Archive for the ‘council’ Category


2015RipleyFlyerThe 2014 council wide Ripley Rendezvous is now a part of history, but the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 can already look forward to attending a bigger and better rendezvous in 2015. Next year will be time for the Area-Wide Ripley Rendezvous which will bring Boy Scouts from all over the state of Minnesota, and a few Scouts from neighboring states, to the central Minnesota National Guard base. I believe at least four councils, if not five, work together to plan this activity.

There will be three programs provided for the Boy Scouts, based on the Scouts’ age. The Extreme Program, for ages 14 and older will include Military Demonstrations, Team Challenges, Obstacle Course, Biathlon Course, Climbing & Rappelling, and a Zip Line. The Adventure Program, for 13 and older, will include Military Demonstrations, Hunting Instructionals, North Range Shooting Sports, Tomahawk Throw, Voyageurs Reenactment Group, and Historical Firearms Demos. The Action Center, open to all Scouts, will include Hands-On Activities/Displays, Rocket Launching, Outdoor Skills Training, Military Equipment, DNR & State Patrol Demos, and Pro Fishing Celebrities.

Special events for the weekend include Interactive Drone Flights, Military Honor Guard, MN Military Museum Tours (which is a favorite of our Boy Scouts), a Saturday Night Stage Show, Saturday Night Fireworks, and a Celebrity Fun Run. The Trading Post will be loaded with all kinds of goodies and special weekend souvenirs.

This event will be held on May 15-17, 2015. The cost per participant in only $45, which is not too bad considering the program offered. Troops will set up camp in a jamboree style setting.

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    2014_Ripley_Rendezvous_AdIt is time once again for the Boy Scouts of the Central Minnesota Council to gather at Camp Ripley for the Ripley Rendezvous, an annual event hosted by the council and Camp Ripley. Camp Ripley is a National Guard Base found in central Minnesota near Little Falls. I know this weekend outing has been going on for at least 40 years because I remember attending when I was a young Boy Scout.

    Ten Boy Scouts from Troop 68 are enjoying the fun offered by the program this weekend. What are they doing, you ask? Well, according to the council’s website:

    Ripley Rendezvous 2014 “Aim High!” will be held the Camp Ripley Army National Guard Training Facility, Camp Ripley, MN. This spring time event is truly a unique opportunity to utilize the traning facility’s ranges and buildings in presenting two distinct levels of involvement.

    The Adventure Program will be conducted at the ranges for everyone that enjoys shooting sports. Scouts will be using shot guns, .22 rifles, 50 cal. black powder inlines, archery, tomahawks, and sling shots; all skills that need a great deal of concentration to perform at your best.

    The Scout Ops is an Extreme program for the older Boy Scouts and Venturers, who are ready for a more rigorouse program using advanced physical and mental trials that go along with team work and goal accomplishment. The personal satisfaction of knowing you did your best, no matter the outcome is something to be proud of. This older Scout program will have several static displays, exhibits and hands-on activities for everyone who wants a tougher challenge.

    This is similar to the program of the last few years. While our Scouts were looking forward to attending the rendezvous I have heard that overall numbers of participants are down. It might be time to change up the program and offer something different next time.

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      2014CMCPatch2Yep. It is that time of year. Boy Scout councils are conducting their annual Friends of Scouting campaigns to raise money to support the local council and its program. Our district executive from the Central Minnesota Council visited our troop’s court of honor on Monday, March 24th. The troop almost met the goal set by the council, and still may. A few of the parents took the forms home with them to consider how they could financially support the council.

      In our council, as I am sure in many councils across the country, there are various tiers at which a donor is recognized for their financial gift. For several years now, the Central Minnesota Council has presented donors with a special council shoulder patch for meeting the first level of support. These patches have featured a design based on a Norman Rockwell painting. The year’s patch was based on the painting of a Boy Scout saluting. I am not quite sure of the name of the painting, but it might be called We, Too, Have A Job To Do from 1944. As you can see from the picture, it is a fully embroidered patch, not a print like two patches a few years ago.

