img_1088Seven Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 had a blast at Philmont Scout Ranch this summer. The local newspaper was notified of the trip and decided that an article was in order. At last night’s troop meeting we received a visit from Herman, the newspaper reporter. He sat down with four of the seven Scouts for about 25-30 minutes. He had quite a few questions to ask, and the Scouts did a pretty good job of answering. It was fun to watch them as memories came back to them during the discussion.

I did not attend the trip to Philmont so I decided to stand behind the table as the interview was being conducted. I have not had the time to sit down with the Scouts myself to talk to them about the adventure so I was anxious to hear what they had to say. I helped Herman by asking a few questions of my own that he might have asked if he had been to Philmont. I was also able to give a few details about the camp itself for which the Scouts did not have answers to give.

When Herman left the meeting it just made me think that I may have to host a Philmont evening to hear their stories about the trip, and see the pictures that were taken. I might even have to make a few pizzas and have some sodas available.

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    rockwellwallMany Boy Scout councils use incentives during their Friends Of Scouting campaigns. During the last several years, our council has used special council strip patches to entice donors to give a little more. Each year’s patch features a different point of the Scout Law. Of course, since I collect patches, I am one of those people who end up giving enough to get the patch. Or two.

    Before there were patches, our council used a different Norman Rockwell Scouting themed print each year as an incentive for the upper tiers of giving. These framed 11″ x 17″ prints were fairly popular. At least they were with me. I own all 15 prints. (I own doubles of a few of them after a family that used to be involved with Scouting decided to clean house and offered their collection to me.) Actually, 14 prints were of Norman Rockwell artwork. The one for 2010 used a painting by Joseph Csatari created for the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

    All fifteen prints are found in my home office. The doubles I have on the wall of my office at work. Did I use these in Scouting displays as I did with the print sets I wrote about in the previous articles? Yes, I did, but not very often. After all, these are framed and contain glass, so I had to be more careful of were they would be used.

    The photo shows the prints on the wall. They are hung in the order as I received them, from left to right, top to bottom. At least I am pretty sure that is the order. There have been a couple times they have all been off the wall so I may have a couple mixed up. If you don’t tell anyone, I won’t either.

    Has your council ever used framed prints as incentives in its F.O.S. drives? How many have you collected? Leave a comment below.

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      jc_6088The Norman Rockwell reprint set I wrote about in the last post is not the only Scouting print set I own. I also have The New Spirit Of Scouting set featuring ten paintings of Joseph Csatari. These prints are also 11″ x 17″ and are great to have as part of my collection. Once again, I did use them in some displays, but since they are newer I did not use them as often. They are in much better shape than the Rockwell print set I have.

      I love the Joseph Csatari paintings nearly as much as Norman Rockwell. He is a fantastic artist. You can easily see that Joseph was paying attention as he learned from the master. While the Rockwell prints captured the early days of Scouting, Csatari’s paintings capture more of today’s spirit. During his 60-year association with the BSA, he created more than 150 Scout-themed paintings and drawings. Did you know that his permanent Boy Scout collection of paintings is housed alongside Norman Rockwell’s at the National Scouting Museum? That is one more reason that I need to make a trip to the museum someday.

      I wish the national Scout Shop would sell the Rockwell and Csatari print sets again. I bet there are a lot of current friends of Scouting and Scouters that would buy a set for themselves or as gifts. I would probably buy all three sets myself just so I could have an unused set of each in my collection.

      Which one of the ten is your favorite? Do you or someone you know own this set? Leave a comment below.

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        nr_6086A long time ago, in a galaxy… Oh wait, Let me start again. Way back in the 1980’s, which is prehistory to today’s Scouts, a young scoutmaster began collecting Scouting memorabilia. That collection continues to grow to this day, although not as fast as it once did. Tonight, as I was looking through a closet downstairs, I came across a few items that I bet most of today’s Scouters did not even know existed for sale at one time. One of those items is a set of Norman Rockwell reprints.

        The set is called “Scouting Through The Eyes Of Norman Rockwell”. It contains ten 11″ x 17″ reprints of various paintings by Norman Rockwell, which I believed were used for the annual Boy Scouts of America calendar. The ten prints feature some of the most iconic paintings of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts done by Mr. Rockwell. (See the picture below for the names of the prints in the set.)

        I bought the set as soon as I saw it in the local Scout Shop back then. These prints did not just stay in the package. I used them, and used them well. They were used for courts of honor. They were used in displays set up around town. If I thought they fit into something I was doing I was not afraid to get them out and put them to use. The many tape marks are proof of that.

