The city of Melrose once had a cable access television station. It started up in 1986 and lasted for nearly twenty five years. It closed when the city decided to keep the cable franchise fees for the general fund instead of giving them to the station for operating funds.

I saw the potential of promoting our Boy Scout Troop on this television channel almost immediately, and decided to make good use of it. I would videotape our courts of honor to air on the station. I would take a VHS video camera with me on outings to create programs to inform people what the Boy Scouts have been doing. We even created some original programming using the Scouts as actors. I joined the station’s board of directors and created Scouting related programming for over twenty years.

One of the earliest Scouting related programs was an interview with five of the adult leaders of the Melrose Scouting program. It was titled The Leaders of Scouting. It was filmed in 1988. The guests included cubmasters, assistant scoutmasters, and committee members. I was a producer for the show and thought it turned out pretty good.

After Mel TV closed its doors the city donated all the programming to the Melrose Area Historical Museum. I am now a board member of that organization. The board’s chairman and I were talking one day and thought it would be a good idea to create a Youtube channel and post some of these old programs online for the community to watch once again. With the help of Shalon we have been digitizing some of the old VHS tapes and DVDs to post online.

Six programs have been posted online so far. I am happy to report that The Leaders Of Scouting was one of the videos uploaded to the channel. If you have 90 minutes some evening and are looking for something to watch I would like to suggest you watch this video. It is an interesting look at the Scouting program of Cub Scout Pack 68 and Boy Scout Troop 68 in the 1980’s.

The YouTube channel is called Mel TV3 Revived. The video can be found at https://youtu.be/cG7bjhYGqp4

Let us know what you think of the show. Do you think we should create a new show since we are now in the 2010s?

I wrote a post last week about the years that I had a video podcast, and that I was missing podcasting a little. A few of you commented that I should start a YouTube channel and post the videos to that instead of podcasting. I think that is a valid point, especially when you look at all the people watching YouTube these days on their mobile devices and televisions at home. I find myself watching more YouTube videos these days than I watch regular television.

The thing is, I do have a Youtube channel, and many of the videos I posted to the podcast have found their way to the channel over the years. Unfortunately, I have not posted to it lately and I have not mentioned it or promoted it very often during the last few years. There are over 100 videos featuring the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 performing songs and skits, promotional Scouting videos, and short films featuring Buttons, the radical Boy Scout (my puppet.)

I changed the name of the channel today to Melrose Scouting Productions, which is the logo found at the beginning of most of the videos. I thought it might be best to take my “nickname” off the channel title to make it fit the channel better. The channel can be found at

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClUOxM42AYjgLwGyoqgpx1w

The channel currently has 688 subscribers. There are over 1,700,00 total video views. Take a look at it when you get the chance and let me know what you think of it. I do plan to start posting new videos to the channel soon so don’t be afraid to hit the subscribe button.

I think it is time to have a little fun. I have a few patches that I am going to give away to three lucky people.

The patches are Tonkawampus Lodge #16 Order of the Arrow patches, #S19. This lodge was chartered in 1924 in the Viking Council, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2006, during the merger of the Viking Council and the Indianhead Council of St. Paul, Tonkawampus Lodge #16 and Agaming Lodge #257 merged to form Totanhan Nakaha Lodge #16.

This was the 80th anniversary patch for the lodge.  This may have been one of the last patches made for the lodge before the merger. Hidden in the design of the patch is the year 2003. The first two feathers, following by pictures in the two zeros, followed by three feathers, gives up the year 2003. 

I will choose 3 winners by random from the people who leave a comment to this post. Tell me why you would like to add this patch to your collection. I will have the drawing on Wednesday, January 23, 2018, so leave your comments by 6:00 pm that evening.

I had a phone message waiting for me on my answering machine when I arrived home Monday night, January 7. It was from Russell, a reporter for the Dallas Examiner. He asked that I return his phone call because he wanted to speak with me about the Boy Scouts of America’s “financial problem”. He made the comment that he wanted to talk to a long time Scout volunteer.

My first thought when I finished listening to the message was that it was an interesting message. My second thought was why did he call me, a former Scoutmaster from a rural Minnesota community. I volunteer my time to my local troop and pack. I do not do anything with the national office. My third thought was how in the world did he find me?

Did I return his phone call? No, I did not. And I will not. Why, you ask? There are three reasons.

First, I have no information for him. Like I said earlier, I do not work for the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America. I am not on their mailing list.

Second, I am not a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America. I have no desire to be a spokesman for the organization. I am perfectly happy being a volunteer in my local community.

Third, I do not trust today’s media, especially national networks and large newspapers. I have heard many stories of reporters using only one or two comments from an interview, and using them out of context to suit their own agenda. I am not playing that game.

I have no desire to be on the national news stage. If a reporter wants to know something about the Boy Scouts of America’s so called “financial crisis” they should contact the National Office for information, not a rural Minnesota volunteer.

Update: I have informed my district executive and council executive about this phone call to make them aware that something is going on. I also sent an email to the Boy Scouts of America’s National Office to inform them of the call.

I was an active podcaster for over seven years. I posted my first video podcast under the name of Melrose Scouting Productions on April 4, 2007. The goal was to post two or three videos each month, usually featuring the Boy Scouts of Troop 68.

The podcast became fairly popular, considering the niche theme of Boy Scouting. It had a small following of Scout leaders from around the country. Some videos also introduced Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, to the Internet.

The podcast attracted the attention of a few other scouting related podcasters. We got together under Chris’s leadership and became a channel known as PTC Media. The PTC stood for packs, troops, and crews. Many of these podcasts can still be found online and in the iTunes Store.

