Archive for January, 2013


As active members of the Boy Scouts of America we all do our best do follow the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. I recently received an email from a friend in Europe that listed some other excellent suggestions to live by. See what you think of these…

1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
2. Marry a someone you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.
4. When you say, ‘I love you,’ mean it.
5. When you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
9.  Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
11. Don’t judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
13. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer,  smile and ask, ‘Why do you want to know?’
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great  risk.
15. Say ‘bless you’ when you hear someone sneeze.
16. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
17. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
18. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
19. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
21. Spend some time alone.

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    It has been one year since I retired as the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. It has been an interesting, but sometimes confusing year. After thirty years of serving as a scoutmaster I am trying to figure out what my role should be and where I now fit in with the troop.

    I knew one of those new roles would be as advisor to the new scoutmaster. When the new scoutmaster stepped down after five months (he was also serving as the pack cubmaster) I found myself to be an adviser to the NEW new scoutmaster, Jim. Jim has taken to his role well and is not afraid to ask questions. He has taken all the online training and has been attending the monthly district roundtables. He has continued many of the things I brought to the troop but he is also adding a few of his own touches, which is to be expected.

    When I visit a troop meeting, I have to watch myself. I find that I sometimes will step back into the role of scoutmaster when I see some help may be needed. When I catch myself I take a step back. I am getting better. The Scouts still seem to enjoy that I come to some of the troop meetings.

    Patrol Leader Council meetings are still held at my home. It is a center point for the out of town families. The scoutmaster likes it because I am there to offer suggestions when needed. It has also offered a continuity to the meetings through the last year of adult leader changes.

    I will admit that it has been strange not attending the monthly troop activities. I like that I may now pick and choose which outings I will attend instead of being expected to attend everyone of them. It was weird not attending a long term camp with the troop in 2012. After all, I have spent every summer vacation for the last 30 years with Boy Scouts, either at summer camp, Philmont Scout Ranch, a Jamboree, or some other high adventure outing.

    I currently serve as the troop treasurer on the committee. After a year I have decided that although I guess I am doing a good job, I really do not enjoy doing it as much I as thought I might. I miss working with the Scouts. It may be time to look at changing to something new. I wonder if the troop could use an assistant scoutmaster?

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      It has been interesting how many people in the area think that I have retired from the Scouting program when they hear that I have stepped down as the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. I explain to them that I am still active with the troop, that I serve on the committee as the treasurer, and that I am still assisting the new scoutmaster through the transition.

      I am not ready to leave the Scout program completely. It has been a part of me for nearly 3/4 of my life. I was a Boy Scout in my youth. I was an assistant scoutmaster before being appointed the scoutmaster. The Scout Oath and Law have literally become the guidelines in my life, along with the ten commandments.

      Oh, I am sure that someday I may step away from the program, but it will be a slow transition. We have a Boy Scout who is going to Philmont this summer and I want to be there to help as he prepares for his adventure. Some Scouts want to earn merit badges for which I serve as a counselor. A few of the boys have a good chance of becoming Eagles Scouts and I want to be around to see that happen and celebrate their accomplishment with them. Plus, there are still troop activities I plan to attend. I am even thinking about going back to spend a week with the troop at Many Point Scout Camp this summer. (I did not attend last year and I missed it.)

      No, I am not ready to retire from Scouting just yet,  but I am ready to try some new things outside of Scouting with the extra time I have. Any suggestions?

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        Cub Scout Pack 68 of Melrose will have a new Pinewood Derby track this year when the big day arrives. To tell the truth, it is long past time for a new track. The pack has been using the same one for the last 30 years. It is made of steel and is very heavy. It is also worn out. The pieces do not fit smoothly any longer. During the last two years some of the derby cars would jump their lanes when they hit the splices, even though the fathers did all they could to smooth the lanes with duct tape. Coats were used at the end of the track to cushion the cars as they came to a stop. Some races had to be rerun because the judges could not pick a winner during the close races. The pack does not have a track timer.

        Two local Lion Clubs have donated money to purchase a new track. The cubmaster has been doing some homework to determine which track might best serve the pack’s needs. Pack 68 is a small pack with only 16 Cub Scouts. Chances are the new track will have two lanes, just like the old one does. He is also checking out timers so we know who wins those close races. I joked with him that he should sell the old track for scrap steel to raise the money for the timer.

        The Cub Scouts and families are looking forward to this year’s races on a new Pinewood Derby track. It will be sleek. It will be smooth. It will be faster. And it will be super cool! It looks like it will be a great racing season in 2013 and beyond.

        UPDATE! The cubmaster has made his choice and ordered the track. It will be a two lane Besttrack, from besttrack.com along with a two lane timer. he also said there is software available that allows us to organize the entire event and that the timer plugs into the computer to track everything. He might buy the software and donate it to the pack. I am starting to looking to attending this year’s derby.

        Have any of you used a Besttrack track and timer? How do you like it?

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