        I have not used them in any displays for over ten years or more. They are now keepsakes in my Scouting collection. In fact, I kind of wish I never used them in displays. The tape marks and slight crinkles do mare the looks a bit. But I did, and that is the way they are. Maybe the prints mean even more to me since I did use them. I know people enjoyed looking at them.

        The set is labeled as Series II. Unfortunately, I did not pick up a set of Series I when it was available. To tell the truth, I do not even remember seeing Series I for sale. I did a quick search on eBay and did find a Series II set for sale at a Buy It Now price of $45.00. I don’t think I am quite ready to buy another set at that price, even though it does appear to be in much better shape then mine. Although at $20.00 I would maybe think about it.

        Do any of you have this Norman Rockwell print set? Have you put it to use like I did, or did you keep your set in pristine condition? Add a comment below.

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          Eagle MedalAs a scoutmaster I did not plan any Eagle courts of honor. After all, that was not my job. The Eagle Scout plans his court of honor with the help of his parents. I did give advice and help a bit when asked, but I usually stayed away from the planning. That is not to say I was not involved in the court of honor. As a scoutmaster I often spoke about the Scout during the ceremony, and many times I was the presenter of the award. Since stepping down from the scoutmaster position I have served as the master of ceremony for one court of honor.

          Monday night was the first time I found myself involved with the planning of an Eagle ceremony. The new Eagle Scout sat down with me, the assistant scoutmaster, and another Eagle Scout of Troop 68, and threw around various ideas as he decided on what he liked and did not like. Text messaging came in handy as he contacted a few people to see if they could participate in the ceremony. By the end of the meeting we had the agenda pretty well planned, and he seemed happy with the way it looked.

          So why did I become involved in the planning this time around? Because the Scout has a short amount of time to get things organized. He is currently in college, working most nights, and to put it simply, is quite busy. His court of honor is going to be held this Sunday so yes, he needed some assistance getting things planned. I have agreed to be the master of ceremonies and his scoutmaster will be the presenter of the Eagle award. He does have a few people lined up to say a few words.

          I have seen some fairly elaborate courts of honors over the last 36 years, and I have seen some simple ceremonies. This one will not be an elaborate one, and that is okay. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the court of honor is planned by the Eagle Scout to be the way he wants it to be. That is what matters. Too tell the truth, that is all that really matters. It is his moment and no one else’s. I think Sunday’s Eagle Scout court of honor will be a nice ceremony, and I am looking forward to being a part of it.

           

           

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            posterTonight kicked off the ticket sales for Boy Scout Troop 68’s fall fundraiser. The spaghetti supper will be held at the Melrose American Legion on Saturday, October 29th. Serving will be from 5:00 to 8:00 in the evening.

            The troop usually does pretty well on its meals fundraisers. In the spring we held a pancake and sausage breakfast that did very well. The spaghetti supper will be done in the same manner. The Scouts will have three and a half weeks to go out and sell tickets. Adult tickets will cost $7.00 in advance, and will be 50 cents more at the door. Children’s tickets are $5.00 each, also 50 cents more at the door. Children age 4 and under eat for free. Presales are the key to having a great fundraiser so we encourage the Scouts to do they best the can.

            The parents will be in charge of the food preparation the day of the meal. The Boy Scouts will set and clean tables and wash some of the dishes. We do require at least one parent or guardian from each family help out the day of the meal. We often have other family members helping out also.

            The meals do require everyone to work hard that evening (or morning) but the results at the end of the day make it all worthwhile. Not only does the troop earn money for the costs of the program, but the Scouts also earn credit that they can apply to camp. It is a win-win all around.

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              cublogoAs the annual School Night To Join Scouting approached I told the current Cub Scouts that we should try to double the size of our pack, which is currently at 17 members. I explained that they are our best recruiters and that they should talk to their friends and bring them to the event. The boys were excited and thought we could do that. In fact, one Webelos Scout said that we could triple our size. I told them to go for it. Meanwhile, our new district executive was doing his part by talking to boys in the local elementary schools and passing out flyers.

              Unfortunately, within our community we really did not do much more to promote School Night other than having a table set up at the school open houses, and placing a couple signs around town. Looking back on things, we should have had something in the local newspaper and contacted the banks and credit union to post the event on their exterior marquees. It is too late to try to promote it any more. The meeting was last night, Thursday, September 22.

