Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

Can it be? Has it already been five years? I guess is has. On April 4th, 2007, I posted the first video to the Melrose Scout Productions podcast.

I began the podcast because I had a number of Scouting related videos to share. Podcasting was still fairly new at the time, and there was not a lot of Scouting videos online, like there is now. Even the B.S.A. had not embraced podcasting. (Some would argue they still have not.) I thought there may be a small niche of viewers that would like to see my videos.

The first two videos of the Melrose Scout Productions podcast featured a puppet called Buttons, the radical Boy Scout. The next three videos took the viewer along on a couple of the troop’s camping trips. There are currently 115 videos featuring songs, skits, Cub Scout and Boy Scout activities, and interviews. There are also some slideshows that were shown at Eagle courts of honor. I guess you could say there is a pretty good variety.

When I started the podcast it had a slightly different name: Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast. A couple years ago I needed to change Scouting to Scout because the B.S.A. sent a note that they owned the trademark to “Scouting”, but oddly not “Scout”. Whatever. If I was to rename it today I would probably call it the Melrose Scout Video Podcast.

Now that I have retired as the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68, I questioned how much longer I could keep the podcast going. Well, I have no plans to quit yet. I am still a member of the troop committee so I will still be attending some of the outings. I also have a lot of video tape sitting next to the computer waiting to be edited. I have a feeling that the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast will be around for at least another year or two.

I hope to have enjoyed the podcast and videos. Which ones have been your favorites? Which ones do you not care for? Leave a comment and let us know.

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    You have been reading about it in the blog. Now you can watch it happen. This post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast features the first of four videos taken from the retirement party for Scoutmaster Steve who stepped down after 30 years of service to Boy Scout Troop 68.

    This video features the district executive presenting Steve with his last leader’s knot earned as a scoutmaster, a speech from his assistant scoutmaster of 24 years, and a special presentation from the new scoutmaster and the Boy Scouts. The video is about 18 minutes long.

    Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
    Or watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.

    Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
    or at
    Leave feedback here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

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      Last Saturday, February 25th, was the day Boy Scout Troop 68 held a party to recognize my thirty years of service as the troop’s scoutmaster. (I retired at the end of last year.) The party was held at the Melrose American legion. It began at 2:00 in the afternoon and lasted 5:00 pm.

      The committee planned to begin decorating at 10:00 am. They had asked me if they could use my photo albums and wall hung pictures. Of course, I said they could. I thought it would be fun for any alumni who attended the party to look through the old photographs. I packed up the 36 albums, all the group photos and Eagle Scout portraits that hung on the walls, and a few of the awards I had earned over the years.I added four Boy Scout uniforms to the pile, including the uniform I had worn as a young Boy Scout and the one I wore to the 2001 National Jamboree. Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, also decided he needed to go along.

      By the time I finished packing their were over six boxes of stuff representing over 32 years of the Scouting program in Melrose. It was a good thing we had a couple of vehicles to transport it all.

      Once everything was carried into the American Legion the question arose of how should we set it up? I did not know what the committee had in mind for the afternoon for at first I just shrugged my shoulders. It soon became evident that no one really knew what to do since none of us had ever done anything like this. I suggested that we make a long line of tables to display the photo books. Someone else suggested that we should keep the tables away from the wall so people can view the books from either side.

      That was when we discovered that 36 photo albums take up a lot of room when they are open. It took five eight foot long tables to display the the regular troop albums. At the end of the room we used four more tables for the 8×10 group photos, the high adventure albums, and the three shadow boxes. Two more tables were used to display the Eagle Scout portraits. I think we ended up with 80 or 88 feet of tables filled with photos and other memorabilia.

      A couple of small table were set by the entrance. A guest book was there for people to sign as they arrived, along with a basket for cards. People were greeted by Buttons who stood on a table in his Boy Scout uniform. In the back of the room was a television on which a slideshow of our 1989 trip to Philmont Scout Ranch was playing. The four uniforms were hung on the wall behind the podium serving as a backdrop to the speakers. Snacks, cake, and refreshments were placed on a couple other tables.

      Five rows of tables were set up in the center of the room. Bowls of candies and pretzels were placed at each table. To tell the truth, I did not think we would need all the tables for people to sit at, but I was wrong.

      It took nearly two hours to get everything ready for the party. We all thought it looked impressive with all the albums, photos, and other memorabilia. We looked things over once last time and then left for lunch. Show time was only a couple hours away.

