Tonkawampus S19 Lodge PatchI recently had a great visit with a couple of old Scouting friends of mine. We had not seen each other for a few years so it was great to get together for a few hours to reminisce about the “old” times and catch up on how we have all been doing. Of course, we also exchanged some Scouting memorabilia. I gave him two 2010 Boy Scout Fleece blanket patterns which he can use to make a couple patch blankets, and he gave me various patches for my collection and a special surprise.

A fair number of the patches given to me were 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.

The patches given to me are shown above. I have done an online search for this patch and had a hard time founding it anywhere. eBay did not have this patch offered by anyone. I finally found some information on the Internet Guide to Order of the Arrow Insignia, but even that page did not have a lot of information, other than stating that this was the 80th anniversary patch for the lodge.

My friend told me this could be 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 us the year 2003. That is a pretty cool design in my opinion. I plan to add a couple of these to my collection of OA patches, which will be even more special since this lodge does not exist any longer.

My friend gave me this collection of Order of the Arrow patches with one stipulation. I could keep some for myself, but I should try selling the rest and use the proceeds to provide camperships for Scouts who may need some assistance paying for summer camp. I thought that was an excellent idea. I know of a couple online sites, like eBay, that would probably be good places to post sales for these collector patches. We discussed what price should be listed but neither one of us had a good idea what that price should be. I finally sat down today to see if I could find something online on an average price for this patch but found nothing. Not a thing. Do I have a rare patch here?

I decided to write a post about it here before I started auctioning them off on various sites. If you have any information about this patch I would love to hear from you. I was thinking about asking a starting price of $10.00 each. Too high? Not high enough? What is your opinion?

 

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    cubscoutpackmeetingI was a little nervous before that meeting on Monday, September 29th. It was to be my first time as acting as a cubmaster. Being a scoutmaster was no problem. I did that for 30 years. But this was a whole different age group, and a new set of parents and family members. Could I keep the interest of these 6 through 10 year olds during the meeting, and keep them and their families entertained? I was about to find out.

    We began the evening at 6:30 by breaking the pack into their dens to create posters representing their group. Then, about 7:00, we began the pack meeting. The three Webelos Scouts lead the opening by acting as the honor guard and bring the flags forward. Well, the one flag forward. And an empty pole. We had a United States flag but we have not been able to find the old pack flag yet. The Webelos Scouts decided they wanted to march the empty flag pole as a symbol for the missing pack flag. It confused a few parents who did not know what was going on until the end of the meeting when I explained it. Once the flags had been posted we said the Pledge of Allegiance and repeated the Cub Scout Promise.

    The first order of business was to have each den of Scouts bring up their poster and explain what they had drawn. I had the Webelos Scouts go first so they could set an example for the younger dens. This went quite well and the boys were happy to explain their posters. Unfortunately, anyone sitting more than two rows away from the front probably did not hear the Tigers and Wolves very well.

    It was time for a song, time for these boys and their parents to make some noise. It was a chance to test their singing voices and to see if they could keep up with me. What was the song? The Hole in the Ground song. Repeat after me. As verses were added the song got longer and faster. And louder. We had a good time. Too bad it did not get recorded.

    Fifteen boys were in attendance that evening. Five returned from last season, and ten were new to the program. I asked the new Scouts to come forward so the committee and I could present them with patches for their uniforms. We gave them the troop numbers, the council shoulder patch, and the World Crest patch. Before handing out each of the patches I explained the meaning of the patches to the Cub Scouts and their parents. From the smiles on the boys’ faces it seemed as if we were presenting them with their first awards.

    Since their were no real awards or beads to hand out during this first pack meeting of the season the committee had decided to hand out neckerchiefs and slides to the Scouts. I started with the Tiger Den and moved through them all to the Webelos Den. I think a few of the Bear Scouts were already eyeing up those fancy Webelos neckerchiefs. Once again, the boys were grinning from ear to ear as they received their neckerchiefs. It was another “award” of recognition for them.

    The meeting ended with the three Webelos Scouts retiring the colors, followed by announcements from the pack committee.

