kayakingI have heard from several people how fun kayaking can be, but I never really tried it. Well, not until earlier this month. My sister and her son invited me along on a kayak trip down the Sauk River, which runs through Melrose, Minnesota. They planned to start from the Sauk River Park in town and get out just south of New Munich, a small town located about five miles from Melrose. I had nothing planned for that Sunday so I decided to go along, if they could find a kayak for me to use. Ben, my nephew, made a phone call and found one very quickly.

It was a great time and a perfect day to spend on the river. The current was slow since we have not had a good rain for awhile. There were a lot of downed trees in the river but we only had to portage once. For most of the trip you did not see many signs of civilization. We even got to see and eagle and a deer. The trip took a little longer then expected. We thought it would be a three hour trip. It actually ended up being four hours. No one really cared though. It was a lot of fun.

As I was paddling down the river I thought to myself that this would be a fun activity for the Boy Scout troop. They have been canoeing a couple times during the last five years but never have they been kayaking. I can honestly say that I think I prefer kayaking to canoeing. I have found it is a little harder to get out of a kayak though. If the troop decided to go on a kayaking weekend trip, I am not sure where they would store their gear. There does not seem to be a whole lot of storage room in a kayak.

My questions to you readers are, “Has your troop been on an overnight kayaking weekend? How did it go? Did the Scouts enjoy it? What did you do about the troop gear?”

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    Philmont75Seven Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 recently participated in a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch. I was there to see them off when they left and wished them a good trip. After I returned home I was in a Philmont mood and noticed I had an email from the Tooth of Time Traders website, which is the place to buy all things Philmont related. ( https://www.toothoftimetraders.com )

    I noticed a book was available for the 75th anniversary of the high adventure base. The hardcover book was named A Million Miracles, 75 Years at Philmont Scout Ranch. It was published by Donning Company Publishers, and written by David Mullings. The website says:

       In commemoration of Philmont’s 75th anniversary this book was written to explain Philmont’s Prehistoric History, Cimarron and its Wild West History, Waite Phillips’ Story, 75 Years of Scouting, Philmont Today and Philmont Tomorrow. 
       Within the 120, full color, pages is the history of many years with great photos to document and memorialize those who came before us and helped make Philmont what it is today. A great gift for anyone with Philmont history.

    I decided I wanted the book. Instead of ordering it through the website and paying postage, I sent a text message to one of the Troop 68 adult advisors, Dakota, who was on his way to the ranch. He replied that he would pick one up for me.

    I stopped by his house yesterday and picked up my book. I am glad I had him pick one up. I have quickly paged through it and noticed it has great photographs from the history of Philmont. I look forward to reading it. It is a great addition to the other Scouting related books I have picked up over the years. Dakota also liked the book and picked one up for himself.

    The book can be found online at http://www.toothoftimetraders.com/A-Million-Miracles-75-Years-at-Philmont-Scout-Ranch/-3155101591808044816/Product .

    Have any of you read this book? What did you think of it?

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      beagle Wood BadgeI partook in Wood Badge training way back in 1990. From what I hear, the current Wood Badge course is a little different than the one I attended. I did not plan to go to a course that year until another Scout leader decided to give me a kick by registering me. I was a little upset at first but soon was glad I went through with it. I had fun and learned quite a bit about being a good adult leader in the troop. By the way, I am a Bobwhite, and a good ol’ Bobwhite too.

      I recently came across a picture online that combined my favorite Beagle Scout, Snoopy, with a hint to take Wood Badge training. I never realized the the troop leader of Woodstock and his friends was Wood Badge trained. And he has a patrol named after him? Gosh, he is a more important Scout Leader than I thought!

      What do you think of the logo? I have to say, I like it.

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        Now that the Scouts of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 have left on their trip to Philmont Scouts Ranch I have been thinking about my trips to the ranch, and the DVD I have in my collection known as The Philmont Documentary Collection. It is one of my favorite Scouting DVD’s. I was even able to chat with Larry McLaughlin, the producer and creator of the DVD, during a Leader’s Campfire podcast episode. (More of that interview can be heard at http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=1920 )

        Recently, while browsing Facebook, I scrolled across information about another DVD about the ranch. It is a collection of 40 short films created by David E. Carter during the years of 2006-2008. The DVD includes segments on all 36 of Philmont’s backcountry camps, as well as 3 special features.  It was only sold for two years in the Philmont trading post, and has not been available since then. This newly-edited version includes additonal content that has never been seen before. It contains over two hours of video.