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        The troop committee and parents have decided to host an open house to celebrate (?) my retirement as the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68. I have been told I need to attend this party. They even checked with me to make sure I had the date available so I suppose I will be spending the afternoon of Saturday, February 25, at the local American Legion.

        The committee has kept me out of the planning. It is like they do not want my help or something. I do not quite understand. Oh, wait a minute. I have to take that back. They did ask for my help for a couple of items. They wish to invite all troop alumni but they do not know how to contact of them. I have the email addresses for some of them and I am friends with quite a few on Facebook. The committee asked me to contact them and invite them to the open house so I send out an email and posted an event notice to Facebook. I did it but it seemed weird to invite people to a party about me.

        The committee is trying to keep me in the dark about what they have been planning. I know it will be three hours long. I recently discovered a post on Facebook about the chance of there being some speeches. A parent has asked that I allow them to use the thirty-some photo albums I have made of troop events through the decades. They also want the pictures of the Troop 68 Eagle Scouts I have hanging on the wall in the Family Room. I thought it was just an afternoon for the current troop and troop alumni but Monday night I happened to see my name on the credit union’s electric outdoor marque so I guess it is open to the public.

        A few years ago my siblings and I held an open house for our parents 50th wedding anniversary. My parents were worried that not many people would show up. (Just the opposite happened). Now I know how they felt. Will any alumni attend this party or will it just be the current troop members and their families? (There have been several alumni that have replied to the Facebook post.)

        Most of the former troop members have moved away from Melrose as they went off to college, began careers, and started families. Only a few still live in town. A dozen or so still keep in touch regularly. If it were not for Facebook I would not know much about any of my former Scouts.

        To tell the truth, I am looking forward to the open house because (I hope) it will be an opportunity to see several alumni that I do not get to visit with very often. I am sure it will be a good time.

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          Scouting DisplayIt is that time of year again. Troop 68 has set up four displays about Boy Scouting around town. The displays were set up on Friday, February 3, in time for the 102nd anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. They will be taken down later this week.

          The displays were placed at the Central Minnesota Credit Union, the Freeport State Bank, U.S. Bank, and the Melrose City Hall. Each of the displays is based on a different them, such as high adventure or community service. Each fits on top of a six to eight foot long table. All four displays contain photographs, Scouting books, and other memorabilia that I have collected during the last three decades.

          I would like thank these four institutions for allowing the troop to set up again this year. All of them have allowed us to do this for many years. I would also like to thank the Boy Scouts, parents, and friends who assisted in planning and setting up the displays. Without their help the displays would not have been set up around the community.

          Does your Boy Scout troop or Cub Scout pack do anything to promote the Scouting program during February? Tell us about it by leaving a comment.

          Scouting Display

          Scouting Display

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            In 1996, following a September court of honor, the troop surprised me with a little ceremony for the fifteenth anniversary of being the scoutmaster of Troop 68. After a few speeches by committee members and Boy Scouts I was presented with a book of letters from former and current Scouts, and from some of the parents. For some reason I was a little nostalgic tonight so I pulled out that book and looked through it. I had to smile to myself when reading some of the letters from the younger Boy Scouts. A few memories were brought back when I read the letters from the former troop members.

            One of the letters stuck out in the way that it was written. It was a poem. It covered so much of this young man’s years as a Boy Scout of Troop 68, including times he worked with me on film productions at Mel-TV and the times we played a little roll playing game you may know. I could tell he spent some time trying to get things in this poem just right. Here is that poem:

            Steve, Scoutmaster, Film Director, and Friend.
            Here is a few words about you and Scouting,

            It was fun going to movies in your gray Citation
            and messing around waiting at the Cimmerron train station.
            Bobby’s Biking Blunders and Warning of the Ring,
            All those campfires we would act out skits and sing.
            Monday night meetings at the Jaycee park,
            and in St. Mary’s gym in the winter when it got dark.
            British Bulldogs, Dodgeball, and Capture the Flag too,
            it was rough at times but we managed to pull through.
            Playing D&D and eating snacks till the wee hours of the night,
            Climbing Mount Baldy at Philmont sure was a sight.
            From Star Trekking across the universe
            to selling breakfast tickets. It could be worse.
            Looking back, I sure am glad
            at all the exciting adventures we have had.
            Without looking too far it is easy to see
            that “Watchamagumee is the camp for me”.
            I still try to do a good turn daily.
            Being prepared has always helped me.
            As for pushups… Let’s just say…
            I don’t swear that much anyway.

            Thanks for everything and all the memories.
            Happy 15th year of Scouting and a good job.

