Archive for December, 2013


myscoutingDo your Youth Protection Training online, they tell us. Take your position specific training through the website, the council promotes. You should be doing your troop advancement through the internet, not through paperwork, I am told.

How the hell am I suppose to do anything online through MyScouting.org when the website does not even recognize me?

I have been a registered adult leader with the B.S.A. through Boy Scout Troop 68 for over 33 years. I am also on roundtable staff and a member of the Cub Pack committee. I once was able to use the myscouting.org website without a problem. Then something happened a year ago, right about this time. I was up for Youth Protection Training and tried to get on the website to take it once again. I could not get on it. I tried Safari and Firefox on my home computer ( I use a MacPro). I tried at work. No luck there either.

I call my district executive and explained the situation. I have to admit, he went out of his way to try to fix it. He even called the national office. It took over a month, and a phone call from someone at the website, but it got fixed and I was able to do the YPT online. I have to say though, I was very frustrated with the B.S.A. during that time period.

I have not been back to the myscouting.org site for several months. I had no need to visit it. I had a nice visit with my district executive this afternoon and we talked about internet advancement. Our troop does not currently use it. I told Bob that he should email the information to me and I would take a look at it.

Meanwhile, I tried to get into myscouting.org on my Windows based computer at work. I tried Internet Explorer and Firefox. I could not enter the site through either one. (The server could not sign you in. Make sure your user name and password are correct, and then try again.) Maybe I forgot my password, I thought. I tried to reset the password but the site threw a page at me with a lot of code which meant absolutely nothing to me. Okay, I will try again at home and see if I was using the right password.

After supper, I received the information from my D.E., including my username and password. Surprise! They was the same ones I had tried using at work. I tried it again on my home computer. I used Firefox and Safari. Neither one worked! We are back to playing that locked-out game once again.

Can you tell that I am frustrated once again? The national and council offices want us to do virtually everything online these days, yet they lock me out of my account so I can do nothing. It is like I do not exist. If this is how the national office wants to treat me after 33 years of volunteer service I feel like it is time to tell them to forget it. If they don’t want me as a volunteer anymore then just tell me. If I am so low on their radar that they cannot even keep my account active then maybe it is time to quit this organization and find one that does appreciate the work I do for it.

I have dropped an email to my D.E. to let him know what is going on again. I feel sorry for him, because I know what he went through last time this happened, but what can I do? I know no one at the national website, and from the looks of it, they do not know me.

Have any of you out there have any similar problems with this website?

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    Scouting Village 2013It is finished. I have set up my Scouting Village for the 2013 Christmas season. What do you think of it?

    The village fills a 2.5 foor by 3.5 foot sheet of plywood. It contains the 2012 and 2013 collection pieces. Except for the Trading Post, that is. But at least I have two Ranger Cabins. ( I am still a little upset with myself over that.) I also bought two lighted tents because a campsite is just not a troop campsite with only one tent. I set the church higher than the rest because it is a smaller scale. I thought it might help it look further away and more in proportion to the rest of the scene. The campsite is across the river from base camp because I do not think a troop would want to camp next to the busiest part of camp.

    The “snow” was picked up at a hobby store. The blue river is simply felt paper. The scene contains two sets of the trees from the Scouting Village collection. The rest of the trees came from my Dept. 56 Dickensville collection. I think the trees really add to the looks of the campsite. I also found a little wood pile which fits well with the Boy Scout cutting wood for the evening fire.

    Have you set up your Scouting Village yet? How does it look? Send a picture or two to me and I will feature it in a post to this blog.
    Click on the pictures to see the scene in more detail.

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    I wonder what pieces will be added to the village next year. I bet I will need a bigger sheet of plywood.

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      I screwed up. I took out all my Scouting Village pieces this afternoon to set them up for Christmas. I was kind of excited because not only was I able to get all of this year’s pieces but my local Scout Shop was able to find the piece I missed from last year, the lighted Ranger’s Cabin. I thought I would be able to set up the whole collection!

      I was wrong.

      I discovered that I now own two Ranger’s Cabins. I was not missing the cabin. I was missing last year’s Trading Post! Arrrrrggggg! I should have looked in the cabinet one more time before I had the Scout Shop find me the piece I thought I was missing. I am rather upset with myself. I thought I would be able to post a picture to this blog featuring both year’s collections.

      I took a quick look on eBay and did not like what I found. People are selling the $12.99 Trading Post for $75.00 as a starting bid. The cheapest bidding I found was for $40.00, but there are three days left in the auction so I know where that is going. One seller posted a Trading Post as a “buy it now” purchase of $129.00. Sorry, but I am not interested in paying that much for one piece. This are not Dept. 56 Village pieces, you know.

      Well, I guess my Scouting village will have two Ranger’s Cabins. I will have to pretend that one is used as a trading post.

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        vistaroundtableOne of the things we are doing a bit different this year at the monthly Scenic District Boy Scout roundtable meetings is to break up the meeting, near the half way point, with a game, song, or skit. The goal is to introduce a new game or teach a new song or skit to troop leaders that they may take back to use in their own troops. One month we played one pitch kickball. The next month we played Tip with a frisbee. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves so far.