      At another gift level the donor would receive a framed print of this Norman Rockwell painting. I think it was ten years ago that the council last offered this print. My home office wall displays 15 different framed prints offered by the council over the years. There is not much room left for any new ones.

      I think the council did a good job with this year’s patch. I am happy to add it to my csp collection. This patch takes us nearly to the halfway point of the Scout Law. I look forward to seeing what the next seven years of patches will look like.

      What sort of incentives does your council offer during its Friends of Scouting campaigns?

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        Eagle Scout board of reviewI would be willing to bet that most young men who go before their council Eagle board of review are a little nervous. I know that many of the Boy Scout from Melrose Troop 68 were when it was their turn. Adult members of the board have told me that some Scouts are very nervous. I can understand this. For many of these young men this may be the most important interview of their lives, up to this point.

        Alex E. is the latest member of Boy Scout Troop 68 to go before the Eagle board.He turned in his paperwork last month (December). He is 16 years old, which is young when you consider that many Eagle Scout candidates have their review within a couple months of having their 18th birthday. It is even more impressive when you realize that Alex joined Scouting when he was 13 years old. He has gone from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout in less than three years.

        I went to Alex’s review representing his scoutmaster, since his dad is the troop’s scoutmaster. Dakota represented our committee. Alex did not seem nervous as we waited in the lobby. He was very confident during his review and was quick to answer their questions. The three council board members were impressed.

        As is normal, the board asked him to leave the room after the questioning so they could discuss his performance. They asked Dakota and myself a few questions about his leadership and character within the troop. It was then time for the vote. It was unanimous! Alex had passed his Eagle Scout board of review.

        The board decided to have a little fun with the new Eagle Scout when they called him and his parents back into the room. One of the board members had a length of rope in his briefcase. He laid it on the table in front of where Alex was sitting. They wanted to see if the rope would make Alex nervous. After all, many Boy Scouts have a challenging time learning knots to pass their rank requirements.

        Alex and his parents were invited into the room and asked to be seated. Alex sat in the same chair, with the rope on the table before him. His parents sat one on each side of him. Dakota and I sat in the second row of chairs.

        Alex seemed to ignore the rope as the board chairman began to speak. Finally, one of the other board members asked Alex to tie a knot. Alex immediately grabbed the rope and asked, “Which one?” I knew that Alex knew his basic knots fairly well so before the board member could answer I suggested the sheepshank. (Remember that knot from the movie Follow Me Boys?) Alex proceeded to tie the knot, held it up for inspection, and set the rope back on the table. The board was even more impressed, and so was I.

        After the review, as we were putting on our coats in the lobby, I told Alex that he did very well. I asked him if he had been nervous. His reply? No. He stated that he had studied for the board of review and felt confident.

        The moral of the story? Live the Scout Motto. Be Prepared!

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          LifeRsmallThere has been a lot of press lately that the Boy Scouts of America is about to change its policy on allowing opening gay youth into the organization. In fact, the press likes to make it sound like this is already a done deal. The press makes it sound like the poll conducted by the B.S.A. states that Scouts, parents, leaders and councils overwhelmingly support changing the policy. I decided to bring up the poll results at the scouting.org website and look at the figures myself. It is not quite as cut and dried as the media is playing this up to be. I am a little bit skeptical. Here are a few statistics from one part of that poll, along with a few of my thoughts:

          Parents Study Group and Leaders Study Group

          The BSA’s Voice of the Scout Membership Standards Survey was sent to more than 1 million adult members, with over 200,000 respondents. I have been involved with the Scouting program for 33 years, yet I was not contacted to participate in this program. As far as I know, not one person in my troop was contacted. How did the pollsters choose the parents and leaders that were contacted for this poll?