    I had a great time. The boys told me they had a great time and gave me a thumbs up. I guess I did pretty well. The committee talked to me afterwards and offered me the position of cubmaster. I tuned them down stating that Monday nights is still Boy Scout night night for me. Maybe if they would have left the meeting on Tuesday nights….

    They asked me why I did not say something before they had created their schedule for the year. I just smiled. Inside I really wanted them to find a cubmaster. To my surprise, one of the committee members sent an email out two days later to say she may have found someone to take the job.

    I did have fun as the cubmaster for that one night. And to tell the truth, I began thinking to myself that maybe I should have accepted the position, but my heart still lies with the Boy Scouts. But you know, maybe I could do both. No, I should just continue helping out on the committee level and being the liaison between the troop and the pack.

    But I did have fun that night as the cubmaster of Pack 68.

     

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      kindergarden funThe regular meeting of Boy Scout Troop 68 began its usual way Monday night. The Scouts had an opening and then began the skill development session of the meeting. The theme was the Scout Law. It was time to review the twelve points and their meanings. Daniel, a Life Scout, lead the discussion. Scoutmaster Jim finished it by informing the Scouts they would have the chance to use several of these points during a good turn that would happen in several minutes.

      The troop meets at St. Mary’s School gym during the cold weather months, October through April. Monday night was the first meeting for this season held at the gym. The principal of the school had asked the scoutmaster if the troop could help with a little project. A meeting for the Kindergarten children and their parents was also being held at the school that evening. The teacher was hoping for several minutes to meet with the parents alone. Could the Boy Scouts keep these young children entertained for ten minutes during that meeting?

      When Mr. Doyle escorted the small students into the gym the Boy Scouts where ready to begin the game session. I thought there would be maybe a dozen kids, but they kept coming in. More and more. The line stopped when 24 Kindergarteners walked into the gym. You could tell several of them were a little frightened by the big Boy Scouts. We did not let them think about it before breaking them up into five smaller groups and starting the game.

      It was a very simple game. The kids took turns rolling balls into three bowling pins, trying to knock them over. The Boy Scouts acted as the pin setters, the ball return, and the helpers to lead the youngsters to do well. The Scouts were quite excited. When one of the little ones knocked all three pins over the older boys were the first ones to cheer and get a high five from the successful youngster. Several of the youngsters were really getting into the game. A few stayed a little shy and reserved. I think they all had fun. To tell the truth, after a few minutes it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the Boy Scouts or the Kindergarteners.

      I immediately saw the photo opportunity going on so I quickly grabbed my iPad. I was busy snapping photos and even took a couple videos. I look forward to sharing the photos with the troop and the school.

      After the children left and the meeting returned to normal, the scoutmaster gathered the Scouts and held a short discussion about what just occurred. Which points of the Scout Law did the Scouts practice during this visit? How did they feel about playing with this age group? Was it a good Good Turn?

      I think the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 will remember this evening for quite awhile.

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        PTC Trip 2014.511When I was at the Philmont Training Center for a week last June, I gave my camera quite a workout. I think I came back with around 900 pictures from the trip. That is a lot, even for me. I remember my first trips to Philmont for 10 day backpacking treks in the 1980′s when I took 150 photographs and thought that was a lot of photos. Just goes to show the difference between film and digital technology I guess.

        Almost every night during my stay at PTC I would wonder on over to the Philmont Base Camp and look around, take a look through the trading post, and maybe stop by the snack shop for a bag of popcorn or an ice cream cone. One evening I decided to play with the camera and see what kind of night shots I could take. Would this simple point and shoot Canon camera take good pictures when there was little light? I was going to find out.

        I was pretty happy with the pictures. So was Bob, the district executive from our council who also went to PTC that week. I thought it might be fun to share the pictures with you so I posted 14 of them to a Flickr album for you all to view. Check them out and let me know what you think of them. The link can be found at
        https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevejb68/sets/72157645252031607/  .

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          ButtonsDisplay1It has been awhile since Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, has shown up for anything. He has been laying low and taking it easy. Even his Facebook page and Twitter accounts were not seeing much action. But this month, things changed a bit and he was active once again. He has been busy assisting with display for the local School Night To Join Scouting, or as the councils in the state of Minnesota called it, Rocket Into Scouting! Here are a few pictures of Buttons hard at work putting that display together. He was also in attendance during the evening with his display, greeting the boys into the grand world of Cub Scouting.