        Last month I lead the group in one of my favorite campfire songs, Vista. It is a sing-along, repeat after me type of silly song that also has some simple hand gestures. The words are a little hard to follow, and the song gets faster each time. It is a challenge to keep up and do well.

        I was joined by three newly beaded Wood Badgers in leading this song at the roundtable. As you will see, we all had fun, even though one gentleman had a little trouble keeping up with us. Did anyone care? Not a bit. That is part of the fun of the song.

        I would like to thank Dan Kuntz for providing the video for this post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast.

        I challenge you to learn the song and use it at your next meeting or campfire. Is your audience able to keep up with you?

        Click here to DOWNLOAD  this Podcast.
        Subscribe to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast
        at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
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        Leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

        http://www.melrosetroop68.org/QTmov/VistaRoundtable540.m4v

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          Christmas at Philmont

          If you have been on a Philmont trek that included the northern and central portions of the ranch, then chances are good that you have hiked through Santa Claus Camp. The camp is located in Santa Claus Canyon, north of Bear Canyon and southeast of Head of Dean Camp.

          I have been through Santa Claus Camp a few times on my Philmont treks. Usually, it was an unstaffed camp, but in 1992 I was surprised to discover that it had become a staffed camp, complete with a volleyball court for the day and a telescope for the evening. The crew had a great time there.

          The 1992 staff invited campers to write a story about how Santa Claus Camp received its name. A few members of my crew took the challenge. Al, one of our crew advisers, wrote a great story about the history of the site. Since it is the Christmas season I would like to share it with you.

          There was a lot of snow that winter of 1853, too much for the horses and tired people moving through the mountains of northern New Mexico. They had left in a train of wagons on the Santa Fe Trail, but were down to one wagon for two families; and they were lost. The wagon master, who knew the way to Cimarron, had died of typhoid on the plains of eastern Colorado. Now, they were nearing exhaustion as they searched through the canyons for human life.

          It was December 24, and there were tears in the eyes of the parents as they kissed their children good night, for there was a chance that some of them would never wake up.


          The sky was clear, with uncountable millions of stars, but the beauty of the night was swallowed by the intense cold. The Borgerdings and the Hansons were typical pioneer families, and they were near to meeting the fate that so many others met on the Westward march.


          It took a few minutes before they realized that there was a stranger at the fire, before their cold-numbed senses could react. He was an old mountain man that the Utes called White Cheeks due to the soft white beard on his face. He had on snow shoes and a pack which was full of freshly butchered mountain lion.
          Asking no questions, he stepped up to the fire and cooked his lion steaks for everyone. After eating he led them up to his cabin and safety.

          Of course the children called him Santa Claus, and since he offered no other name, the parents joined in. The mountain man stayed with them through that long winter, teaching them the skills they needed to survive in the mountains.
          In the spring, he loaded his beaver pelts in his pack and headed for the Taos Rendezvous. The Borgerdings and Hansons followed the clearly given directions to Cimarron where they told the story of Santa Claus to its inhabitants.

          White Cheeks never got to Taos, nor was he ever again seen alive. The people who come to his canyon on Christmas Eve know that there is an old white faced mountain man sitting over a fire, and even though no lion has lived here for many years, there are always plenty of lion steaks for everyone. If you ask him, he’ll tell you about the winter of 1853, and the families that called him Santa Claus.

          Do you have any Christmas stories about your Scouts? Share them with us and leave a comment.

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            patchblanket2layoutI recently completed my first Scouting patch blanket. I have received several positive comments about it already. One Scouter even wrote to say he may start his own after seeing the pictures of mine. I say, go for it. It is a great way to display the patches collected through the years. Much better than a notebook anyway. Unfortunately, my first blanket only displays patches collected to 1996. I have a lot more patches so it is time to think about creating a second blanket.

            Today I began laying out the patches for that second blanket. The 4 foot by 4 foot piece of paneling I used to staple the patches to only went up to 2004, so I had to start looking around the house for last nine years worth of patches. You see, I did not have one nice place that I would put them after each outing. This could be interesting.

            I began looking in the closet cabinet in my basement family room. I keep a lot of Scouting stuff in there. I did find quite a few in the various small totes but I knew there was more of them. I checked my briefcase, the bedroom, the office, and the kitchen. (I did actually find a couple in the kitchen.) I soon had enough patches to make a couple more rows.

            I found a few Many Point Scout Camp patches but they did not have years shown on the design. Time to do a online search on the Many Point virtual patch collection. I discovered the years of all the patches on the site except for one. For some reason the site only shows patches to 2010. I hope that one patch is for 2012 because that is were I plan to place it.

            No one will be playing table tennis at my house for awhile. As you can see in the picture, the second blanket is laying on half the table. The patches are laid out on the other half. Last time it took me nearly a year to create a patch blanket. The goal this time is to finish the new blanket by Christmas. This year. Or at least by the end of 2013.

            I do have a question for those of you who have created your own patch blankets. Have you put your Scouting knots on your blanket?

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