Archive for August, 2013


Scouts and SmokeySix Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68, along with two adult Scout leaders, joined 170,000 other people on Saturday, August 24, at the great Minnesota Get Together, otherwise known as the State Fair. Despite the hot temperatures and the high humidity, the Scouts had a great time exploring the buildings, eating food on a stick, and experiencing the rides at the midway. The Scouts also made a quick stop at the Northern Star Council’s Adventure spot, only to discover it was more designed for Cub Scouts than Boy Scouts. A short stop at Cabelas in Rogers was an extra bonus attraction.

 

 

IMG_4496The Boy Scouts join other people in viewing the pond stocked with dozens of native fishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scout BoothThe Northern Star Council “Adventure Summit” was very popular with the Cub Scout age children. Our Boy Scouts were a little disappointed it was not meant for them.

Does your troop visit your state fair?

 

 
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    lasteaglescoutOne of Boy Scout Troop 68′s Eagle Scouts stopped by Sunday afternoon to watch a new movie I had recently received in the mail. Both of us had been waiting for “The Last Eagle Scout” to be released since we had read about it on Facebook a couple years ago. Here is the synopsis from the movie’s website:

    In the not-so-distant future, society has allowed political correctness to go beyond the point of the absurd. For years the Boy Scouts have been under the government microscope and finally have been mandated to close their doors for good. Boy Scout, Cliff Elliot, stirs the pot as he tries to cling to the last shreds of patriotism and earn his Eagle Scout Award. In this ‘dramedy’, watch as Cliff jumps through ridiculous hoops, avoids the bumbling antics of government cronies, and tries to escape murderous plots against him, as he sets out to accomplish what he sees as the ultimate honor—becoming the Last Eagle Scout.

    As we sat down with our pizza, popcorn, and soda Dakota and I understood that this was an independent made film, not a major studio financed super blockbuster. We had both seen the trailer which looked interesting and promising. We hoped that it would be a decent and fun film.

    By the time the end credits rolled across the scene Dakota and I both agreed that we enjoyed the movie. The plot may have been simple but the film moved along at a nice pace and kept our interest. A few of the special effects may not have had the polish of a high budget Hollywood film but the acting was good and the action sequences were fun.

    The movie is described as a dramedy in the description above, but I felt it played a bit more toward the drama side. There were a couple scenes that gave me a good chuckle though. Cliff, the hopeful Eagle Scout, decides to go against a government ban of flying the US flag on public property and in teenage fashion may not have though about the repercussions before doing the deed. The slow moving chase scene was another part I found humorous. I also enjoyed the homemade “iWatch” used by the Scouts in the movie.

    One thing Dakota did not like was that for a lot of the movie Cliff was not wearing his uniform properly. It did not bother me because Cliff was on the run for nearly half the film. Keeping your shirt tucked in would be a low priority when you are running from government stooges.

    Dakota and I both felt the “political correctness run amok” theme was a bit frightening. To tell the truth, we felt the tone set at the beginning of the film may not be that far in our future if this country continues on its current course. Can you imagine a United States of America government that decides to shut down the Boy Scouts of America?

    Like I stated earlier, Dakota and I both enjoyed The Last Eagle Scout and give it a thumbs up. I consider it a solid addition to my Scouting-themed movie collection. Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it?

    The trailer for the movie can be scene at:
    http://lasteaglescout.com/ .

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      The Boy Scouts planned it. The committee approved it. And now it is time to implement it. The 2013-2014 program for Troop 68 is ready to go! Here is a look at it.

      September 2013: Water Safety
      2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
      2 – Dad’s Belgian Waffle Breakfast Sales Kickoff
      13-15 – Big Birch State Forest Outing
      23 – Court Of Honor
      24- PLC Meeting

      October 2013: Flag Etiquette
      7, 14, 21 – Troop Meetings
      5 – Scouting For Food Pickup/ Road Cleanup
      6 – Waffle Breakfast
      21 – Popcorn Sales Due In
      26-27 – Disc Golf Tri-O + 1 night campout
      28 – PLC Meeting

      November 2013: First Aid & Fire Safety
      4, 11, 18 – Troop Meetings
      23 –Overnight
      25 – PLC Meeting

      December 2013: Advancements
      2, 9 – Troop Meetings
      14 – Snow Tubing/Christmas Party
      16 – Court Of Honor

      January 2014: Firem’n & Totin’ Chit
      6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
      25 – Water Park Brainerd
      27 – PLC Meeting

      February 2014: Winter Survival
      3, 10, 17 – Troop Meetings
      21-23 – Camp Stearns
      24 – PLC Meeting

      March 2014: Advancements
      3, 10, 17 – Troop Meetings
      24 – Court Of Honor
      29 – LPMRB
      31 – PLC Meeting