In 2011 I retired as the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68. It did not take long for my Podcast to feel the result of that decision. My posts to the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast became fewer as time went on. By the end of 2014 it looked like my podcasting days were over. In December of that year I posted my 140th video.

I did not add any videos to the podcast during the next three years. Then, in February 2018, I added a new video of the mayor of Melrose and his visit to the Cub Scouts of Pack 68. In August I became a little more ambitious and created a video about my Scouting patch blankets. I guess you could say there was a small podcast revival that year, right?

As we begin the new year of 2019 I am thinking about trying to bring the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast back to life. I think I may have enough material to add one or two videos per month. I would like to know your opinion. Do you think I should bring back the scouting related podcast? Do you think this podcast would be popular again? Should I bring back Buttons, the radical Boy Scout? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 became well known locally for performing campfire songs and skits in the 1980s and 1990s. The scouts had a great time performing and started getting good at creating revised and new songs and skits. The troop was even asked to chair a district Camporee campfire and did a fantastic job.

In 1996, the troop took their love of campfire programs to the next level. The troop decided to create a two hour campfire style show to be held at the Melrose high school auditorium. The show would be open to the public. The Scouts asked people to bring a nonperishable food item for the local food shelf. Thus the name Laughs For Lunch was created. The troop would provide the laughs as the audience members brought the lunch for those in need. It turned into a nice food drive.

The Laughs For Lunch show became a tradition that lasted for 13 years. While most of the audience were family members and friends of troop members, there were also people from neighboring towns. Boy Scouts of other troops would attend, including a troop from the Twin Cities who attended for a couple of years.

As Troop membership began to decline through the early 2000’s we found it more difficult to keep the show going each year. I believe the final show was held in January 2008. It was sad to see the tradition come to an end.

Membership in both the Cub Scout pack and the Boy Scout troop begin increasing once again in the mid 2010’s. During the troop’s yearly program planning session held in August 2017, the youth leadership decided to bring back the Laughs For Lunch Show. Both the committee chairperson and I were glad to see it returned to the schedule.

Bringing the show back would be a challenge. Over eight years had gone by since the last show. Not one of the current Boy Scouts were members of the troop when the last show was held. Only three members of the adult leadership were still involved with the troop. The scouts would have to learn nearly everything, both the skits and the songs.

As planning for the 2018 show began we quickly decided to cut the program down to an hour long. This proved to be a smart decision since we would only have four practice meetings of two hours each to prepare. The Scouts worked hard learning the songs and skits. They did great on the day of the show. The Boy Scouts and the audience had a great time.

When the patrol leader council held their yearly planning session last August they scheduled another Laughs For Lunch Show for January 26, 2019. The performing bug had bit the Scouts and they were ready to do a second show.

On Sunday, December 30, troop members got together to plan this month’s new show. And I do mean new. Nearly every skit and song would be new to the current Boy Scouts, similar to how it was with last year’s show. They also decided to lengthen the show by adding a few more songs and skits. The 2019 show could end up about 90 minutes long.

Like I mentioned earlier, there will only be four practices again to prepare. Each practice will be two hours long. The Scouts will have to work hard, but if previous years are any indication they will do very well and have another successful Laughs For Lunch Show.

The Boy Scouts of Melrose Area Troop 68 have held a Christmas party every year since the early 1980’s. It is an activity which is well attended because we have a lot of fun. Thirteen of the fifteen troop members attended this year’s party which was held on Saturday, December 15th. Four second year Webelos Scouts also attended the event.

The evening began at 5:30 pm with a supper of tacos. Most of the Scouts were quite hungry since they had spend the day downhill skiing at Andes Ski Resort near Alexandria.

The first activity was the gift exchange. Each Scout who wished to participate bought a gift valued from $12 to $15. All the Scouts participated. Each wrapped gift was placed in the center of the room. The Scouts took turns rolling dice. When they rolled doubles they chose a gift. Once all the gifts were chosen they were unwrapped. Then the real fun began. For the next fifteen minutes we continued to roll dice. When a Scout rolled doubles he could swap his gift with someone else. At the end of the fifteen minutes everyone “received” the gift they had in front of them.

Like every year, there were a few gifts that were very popular and moved around the room quite often. They were also a couple not so popular gifts that also were traded when the chance presented itself. I also participated in the exchange. Once there were only a few minutes of game time left, I became serious about which gift I wanted to take home. I was lucky enough to shake doubles with a little over a minute left, and even luckier to have no one shake doubles to take my chosen prize away from me.

The next activity was unwrapping a gift wrapped with duct tape, while wearing garden gloves. Once again, the Scouts rolled dice to have a chance to unwrap the box. Until the next Scout rolled doubles, that is. The game when the final box was unwrapped. Oh yeah, I did not tell you there were smaller wrapped boxes within the larger boxes.

The final game was a Twister tournament. This was followed by a movie which was a really good high school sports film based on a true story. The Scouts really caught caught up in the movie, even cheering for the team during the final event. The Scouts went home after the movie finished.

Does your troop hold a Christmas outing? What do you do? Leave a note about it in the comments section below.

The Scenic District of the Central Minnesota Council held its final roundtable meeting of the year on Tuesday, December 11. I have not attended a roundtable for quite awhile but I attended this one because I was asked to speak about the B. S. A.’s high adventure bases. I am glad I did attend this meeting.

Scoutmaster Dave Norling of Melrose Area Troop 68 was recognized with two awards during the meeting. He received his certificate for completing “Basic Leader Training.” He also received the special council neckerchief for being 100% trained. I believe he may be second adult leader of Troop 68 who has received the neckerchief. District executive Sam Ross made the presentations.

Congratulations to Scoutmaster Dave Norling!