Archive for November, 2012


I will admit that I have fallen behind on listening to the Scouting podcasts to which I subscribe, so when I recently took a trip to the Twin Cities I decided to catch up on listening to a couple episodes of the Scoutmaster Podcast found at scoutmaster cg.com. In episode #137, Clarke Green interviews author Mike Malone about his book Four Percent, a history of Eagle Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America. I really enjoyed the stories Mr. Malone shared about three of the most well known Eagle Scouts (listen to the podcast to find out who) and some of the changes to the Eagle Scout program during the last hundred years.

After listening to this podcast I wanted to get a copy of the book. Unfortunately, it is only available as an ebook through Amazon and iTunes. While I have read a couple ebooks on my iPad, I prefer to actually have a real book in my hands. I also think it would make an excellent gift for an Eagle Scout. Mr. Malone stated that his publisher is planning to publish an actual book sometime in the future but there are still some things to work out before that can happen, including getting the rights to use pictures within the book. Until then, it is the ebook or no book.

If you would like to listen to this special episode of the Scoutmaster Podcast you may download it at scoutmastercg.com.

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    First of all, let us get something straight. When I say camping I mean staying overnight in a tent or sleeping under the stars. I do not consider staying in a cabin, lodge, or barracks as camping. Camping is sleeping outside, not in a building. Now that we have that understanding…

    I have not camped out even one night during 2012, and it looks as if this year will be my first year without a camping trip since 1979. I began camping with the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 when I became an assistant scoutmaster in 1980. There were a lot of camping trips during the next 32 years, both long term and short term outings.

    This is not to say that I did not attend any troop activities this year. I did attend a weekend outing at Camp Stearns in  March, but we stayed in a lodge. I did spend most of a day at Camp Watchamagumee in May but I did not spend the night. I did visit the troop for a day at Many Point Scout Camp in July but left when it was time for the evening campfire program. I was going to spend the weekend with the boys for a June camping trip at Kings Lake but it was cancelled due to a lack of participants. The August canoe trip was attended by several parents so there was no need for me to tag along. I was going on a weekend camping trip with some former troop members in May, but it rained that weekend and everyone backed out.

    It seems strange not to use my camping gear. Usually, I would have to pack up for at least five or six outing each year. My rain gear remains dry. My cot remains folded and my mat remains rolled. My eating utensils remain clean. It is kind of weird, but it was my own choice. I wanted the Scouts, parents, and new adult leadership to understand that I really have stepped down as the scoutmaster and that they should not be relying on me to attend the troop’s outings as they have in the past.

    Will I get back into camping with the troop during 2013? I am not sure yet. We will have to see how things turn out, but yes, I would enjoy camping with the Scouts again in the great Minnesota outdoors. I think everyone now understands that we have a new scoutmaster but that I am there if I am needed. Besides, I enjoy camping and I think I still have a skill set to offer the troop.

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      The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 chose geocaching as the theme for last August. A merit badge counselor came to one of the troop meetings and the monthly outing was based on that topic. The Boy Scouts had fun and seemed to enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

      After the activity, the scoutmaster and his son stopped by my house to discuss how things went. It did not take long before we were on the geocaching.com website to learn how to create and record our own geocache site.

      Over the last three months I have received five emails from geocaching.com informing me that people have been discovering our site and leaving comments. I am happy to report that all of the comments have been positive, even though one person was harassed by an injured goose While trying to find it.

      I have not been back to our cache site since we set it up, so on Sunday I went for a walk and checked it out. I was pleased to see that most of the treasure hunters had signed our sheet. troop number patch was still in the 35mm case so I guess Boy Scouts from another troop have not yet discovered it.

      Has your troop set up any geocaching sites?

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        The Pinewood Derby is a highlight of nearly every Cub Scout’s program year. The Cub Scouts love to race their homemade car down the derby track, and hopefully, their car will be the one to cross the finish line first to advance to the next level of the races. Even the siblings and parents, especially the fathers, really get into the races. It ends up being a great evening activity.

        I attended the Cub Scout Pack 68 derby in March 2012. I took video during the races (which still has to be edited) and pictures before and after the races, including the presentation of the awards. This video entry to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast features these pictures in a slideshow style format. There are a lot of smiling faces to be seen, along with a picture of each Scout and his car.

        Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
        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 http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
        Don’t forget to leave a comment here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

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          Fifteen years ago I collected pieces of the Department 56 Dickens Village Collection, the Christmas Carol pieces in particular. For a few years I enjoyed setting up my buildings around Christmas time, and I believe people enjoyed it when they paid a visit to my home. It was a lot of work setting it up because I hard a fair number of building, trees, people, and other pieces. It also took up a fair portion of my living room. After a few years I quit setting it up and no longer added pieces to the collection. It now sits in a cabinet in the basement.

          I noticed that this year the Boy Scouts of America store at scoutstuff.org has begun their own Scouting Village collection. This first year (?) begins with three pieces for Scouts and Scouters to own: the lighted Chapel House, the lighted Trading Post, and the lighted Camp Ranger Cabin. (Click on the links to go to the scoutstuff.org page.)

          I like the Trading Post and the Ranger Cabin, but I have never been at a Scout camp that has a small enclosed church. Even here in Minnesota the Scout camp chapels are usually outing settings, like a campfire ring, or a building open on at least three sides to keep the outdoors feel to the service. In other words, your rain jacket may be required at your religious services. But maybe I am looking this the incorrectly. The website states, “A yard sign beside the steps proudly boasts the message “Scouts Meet Here.” so maybe this is meant to be a troop meeting place.

          I wonder how long the Scout Shop plans to continue with this series, and how many pieces it plans to release each year. Are the pieces to be sold for one only year, with new pieces introduced each year? Will there be “people” pieces? Trees and shrubbery? Tents, beach fronts, and climbing towers? The buildings have snow on them so I would guess there will not be any beach front pieces.

          I cannot help but think that this series is about ten years too late. Are the various village collections even popular anymore? Am I just out of the loop? Oh well, at least the Scouting Village pieces are reasonably priced at only $12.99 each. I think they could make for fun Christmas presents. What do you think about them?

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            The year was 1986. It was a good year for the Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 program. There was a large membership for Troop 68, and good turnout for the monthly activities and courts of honor. Winter camp, a primitive campout, the Ripley Rendezvous, a Scout-O-Rama, and a local camporee were just some of the events. It was the first year we sent a crew to Philmont Scout Ranch. I recently finished a video featuring pictures from the year which I hope to share with the troop alumni. I thought you might enjoy traveling back in time also and see what the troop program looked like in 1986.

            Were you a Boy Scout in 1986?

            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 http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
            Don’t forget to leave feedback here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

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