        It looks like this is a DVD I need to add to my collection. The price of $22 includes shipping. Not a bad price if you ask me. My only wish is that it was filmed in high definition, but alas, it was created before all the new tech was readily available.

        More informations can be found on the website at http://www.sanibelfilms.com/philmont-dvd.html

        Do you plan to order yourself a copy?

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          Remember my last post? I went shopping at the local Scout Shop and bought several closeout items, some for actual use, and some for the collection. I left one item out of that article, the one that was rolled up in the tube. It was something I thought the troop could find useful. In fact, it was something the troop has not used for several years, but as the advancement coordinator I thought it night be time to use one again. What is it? It is a troop advancement chart with the current requirements listed.

          When I was in the Scout Shop I stopped at the advancement chart rack to see if the B.S.A. had come out with a new chart yet. I found a few of the old advancement charts, a lot of Cub Scouting charts, and a few posters, but not a current advancement requirement chart. So I asked Jenny, who was working the at the store, if one was available. She told me there was and we walked back to the rack. I felt like a fool when she showed me the new chart hanging on the wall above the rack. I never even noticed it when I was looking. My eyes were on the advancement rack’s contents, not the wall.

          She looked through the rack for the new advancement chart. She did not find one. Well, now I felt a little better. She checked the computer and it said they had three of them. She went to the back room and found them. The chart is not small. It measures 36″ wide by 23″ high. It will not fit on the old chart’s piece of hardboard. I was quite happy with the price which was only $2.49.

          I wish I had a larger picture to show you. I guess you will just have to go to the nearest Scout Shop and see it for yourself.

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            Buying Spree.There are some days you just should not go to the local Scout Shop. If you want to save your money, that is. But than, you have to go if you want to get the closeout items, don’t you? Remember the Christmas in July Sale? I went Tuesday night, and the credit card took a hit. Oh well, it is only money, right?

            The Scouting stadium seat was on sale for only $14.99. I somehow misplaced mine so I needed to buy a new one. I bought the binder on sale for $3.98. I would have bought a second one if they would have had another one. The Eagle Scouts book was only $14.98. It will be a nice addition to the library.

            When you do not have very much hair on your head you cannot own too many caps. I thought the Boy Scout cap would be good for troop activities. Since I will be serving as the cubmaster for one more year I thought the Cub Scouts had would be fun. Each cap was on sale for $7.99.

            Speaking of being the cubmaster, it was had to turn away from the Cub Scout flashing pins. I bought all three on the hook since they were only $1.48 each. I may give one to the assistant cubmaster to wear. Mine will go on the cap I just bought. The napkins were only $2.98 per pack which makes a nice start for next spring’s Blue and Gold Banquet. I have not read very much about the new Lions Cub program so I bought the packet which was only one of two things that were not on sale.

            The last item is rolled up in the tube. I will tell you what it is in the next article. And no, it was not on sale but I thought it might be useful for the troop.

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              village saleIf you have been reading this blog for a few years you realize that I have been collecting the BSA Scouting Village pieces as they come out each year. After writing yesterday’s article about the Christmas In July Sale, I thought I would check if the 2016 pieces were listed online. I know it is early, but you never know.

              I did not find any new items listed but I was surprised to see two of last year’s pieces still listed. Usually the pieces sell out before the end of the holiday season so I was surprised to see the Resident Camp Tents Lighted House still available. I was not as surprised to see the Lighted Porcelain Villa Philmonte still listed since it was a very expensive piece. It was the piece I almost did not purchase last year. So. you still have a chance to add these pieces to your Scouting Village collection before the 2016 pieces arrive, which I guess might be in late August or September.

              By the way, I also checked the Walmart website since I found a really nice “vintage village” set last year. Nope, nothing listed for this year yet, except for some tree ornaments.

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                PhilmontLeaving - 5The crew is on the way! The Scouts and advisors of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 left for their trip to Philmont Scout Ranch last night. Everyone seemed to be excited for the trip. They will have a great time. Hopefully, I will be getting a few photos sent to me as they travel that I will be able to share with you.

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