      April 2014: Personal Safety
      7, 14, 21 – Troop Meetings
      12 – Road Cleanup
      25-27 – Ripley Rondezvous
      28 – PLC Meeting

      May 2014: Camp Cooking Safety
      5, 12,19 – Troop Meetings
      19- Summer Camp Meeting (Parents & Scouts)
      23-25- Camp Watchamagumee
      26 – PLC Meeting

      June 2014: Range & Ax Safety, Advancements
      2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
      17 – Committee Meeting
      23 – Court Of Honor
      28 – Hellerman’s Camp
      30 – PLC Meeting

      July 2014: Summer Camp
      13-19 – Summer camp

      August 2014:  Scout Attitude
      4, 11, 18- Troop Meetings
      9 – Yearly Planning Session
      23 – Valleyfair fieldtrip
      25 – PLC Meeting

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        2001 National Jamboree Flag, Troop 1417I was the scoutmaster for one of two troops the Central Minnesota Council sent to the 2001 National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. I had three wonderful assistant scoutmasters, a fantastic group of youth leaders, and a great group of Boy Scouts in Troop 1417. At the reunion gathering held a month after the Jamboree I told the parents that I never want to be a scoutmaster for another Jamboree troop again, because this troop set the bar so high and behaved so well that I felt I would never again get another batch of Scouts like this. Troop 1417 was nearly a perfect Boy Scout troop.

        Scoutmaster Mike of Jamboree Troop 1418 and I received quite a surprise during that reunion gathering. The chairperson of the Jamboree committee came forward to speak to the Boy Scouts and their parents about the Jamboree experience, and to present Mike and I with a couple tokens of appreciation. The first was a nice looking plaque which now hangs on my wall with other Scouting honors. The other was the troop’s flag used for the Jamboree.

        Mike and I both glanced at each other when we were presented with the flags. I do not know if he expected it, but I did not. My first thought was “What am I going to do with this? It is huge!”  I thought it would be better to display it at the council office, or in the ceiling rafters of the Scout Shop. I have no place to hang something like this.

        Twelve years have now passed since that reunion. To tell the truth, even though the flag is nicely folded in the tote that stores my Jamboree stuff, it is now probably my most prized part of the collection. After all, it is a one of a kind item. There is only one flag for Troop 1417 from the 2001 National Jamboree.

        But you know what really adds value to this flag, at least in my eyes? Nearly every member of Troop 1417 signed their name along the white border on the right edge of the flag. I only have two items in my collection that are signed by the Scouts and troop leadership, the troop tee shirt (mentioned in a previous article) and the troop’s flag. They are very special.

        My question is this. Is it a tradition in your council for Jamboree troop members to sign the troop flag and present it to the scoutmasters of the troop?

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          2013 Jamboree PatchesYes, the 2013 National Jamboree may now be nothing but a memory, but I just received my set of patches from the Central Minnesota Council’s Jamboree troop. Now I am ready to attend! Well, if I would have gone that is. I almost did not receive a set of this year’s patches but Scoutmaster Mike of our Jamboree troop remembered me and saved me two sets. I now have council patches from the 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2013 National Jamborees.

          I have to admit that I do like this year’s patches. The council shoulder patch is quite colorful and features two Boy Scouts canoeing on one of the 10,000 Minnesota lakes. Or it could be one of our many rivers. Or could it be one of the lakes at the Summit? It is hard to tell from the patch. From the deep blue waters, to the bright red canoe, to the green pine trees in the background, and the white smiles on the Scout’s faces, the colors and details really bring out a well designed patch for this year’s event. Although it’s trade value was maybe not as high as the Star Wars or Marvel patches I would still bet it was a well traded patch.

          The Naguonabe Lodge put together a fantastic Order of the Arrow two patch set for the Jamboree. Once again it has keep the theme of featuring Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox, as they have for a few Jamborees and National Order of the Arrow Conclaves (NOAC). The two part patch features Paul and Babe parachuting into the Summit, the location of this year’s National Jamboree. The pocket flap patch features the bright red and white parachutes with the feather totem of our lodge. The pocket patch features the two central characters in their harnesses about to land on a… lake?  Paul even wears a Brotherhood Order of the Arrow sash. (I wonder how many yards of material it took to make a sash for him, and where he slept for his ordeal conclave.)

          So now I am curious. How many of you who attended this year’s Jamboree took home these patches as part of your collection? What do you think about them? Let us know by writing a comment, and don’t forget to tell us your troop number and what part of the country you claim as yours.