          The survey found:
          Respondents support the current policy by a 61 percent to 34 percent margin. (I underlined the phrase.) Wow, that is a 17% margin. Presidents have been voted into office by fewer percentage points. Yet the media makes it sound like it is the other way around..
          Support for the current policy is higher at different program and volunteer levels in the organization:
          50 percent of Cub Scout parents support it; 45 percent of Cub Scout parents oppose. This was closer than I thought it would be.
          61 percent of Boy Scout parents support it. This could be true, but I don’t think it is true in my part of the country. Once again I ask how they choose the parents who participated in this survey. Was there a balance from across the nation?
          62 percent of unit leaders support it. I know some who do and some who do not.
          64 percent of council and district volunteers support it. I know more who are not sure what to decide yet.
          72 percent of chartered organizations support it. For some reason, I do not fully believe this figure. It seems high to me when you consider what groups make up a large portion of the chartered organizations.

          Local Council Study Group

          The Local Council Study Group was charged with listening to the voice of the Boy Scouts of America’s 280 local councils. While many of the conversations centered on a policy that would give chartered organizations the discretion of whether to accept avowed homosexuals to serve as leaders, many groups had concerns about this concept:
          50.5 percent of councils recommend no change.
          38.5 percent of councils recommend a change.
          11 percent take a neutral position.
          So, one way to look at this is that 61 percent of councils do not recommend a change to the current policy, almost two thirds of the organization’s councils. When listening to the media I thought that most councils wanted the policy change.

          There is a lot more to this poll. Read it yourself at

          http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/MembershipStandards/Resolution/Summary.aspx

          So what do I think? I am not ready to tell you yet, but here are a couple things that stick in my mind. The B.S.A. does not ask people what their sexually preference is. It is not found anywhere on any application. The only time it comes up is when it is brought up by the person himself, and when it does it becomes a media circus and the gay activists try to use it to their advantage.

          I was a scoutmaster for over 30 years. It was not my duty to ask a Boy Scout about his sexual preferences. It was my duty to try to teach him citizenship, leadership, and outdoor skills, and to let him have fun. Did I ever have a gay young man as a member of the troop? Yes, I did. But they did not come out as being gay until after they left high school. Would I have kicked them out of the troop if they mentioned they were gay while still a Scout? I am not sure because it was never an issue, but I would like think I would have allowed them to continue being a Boy Scout as long as they did not give me any other reason to ask them to leave. Keep in mind that the 1980′s and 1990′s were a bit different then today’s world.

          I think all boys should be allowed to be a Boy Scout. However, I do not think that any boy, or his parent, should take his membership and turn it into a political issue, which is what I am afraid this issue has become. In my opinion, this takes everything good the Scouting program offers a young man and turns it upside down. Suddenly everyone forgets of all the great things this 100 year old program has done for our youth and our country.  “Don’t ask, don’t tell” worked for the 30 years I was a scoutmaster. I did not ask, they did not tell, and we all enjoyed the time we spent in Scouting. It was not an issue, and it should not be an issue. I wish everyone would just shut up and let us get on with implementing the best Scouting program that we can provide for our youth.

          Now, what are my feelings on allowing opening gay men as adult leaders? That is a post for another time.

          Last words… I usually stay away from hot topic issues with this blog, but I felt I needed to finally get something out there. I do review every comment before it is posted. That is the best way to keep spam off this blog. I will be reading any comments for this post and if they are civil I may allow them to be added to this post. However, if I feel that they are mean spirited or rude I will trash it. It is my blog, and I will decide what is posted to it.

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            airshowUnfortunately, it has come to this. The St. Cloud Air Show, an event being sponsored by the Central Minnesota Council, has been cancelled. Here is the official statement from the website:

            St. Cloud Air Show Cancelled as Result of Sequestration
            ST. CLOUD, MN (Tuesday, April 2, 2013) As a result of the sequestration and with that the uncertainty of the appearance of the Blue Angels, The Central Minnesota Council of Boy Scouts has decided to cancel the St. Cloud Air Show scheduled for July 20th and 21st. Over 25 other shows have been cancelled across the country with more sure to follow due the Sequester. Because of the Sequester we have lost all of the military support needed to put on a successful air show.