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              Once upon a time, there were two Cub Scout leaders who were creating online audio shows called podcasts. Chris hosted a show called An Hour A Week. Bob hosted a show with his Cub Scout son called Akela’s Adventure. Together, they created a third show named The Leaders Campfire. These three productions were combined to form an online network that became known as PTC Media, found at .

              In April of 2007, I began a video podcast featuring the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 doing songs and skits. Some videos included footage from their outings. I named the podcast Melrose Scouting Productions.

              During the fall of 2007, Bob and Chris began talks with me to add my podcast to the PTC Media network. They enjoyed the videos and thought the podcast would be a good addition to their site. On October 5, 2007, Melrose Scouting Productions joined the network of Scouting related podcasts.

              It has been a fun four years. I have met dozens of online Scout Leaders through the network and made many Scouting friends. My role at PTC Media has increased. I am now a cohost of The Leaders Campfire and occasionally produce another podcast named Around The Scouting Campfire.

              It has been great working with Cubmaster Chris and the other hosts of PTC Media shows: Jerry, Shawn, Liberty, Emily, and Shannon. They are a dedicated group of Scouters and good friends. It has been a pleasure sharing stories and experiences with them.

              It will be interesting to watch PTC Media grow and change in the future. The network already hosts eight shows. A ninth about Venturing will soon be added. I am proud to include Melrose Scouting Productions as one part of the quality shows at PTC Media.

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                The troop committee was called to a local restaurant for a special meeting on September 13th. As the troop’s assistant scoutmaster I was invited to attend. So was the district executive. The scoutmaster was not informed of the meeting.

                The troop had a problem. The current scoutmaster was not doing his job. He did not attend many of the meetings. He did not attend many of the outings. The committee needed to talk to the district executive about their options. After a short discussion one member asked the D.E. if they could fire a scoutmaster. The D.E. replied that they could. After all, it was their troop.

                I had to leave the meeting at that point to go to the Cub Scout Pack’s monthly committee meeting, so I did not get to partake in the rest of the troop committee meeting. Later, on my way home, I noticed that a few of the Boy Scout committee members were still at the restaurant so I stopped to talk to them. The committee chairman invited me to sit down. They gave me a quick update about what I missed. They decided to fire the scoutmaster. They appointed me as the troop’s new scoutmaster.

                I was a little stunned. No one had asked me about it. True, I was already doing most of the scoutmaster’s job, but I was only 21 years old. I was not sure I was ready for such a responsibility. The committee thought I was ready and promised their support. What could I do? I accepted the position.

                That was in 1981, thirty years ago. I had been an assistant scoutmaster for only 16 months. I wanted to do a good job as scoutmaster so I took all the training the council and district provided. I attended nearly all the monthly roundtable meetings. I poured myself into the program because I believed in what Scouting had to offer.

                The core principles of the program remain the same as they were thirty years ago, but their have been some changes. Women are now allowed to be scoutmasters. Two adults must now attend any troop functions. Youth protection training is now mandatory. Councils now do background checks on any adults who wish to hold a leadership position. Oh, and skill awards have disappeared from the advancement program.

                The remember when the first boys joined the troop who were born after I had become a scoutmaster. “Wow. I am getting old,” I thought to myself. Then the parents of some of the Scouts were younger then me. I have now been a scoutmaster so long that those first Boy Scouts from the ealry 1980’s are old enough to have Scout-age boys of their own.

                Thirty years. Wow. I have seen hundreds of boys go through the Scouting program. I have been to the Charles Sommers Canoe Base, attended a national jamboree, and been on five treks at Philmont Scout Ranch. I have participated in two dozen week long summer camps and attended nearly a thousand troop meetings. I have seen 19 boys earn the Eagle Scout award while a member of Troop 68. Hopefully there will be one more before the end of the year.

                During the last couple of months I have been thinking about retiring as the troop’s scoutmaster. Thirty years is a long time. I have accomplished my goals. I have given it a good run, but I have been growing tired of the meetings and outings. I do not think I have much more to offer as a scoutmaster. Another factor is that Melrose has not been supporting Scouting like it once did. The troop is down to nine members. Only two of them live in town. If the community is not willing to support a Scouting program by getting involved then maybe it is time to let it go.

                Like I said, thirty years is a long time, but I do not regret it. Sure, there have been some rough times, but there were a lot more great times and great boys that came through the program. I think I can honestly say I have done well as the scoutmaster of Melrose Troop 68.

                If I hadn’t done a good job, the committee would have fired me. Wouldn’t they?

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