Archive for March, 2018


When I became the assistant scoutmaster of a six month old Boy Scout troop in June 1980, I never in my wildest dreams think I would become a bit of a journalist. A month later I wrote my first Scouting-related article for the weekly local newspaper, with the help of one of the committee members. Little did I know I would continue doing this for nearly four decades.

Those early articles, known as The Scouts Review, were only a few paragraphs long, recounting what happened at the weekly troop meetings. We also did a longer article about the monthly outings, usually with a picture or two. The Melrose Beacon supported our efforts by printing anything we submitted to them. After several months we stopped writing about the weekly meetings and only wrote about the monthly outings, service projects, courts of honor, and other special events. Most of our Eagle Scouts and their projects were covered by the newspaper. Some of the summer camp or Philmont trek articles appeared in two parts spread over consecutive issues.

For some reason, even after I became the scoutmaster, the articles remained my project. No one offered to take over the duty, although once in a great while of of the committee members submitted an article about an event. During the 1980’s and 1990’s I was pretty good about getting something in the paper every month. By the time the 2000’s came around I was starting to grow tired of the responsibility. By the 2010’s I was not submitting articles on a regular basis, maybe once every two or three months.

The articles were a great way to keep the activities of the Boy Scout troop in the public eye. The Melrose Beacon was great in supporting both the troop and the Cub Scout Pack. I am sure many of the Scouts and their families clipped those articles for their scrapbooks. I tried to save every one of those articles. Sometimes other local papers printed pictures of the Scout events. I saved those clippings also.

I now have four three ring binders full of the last 37 years of Melrose Beacon Scout articles, along with some clippings from the Hometown News, the Sauk Centre Herald, and the St. Cloud Times. The fourth book is nearly full. It will soon be time to begin a fifth book.

These binders usually sit on a shelf in the closet of my office, but a couple of times a year they come out of the dark and are seen by the public as part of a Scouting display during our spring and fall meal fundraisers. I had to work on them today to get ready for the spring breakfast to be held on Sunday, April 8th. There was over two years worth of clippings to tape into those books but they are now complete and ready to be viewed. It sort of boggles the mind when I think of the Melrose Scouting history found in those four binders.

Does someone in your troop or pack write articles for your local newspaper? Does someone in your troop collect them, maybe the troop Historian? Where are they stored? How often do they get viewed?

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    Springtime is nearly here. That means it is nearly time for the Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 spring fundraiser, a pancake and sausage breakfast! This year’s breakfast will be held at the Melrose American Legion on Sunday, April 8th. Serving begins at 8:30 am and continues until 12:30. Adult tickets are $7.00 in advance, and $8.00 if bought at the door the morning of the meal. The Boy Scouts are currently selling tickets.

    The troop does fairly well with the spring fundraiser. The proceeds go toward the program costs such as advancements, training, and helping to keep down camping costs. A good fundraiser goes a long way to keeping the Scouting program affordable for families.

    Does your troop have fundraising meals? Let us know how your troop does by leaving a comment below.

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      I became an assistant scoutmaster at the young age of 19 in June 1980. Shortly thereafter, I began receiving Boy’s Life and Scouting magazines, the two official publications of the Boy Scouts of America. I enjoyed reading them, and they were a part of my training during those early years of being a scoutmaster of Melrose Troop 68.

      Instead of recycling those early magazines I held onto them. I thought they could come in handy as a reference. As the years went by and the pile grew larger I bought some magazine file boxes to store and organize them, still thinking I may look back at them some day. As the decades went by I continued to save the issues. The collection grew!

      It has now been over 37 years since those first issues arrived. For over 37 years I have been collecting and filing both magazines. I probably have about 450 issues of Boy’s Life (12 per year) and over 185 issues of Scouting magazine (5 per year). The collection, seen in the picture, covers more than ten feet of shelving.

      I have now reached the point at which I am wondering why I have kept all these magazines. I have only looked at a few back issues a couple of times. What should I do with them all? There are over 600 of them, with more coming every month. I doubt there are many people with as large of a collection as I have. I would hate to just throw them away. I know of no one who would want them. I doubt the local museum has a need for them. I am sure the local Scout office would want them for any reason.

      What do you think? Do you have a suggestion on what to do with this collection? Leave your comments and suggestions below. Thanks.

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        The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 like to play disc golf. They enjoy the game so much that they have added it as an activity to their yearly program for a few years. They also enjoy playing a round if a course is available at a camp they are staying at over a weekend.

        The troop was first introduced to the sport in 1981 while attending summer camp at Crow Wing Scout Reservation which was located near Nevis, Minnesota. There were not any baskets found on this nine hole course, just round wood posts with a small numbered sign located near the top of each. Instead of trying to throw the disc into a basket we needed to hit the post to complete a hole.

        Each spring the troop spends a weekend on some private land north of Melrose that the Scouts call Camp Watchamagumee. They will usually set up a course in the woods and use trees as the “holes”. Yellow cation tape is used to mark the trees and is removed as the boys complete the course.

        On Saturday, March 24th, the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 will be holding this year’s disc golf marathon. Instead of traveling to the St. Cloud metro area as they have done for the last few years, the Scouts have decided to visit a course they have not played for awhile, and try two newer courses in central Minnesota.

        The course in Albany, located about twelve miles from Melrose, is a nine basket course with 18 tee pads, so it can be played as an eighteen hole course. This course has been around for several years so a few of the Scouts have already played this course.

        The course in Long Prairie was installed a few years ago. It is a nine hole course the winds its way through a wooded park located on the south side of town. This will be the first time the troop will play on this course.

        The third course is a brand new one installed last year in the small town of Upsula. This nine hole course was an Eagle Scout project so it may have a special meaning to the Scouts as they play a round on it.

        The Scouts will be keeping their scores as the play in this year’s marathon. They will play eighteen holes in Albany, and nine holes at the other courses. The scores will be added at the end of the day to discover the best overall score of the day. The three Boy Scouts with the best scores will each win a set of three disc golf discs. Although the adults will be playing alongside of the Scouts they will not be eligible to win the disc sets, but they could still earn bragging rights.

        Do the Boy Scouts of your troop enjoy the sport of disc golf? How often does your troop play the game?

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          In October 2016 I wrote a post in which I stated that I was going to quit making photo albums about Boy Scout Troop activities. I currently have 38 albums covering over 35 years of Troop 68 history. It is quite the collection of books. Since I am not the scoutmaster any longer and do not attend most of the events any more I thought it might be time to stop creating albums. In the digital age, are photo albums even relevant?

          Well, I guess they still are. During one of last year’s meal fundraisers some of the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 noticed that there were not any current photos. The younger Scouts noticed they were not even included in the last album. You see, I usually bring some of the albums to the meal for people to look through as they wait in line or to look up pictures of activities of years gone by. Troop alumni seem to have fun looking through them.

          Last weekend I decided to finish out the last album which was only half way filled, and do one more new album. I looked through the thousands of photos I have taken in the last two years (yes, thousands) and picked out 468 pictures of 2016 and 2017 to have printed since Shutterfly had unlimited free prints this past week. It still cost over $40.00 in postage, but what the heck, it is for the kids.

          (Maybe I should ask the troop committee if they could help pay for some of that postage, huh?)

          I guess I have my work cut out for me this weekend. The photos arrived today. Now to sort them, insert them, and label them in the photo albums. The goal is to have them ready to view at the spring breakfast next month. Wish me luck!

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