Archive for October, 2012


I had a dandy dream this morning. I paid an “out of season” visit to the Buckskin Camp of Many Point Scout Camp to check in on the campsite Troop 68 has been using for a number of years. I was quite surprised to find the camp staff at the Seton campsite preparing to set up the new climbing towers. This shocked me! But I knew the camp was making improvements. After all, in real life a new Handicrafts Lodge and Nature Lodge had been built this year. Back to the dream, I decided to help the staff prep the site for the new towers. The campsite would actually be a decent site for the towers, more centrally located, but I had always thought the old site was a good place for the towers also. Oh well, our troop would have to move to a different campsite next year.

In the dream I left the campsite for a moment (it seems to be just a few minutes). When I came back not only where the two towers completed but other things had been added. There was a new course for gas-biking (?), and a short zip-line which ended at a new small manmade lake. And there was still more construction going on for other things. My first thought was that the Seton Campsite is not this big! (Typical for a dream, isn’t it?) My next thought was that they are turning summer camp into an amusement park. It is at this point that I woke up.

Needless to say, I was a little upset and confused when I woke up. Then I began thinking. I hope I never see a Boy Scout summer camp turn into an amusement park atmosphere. That would really kill the whole premise of the Scouting program. Valleyfair, Six Flags, and Disneyland are not good places to earn merit badges and learn life skills. This is one dream I do not want to see come true.

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    Cub Scout Pack 68 of Melrose held their first meeting of the new program year last week Tuesday at the high school cafeteria. After the opening ceremony, Cubmaster Mark sat down with the new and older Cub Scouts for a short talk. Then the boys split off by age group to different tables to create posters representing their dens. At least one parent sat down with each group to help get them started.

    It was fun watching the Scouts get down to business. Crayons, markers, foam sheets, and glue were available to create the 18″ x 24″ tag board posters. The foam sheets allowed the boys to add a third dimension to their artwork.

    The six Webelos Scouts went right to work. It did not take them long to agree to a Webelos Team Ninja theme. There was only one Bear Scout and one Wold Scout in attendance so they worked together to create a poster featuring a bear print and a wolf print. The first grade Tigers needed a little help getting started but in a short time they were just as focused on their masterpiece as were the Webelos Scouts.

    Once the cubmaster saw that the boys were all busy he called the parents together in another part of the room for a short meeting. After several minutes I noticed a couple of the mothers glancing around the room with confused looks on their faces. I knew it was not about anything the cubmaster was talking about so I asked them what was on their mind. At least two of them were surprised to see the boys still working together on their posters without any adult supervision at any table.

    That is right folks! The Cub Scout dens were completing a goal on their own without an adult looking over their shoulder and telling them what they should do. Even the first graders were working hard. Granted, the parents were still in the room but the boys were working on their own, by age group, each group working together on their poster. And they were having fun!

    I honestly believe this may have been the first time these mothers have noticed their sons working and playing with other boys without having an adult watching over their shoulder and guiding their every move for more then two minutes at a time. Kind of amazing, isn’t it?

    Welcome to the world of Scouting!

      

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      Every month the patrol leader council of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 meets to plan the meetings and activities for the next month. When I was the scoutmaster I did not want the boys falling into a rut by using the same opening and closing for every meeting, three times a month, month after month. I wanted the Scouts to add variety to their meetings, and to think about what could be used for openings and closings.

      I gave them a challenge (okay, I told them) to have different opening and closing ceremonies at each meeting during the month. The opening must contain something patriotic and something Scout related.  When they plan the next month they could use only one opening and one closing that was used during the previous month. This way there would be at least five different opening and closing ceremonies used during a two month period. It has worked well over the decades and the Scouts seem to enjoy the variety.

      When I stepped down as the scoutmaster last year I thought the boys may drop this guideline, but I did not need to worry about it. They have decided to continue this tradition, which has made me and the new scoutmaster happy. It is a challenge for the patrol leader council sometimes to rotate the various ceremonies (they try to avoid singing) but they have done well during the last nine months.

      So, what do they do instead of the basic Scout Law and Scout Oath at every meeting? Here are a few of the ceremonies they have used:

      OPENINGS
      Pledge Of Allegiance
      America Yell
      God Bless America
      The National Anthem
      American Creed
      Scout Law (or variations of)
      Scout Oath (or variations of)
      The Knight’s Code
      Gilwell Song
      Tommy Tenderfoot (song)

      CLOSINGS
      “Be Prepared” Song
      Patrol Calls
      Scout Benediction
      Scout Vespers
      Scout Slogan
      Scout Motto
      Taps

      What does your troop do for its opening and closing ceremonies? Do you have any good ones to add to this list?

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        I saw this new (?) poster online today to promote Cub Scouting. I thought it was fantastic! With all the hype this past year about the Dark Knight (Batman) and the Avengers, and the new Superman movie due out soon, I think it would work well with today’s youth.

        From the look of the writing on the bottom it looks like it is a B.S.A. poster, but I could not find it on the Scouting.org website. Has anyone used this poster this fall? How has the response been?

        This image came from http://davehepp.com/ .

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