            “Our decision to cease planning for the 2013 Air Show comes after careful review and consideration of the fiscal challenges we would face by not having the Blue Angels appear,” said Dave Trehey of the Central Minnesota Council of Boy Scouts.

            “We are very disappointed, especially after all the hard work that has already been put into the show by our volunteers,” added Jill Magelssen, Air Show Chairwoman. “When you lose the headline act you lose the momentum going into the show. The St. Cloud Air Show was a fundraising event for the Central Minnesota Council of Boy Scouts. We could not take the very real chance that the show would lose money.”

            The many people who have already purchased tickets will be refunded their money by the company that was handling ticket sales. Information on how the refunds will be handled will be on the air show website www.stcloudairshow.com by the end of this week.

            “We appreciate all of the support the community has given us in the planning of the Air Show,” added Trehey. “There is a very good chance that we will again have the opportunity to bring the Blue Angels back to Central Minnesota. We hope that you will be as excited about it again.”

            Many local troops and posts were planning to help with and/or attend this event. The local public and community were also supporting this show. Too bad it had to come down to this.

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              Central Minnesota Council Friends of Scouting 2013 shoulder patch.

              Central Minnesota Council Friends of Scouting 2013 shoulder patch.

              I don’t know about your council but ours, the Central Minnesota Council B.S.A., is in full swing for its 2013 Friends of Scouting (FOS) drive. Representatives from the council or district will visit each of the troops, packs, and crews to talk to families about the Scout program, and ask for donations to help the council provide a great program for thousands of youth. In Melrose Troop 68, this visit usually takes place at the March court of honor which will happen on Monday, the 25th.

              The council will accept any donation but does have a couple of “levels” at which the person or family who donates enough financial support will receive a special token of appreciation. At the lowest of these level points the donator will receive a patch. At the next levels he/she will receive a Norman Rockwell unframed print or framed print.

              I visited with Bob, my district executive, for awhile yesterday and found out the design of this year’s patch. This will be the sixth year that the council continues a theme based on the Scout Law. Each year has featured a point of the Law. This year has Kind as its theme. Is it a sharp looking patch, in my opinion. It is also nice to see that the council has returned to a stitched patch, instead of the cheaper looking print patches it used during the past three years. As you can see from the picture, this year’s FOS council patch is one you could proudly wear on your uniform.

              What does your council do to show its appreciation during its Friends of Scouting drive?

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                The Central Minnesota Council, B.S.A. is taking Scouting to new heights this summer when they sponsor the St. Cloud Air Show on July 20-21, 2013. The weekend promises to be a blast and will feature special events for local Boy Scout troops and venture crews. Here is some show information from the website:

                The St. Cloud Air Show, presented by The Central Minnesota Council Boy Scouts of America, will be held at the St. Cloud Regional Airport on July 20th & 21st, 2013. Each day this show will feature the world-famous US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, The Blue Angels as well as two days of performances by the world’s best military and civilian pilots. It will showcase world-class aerobatics champions, military jet demonstrations and entertainment for the whole family.

                Show highlights include:
                Two days of great In-The-Air Acts plus each day featuring The Blue Angels.
                Unique ground displays, historic aircraft, supersonic fighters and interactive activities.
                A family inflatables play area, climbing wall and bungee jumping.
                Viewing chalets with VIP seating, parking and food and beverages.

                Tickets are now on sale! Entertainment for your whole family and a chance to make memories you’ll never forget.
                Check out the website at http://www.stcloudairshow.com/

                Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts of the Central Minnesota Council can participant in a weekend lock-in at the airport. They will camp at the site, participate in special events, and may even meet some of the pilots. It sounds like a great opportunity for the local Scouts, and a great way to promote the Scout program in our area.

                Has your council ever done something like this?

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