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            2001 Jamboree Tee ShirtWhen Troops 1417 and 1418 from the Central Minnesota Council attended the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in 2001 we traveled to Virginia and back by chartered bus. Each troop had it own bus, but the busses stayed together. As the scoutmaster of Troop 1417 I enjoyed the three day journey to Virginia because it gave the troop’s members a chance to get to know each other a little better before we arrived at Fort A.P. Hill for the big event.

            On the way back home, after the Jambo was over, the air conditioner on our bus broke down. Even with the windows and the roof vents open it did not take long for the temperature to rise in the vehicle. It also did not take long for the Boy Scouts to remove their Jamboree tee shirts as they tried to remain cool. Luckily, the air conditioning was restored for the day day of traveling.

            Those Jamboree tee shirts became more meaningful during our last night on the road as we returned home. Someone, I do not remember who, came up with the idea to sign each others shirts, like students do with their yearbooks. The cleaner one of each person’s two tee shirts were laid out over a few tables at the place we were staying. Boy Scouts and the adult leaders moved from shirt to shirt singing their names with a permanent marker. Nearly everyone participated.

            I thought it was an excellent idea. That signed shirt had now become a more interesting souvenir of the Jamboree, and a signed one to boot. My shirt immediately became a permanent part of my Jamboree collection once I arrived home. After it was washed, of course.

            It would be fun to contact some of those former Scouts to discover if they still have those signed shirts. Did they pack them in a tote with other Jamboree memorabilia, or did they wear them until they became so thin they had to be thrown out? Maybe those young men do not even know were their tee shirts are any longer. After all,that was twelve years ago. Many have been to college during that time and a lot of them are now married with families of their own.

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              brainstormingBoy Scout Troop 68 now has a program plan for the 2013-2014 year. I talked to the scoutmaster at last week’s troop meeting to ask how things went at the year planning conference. If you recall from the last blog article, I was a little concerned over an item or two, namely that he invited the entire troop membership to attend and that he also invited all the parents. Turns out that I did not need to be concerned.

              The parent invitation is the one that bothered me the most. If too many parents attended the meeting I was afraid it would become a parent planned program instead of a Boy Scout planned program. I need not have worried about it. Not a single parent, other than the scoutmaster and assistant parent, came to the session.

              Unfortunately, not many of the Scouts attended it either. Most of the patrol leader council either could not attend, or decided not to attend. Only three boys showed up. One was the senior patrol leader, who happens to be the scoutmaster’s son during this term, and another was a new Scout who just joined the troop and does not hold an office. Talk about getting involved right from the start. Although not many boys showed up for the session they went ahead and planned the yearly program.

              The scoutmaster told me he really did not want to reschedule the meeting since only a small group of Scouts attended. I had to agree with him. The boys and families had known about the session for over a month. If he would have rescheduled he would have had no guarantee that more Boy Scouts would have attended. And it would have pushed the scheduling process back another week or two or three which could have caused us to miss the presentation of the new schedule by the senior patrol leader at this month’s committee meeting. If it would have been rescheduled for later in the month it also could have got in the way of this month’s outing.

              I think they did the right thing. If any parents or Scouts want to object about the new program, well, all we have to is ask them where were they on Saturday, August 6th. After all, everyone was invited to come and give their two cents at that time.

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                brainstormingI became a scoutmaster in 1981. I went to district and council training and learned that the Boy Scouts should do the planning for their troop’s program.Boy Scout Troop 68 began holding a yearly planning conference during the first or second weekend of August. During the last thirty years it has been fun assisting the troop’s junior leaders develop their monthly themes and activities. Some activities became yearly traditions. Others did not go very well and were not repeated.

                This year’s planning session, held today, will have at least one thing different then sessions of the past 30 years. I will not be attending. I have to work Saturday morning and I have a wedding to attend in the afternoon. I am not the scoutmaster anymore so it is probably best that I do not attend, to just step back and let the new leaders lead.

                Jim, our current scoutmaster, will not be going into the planning session blind though. He and I were the adult leaders for last year’s session so he has a pretty good idea how to conduct one. Most of the Scouts who will be attending have also participated in a planning session, so things should run smoothly.

                Jim did make two changes to the planning session this year. The first should not make a difference. He invited all the Boy Scout members of the troop to attend. The reason I do not think it will matter is that we will be lucky if half the 11 current members attend. Hopefully, the junior leaders do attend because this session is part of their job as leaders of the troop.

                The second change he made does worry me a little. He invited parents to attend. Now, I realize that not all the parents will show up. They already have events scheduled, I am sure. My concern is that too many parents will attend and mess up the planning process. I am afraid the program could end up being planned by parents and not by the Scouts.

                Am I concerned for no real reason? Will the session run smoothly with the parents there? Will any of them even show up? I guess we will know soon.

                How does your troop conduct its yearly planning session? Drop a note and share your ideas with us.

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