Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category


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.
Josh

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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 http://www.ptcmedia.net .

    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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        I had thought about starting one for awhile before I took the plunge. I had some thoughts and stories I thought others may enjoy reading. There were not that many about Scouting related topics. So, on May 18, 2006, I posted the first article to “A Scoutmaster’s Blog.”

        Who knew five years ago that I would still be writing articles today? I have seen other Scouters begin blogs over the years. Some of them ended within a year, but others are still going strong.

        When I started writing this blog, I just wanted to share my Scouting experiences, and maybe include interesting things I found around the internet. I had, and still have, no intention for this to be a blog about how to be a good Scout leader. The B.S.A. has already posted a lot of information for people looking for that type of stuff. I have tried to keep this blog fairly positive and (dare I say it?) entertaining.

        There have been a few changes over the years. This has become the home for two podcasts: Melrose Scout Productions video podcast and Around The Scouting Campfire audio podcast. I have switched from Blogger to WordPress, but it is still hosted on our troop’s website.

        This happens to be the 714th post to “A Scoutmaster’s Blog”. There have been over 500 comments left by readers over the years. So far this year, the blog has averaged over 4500 page loads and 3100 unique visitors per month. While that may not be good numbers for ABC or USA Today, I think they are pretty decent for a scoutmaster of a small town in central Minnesota.

        One of the best parts of writing this blog is the friends I have made because of it. Through the magic of the world wide web I have been introduced to other Scout leaders across the country, and even a few from around the world.

        I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog over these five years. I have enjoyed reading your comments. Keep them coming. They keep me charged to to keep writing more.

        Here’s to the next five years!

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          Our local weekly newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, has been working for a few weeks on an article about the 100th anniversary of the first Boy Scout troops formed in Melrose. Herman, the writer of the article, has sent me a few emails requesting information and the chance to proofread the story which was printed in the April 13th edition. The article began on the front page, lower left corner, and continued on page 3. It included pictures of the current Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack. (Unfortunately, the newspaper’s website in down so I cannot post a link for you to see the article.)

          The Melrose Beacon has supported the local Scouting program for over three decades. Coverage began in 1980 with short articles written by one of the troop committee members and myself about what the Boy Scouts were doing during their troop meetings. Once a month, we would submit an article about the troop’s activity, along with a picture or two. It was a great way for the community to see what the Boy Scouts were doing.

          We do not submit weekly article these days. Usually, it is once a month, covering our weekly activity or a special event like a court of honor, a service project, or an Eagle Scout ceremony. Articles will still include a picture or two.

          I have written hundreds of article over the past 30 years. (I guess you could call them my blog before there was blogging.) I would write the stories by hand and then drop them off at the Beacon office. These days it is all done by email.

          The Melrose Beacon has recently come under new ownership. There is also a new editor. I am thankful that they still plan to continue supporting the local Scouting program. In addition to the recent 100th anniversary article, they will soon be publishing an article about our latest Eagle Scout and one about our waffle supper fundraiser. This week’s newspaper included a story about the troop’s weekend outing at Camp Stearns. I plan to submit a photo of the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts taken in front of the Fire Department’s ladder truck taken during the troop’s open house last Monday.

          Does your local newspaper support your Scouting program? Do you need to submit your own articles or does the paper send someone out to cover the event?

          100 Days of Scouting: Day 74.

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            A few days ago I wrote about a full page ad in the weekly newspaper celebrating the anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America and the local Scouting program. The spread featured pictures of the local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. It was pretty impressive.

            I received a copy of the Sauk Centre Herald yesterday. (That is the weekly newspaper in our neighboring town that is also owned by the same group as our Melrose Beacon.) I was quite surprised to see a two page ad about Boy Scouting in the center of the first section. The spread features photos of Sauk Centre Troop 25 and Pack 25, Brooten Troop 66, and BBE Pack 667. Sixteen businesses sponsored the ad. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

            Does your local newspaper do something similar? Let us know about it by leaving a comment.

            Note: The names of the boys have been deleted from the picture as per the Guide To Safe Scouting guidelines.

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              The Melrose Beacon, our local weekly newspaper, arrived in the mail today. I was pleasantly surprised to see a full page “ad” celebrating the anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, along with pictures of the Melrose troop and pack. The spread included The Boy Scout Oath, the Cub Scout Promise, and the Law of The Pack. Information about our council and hot to join a pack or troop was also covered.

              The Melrose Beacon was recently purchased by the same group that owns a local weekly newspaper in Sauk Centre, our neighboring city to the west. The Sauk Centre Herald has included a two page ad featuring the local troops and packs (including Melrose) for the last few years. This year our troop and pack were featured in our own community newspaper.

              Boy Scout Troop 68 and Cub Scout Pack 68 would like to thank the Melrose Beacon and the local businesses who supported this week’s full page feature. The businesses were CAP Enterprises, Kraemer Lumber, Melrose VFW Club, Freeport State Bank, Stearns Electric Association, Loren Pundsack Collision Center, Spaeth Sodding and Nursery, Rahn’s Oil and Propane, Catholic Aid Association, Melrose Pharmacy, Diversicom, and Hennen Lumber Company.

              Isn’t this a great story for 100 Days Of Scouting, Day 2?

              Click on the picture to see a larger picture of the ad. The boys names have been removed in keeping with the B.S.A.’s Youth Protection policy.

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                Happy Birthday to the Boy Scouts of America! Today, the organization is 101 years old. That is quite an accomplishment for any organization, but it is really something for a youth group to accomplish. It is awe inspiring when you sit and think for a moment about all the boys that have been a part of the program during those years; about all the adults who have given their time in packs, troops, and crews; about all the service hours given to local communities and the country. Then think about what those boys have gone on to accomplish when they became adults. As Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, would say, “Totally awesome!”

                To kick off this new year of the Boy Scouts of America, I invite you to watch this video I found on Youtube. It sums up what this Scouting program is all about, and does it very nicely.

                Starting today, this blog proclaims Tuesdays as “YouTube Tuesday”. I plan to suggest a Scouting video every Tuesday, so if you have one you would like to see posted here drop me an email.

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