watch a training video from 11 years ago.

                Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
                Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
                or at
                Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

                Thanks for Sharing!