              I arrived at the school about twenty minutes early. We were supposed to have our meeting in the high school cafeteria. As we walked in we noticed the cafeteria was already being used. A sports team was having a meal/meeting. This was not going to work for us. Matt, one of our committee members, quickly found a custodian and asked if we could used the high school library. They said yes, so we moved into a new room and posted people by the school entrance to let them know about the room change. Not off to a good start for the evening.

              Several committee members members, parents, and Cub Scouts were on hand to set things up. Future Cub Scouts and their parents began arriving 15 minutes early. And kept arriving. They were still coming in at 7:00, the start time of the meeting. And they keep coming. Soon, the tables were filled and there was standing room only. The committee members and I were shocked. We never expected a crowd like this. I had been hoping that we could maybe get 12 more boys to join Scouting. As I looked around the room I counted over 30 boys and their parents waiting to hear about the Cub Scout program.

              I began the meeting a few minutes late as people got settled and moved things along quite rapidly. The pack leadership introduced themselves and then I hit the main points: meeting times, parent commitments, uniforms, awards, and so forth. Committee members jumped in when they had something to add, and our popcorn chairpersons talked quickly about the annual fundraiser. We did not waste much time, which I think made the parents happy.

              As the meeting came to a close we had 25 new Cub Scout registrations. We went from a pack of 17 members to a pack with 42 members. We exceeded our goal! And it sounds like there may be a few more registration forms coming in at next week’s pack meeting.

              I drove down to St. Cloud that evening to turn in the applications. As I sat in the Scout Office waiting to give them to our district executive, I counted how many boys we would be adding to each den: 2 new Lion Cubs, 8 new Tiger Cubs, 9 new Wolf Scouts, 5 new Bear Scouts, and 1 new Webelos Scout. This is going to be an interesting first pack meeting on Tuesday.

              I think the pack committee is in shock, and maybe a bit concerned. Can we handle this many boys? Where will we get the funds for all the awards and activity costs? Will we find enough leadership as we move forward? What are we going to do with a pack this large?

              As cubmaster, I am not too worried. I think enough parents will step forward to fill the leadership roles needed. We already have a great committee. The new Scouts can still get in on the popcorn sales so I am hoping for a nice boost for the treasury from that. As for the program? We already had a schedule made out for the year. All we have to do is follow it with maybe a few adaptions needed. I think we will be alright. My main concern is to make sure we offer the boys the fun and excitement that Scouting has to offer. It may be a bit of a challenge though to try to keep 42 elementary aged boys attention long enough for a pack meeting. I will take that challenge.

              As we were getting ready to leave the library after the event, one of the committee members came up to me and commented that with all the new Cub Scouts, the pack may need me to stick around for another year. You see, I have stated that this is to be my third and final program year as the cubmaster. I plan to hand over the pack to a new cubmaster next summer. For some reason I have a feeling the committee is going to try to change my mind as  go through the 2016-2017 program year.

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                2001 National Jamboree Pictures by Randy and Mike Arko

                2001 National Jamboree Gateway

                In 2001, I served as the scoutmaster for Troop 1417 of the Central Minnesota Council for the National Jamboree, which was held at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. I had a great time. I also had great assistant scoutmasters, great junior leadership, and great Scouts. I was quite proud to be the Troop 1417 scoutmaster.

                One of the fun things about a Jamboree was walking around to look at all the gateways troops made as entryways to their campsites. There were some fairly simply ones, and some very elaborate ones. Troop 1417 shared a gateway with Troop 1418, also from Central Minnesota Council. Ours was more toward the elaborate end of the scale. As you can see from the picture, it featured Paul Bunyan, Babe the blue ox, our Jamboree shoulder patches, and our troop flags. The Scouts came up with the design and worked hard building and painting it. I thought it turned out quite well.

                One of my favorite parts of the gateway was the center portion, between the entrances, where the Boy Scouts signed their names. Each troop has its side, and the Scouts signed it by patrol. Patrol names were located in white areas which portrayed clouds in the artwork. Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 had two members in each of the Jamboree patrols of 1417, and another Scout who served as the troop scribe. The pictures are a nice remembrance of who was in each patrol.

                Unfortunately, we did not have room to take the whole gateway home with us when the Jamboree came to an end. Most of it was tossed onto the sub camp garage pile. A few smaller pieces did get taken home by a few troop members. All the little triangular pine trees found a home. One of them came home with me. I would have lover to take the painted panels home with me, but there was not room on the bus. I really wish I would have grabbed the panels with the Scout’s names. That would have been a great keepsake.

                Has your troop begun making plans for the 2017 National Jamboree? Have your gateways been designed yet?

                2001 National Jamboree: Roll 12 - 02

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