           

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            Cub_Scout_CharactersAs I mentioned in the last post to A Scoutmaster’s Blog, I have been helping to reorganize the pack leadership. We now have what I feel is a strong committee of four committed parents. I also plan to stay on the pack committee to lend my assistance and support during this program year. I guess that means we have a committee of five.

            Last night we held a pack committee meeting to prepare for next Monday’s pack meeting, the first one of the new year, and the first one featuring the new leadership. Unfortunately, one adult leadership position is still unfilled. While we were planning the pack meeting agenda one of the committee members asked who was going to be running this meeting. After all, we still do not have a Cubmaster.

            I raised my hand and said I would act as Cubmaster for this first pack meeting. I also explained that was the reason I was trying to get the committee to come up with a detailed agenda. If I was going to be the acting cubmaster I wanted to know exactly what I needed to prepare for. We all know what the Boy Scout Motto is, correct?

            I could see a sigh of relief go through the committee when I offered to be the face of the pack meeting. I think we have a good agenda planned. Something patriotic. Something Cub Scouting. Something about the dens. Something to recognize the new Scouts. Something to present to every Cub Scout. And even a couple of loud songs for the boys and families to sign along.

            This is going to be completely different for me. I am used to working with 11-18 year old boys. I have noticed that  Cub Scout age boys are a completely different breed of cat. I will admit that I am a bit nervous. Can I do a good job of pulling this off? I think I can, but we will all find out on September 29th.

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              2014_Rocket_Scouting_web_adAs the Cub Scout program year came to a close last May our cubmaster stepped down from his position. His youngest son has graduated out of the pack. That left the pack without a cubmaster. It also left the pack without an active pack committee. Everyone who was registered as a committee member no longer had sons as members of the pack. The pack had no leadership in place for this fall, and no one had done anything to try to take care of that problem over the summer.

              I was a member of the pack committee, but it was pretty much in name only. I was a name on the roster because a third person was needed to keep a pack committee formed. The committee rarely, if ever met. I did try to hold two committee members over my tenure but not much came of them. The cubmaster pretty much did things on his own, but he kept the pack alive.

              In August, as I saw School Night to Join Scouting coming closer on the calendar, I finally decided that something should be done to try to get some leadership in place before the new boys and parents showed up to join the Cub Scout pack. I sent out an email to a small list of Cub Scout parents I was able to get ahold of, asking them to come to a parents meeting to start preparing for a new year. I received four replies. Two said they would attend, and the other two stated they would not be participating in Scouting this fall. I did not hear anything from the others.

              The night of the meeting arrived. I held onto hope that at least three people would attend. One parent did call to say they were running late. Other than that, no one showed up. At seven thirty I was still the only one. I called the parent back to tell her she should not bother to come to the meeting. At 7:45, one father did arrive. He and I had our meeting times mixed up. The two of us did agree to try another parent meeting in two weeks.

              The second meeting was held on Tuesday, September 9. Two mothers and one father attended that meeting. My goal was to get the beginnings of a committee formed and plan a program agenda through December. By the end of the meeting we had a new committee formed (with a chairperson, treasurer, and advancement person), and a preliminary program agenda through next May. One parent had someone in mind to ask about being a cubmaster. Another parent thought there might be one more parent to join the newly formed committee, which by Wednesday evening the committee had another member.

              I am very pleased that we have this much in place for Thursday night’s School Night. I know I will be heading up the meeting that night but I do not really mind. I want the pack to grow and do well. After all, these are the boys who will hopefully be graduating into the Boy Scout troop in a few years.

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                village 8pc setI remember when the Boy Scout stores began selling the Scouting Village pieces a couple years ago. I decided to start collecting them a little too late and missed out on getting the lighted Trading Post building. I still do not have one. When this year’s village pieces became available at our local Scout Shop I bought all three immediately. I did not want to make the same mistake a second time.

                I recently noticed that in addition to this year’s collection pieces, scoutstuff.com has an eight piece starter set available to purchase. The set includes all the pieces from 2012 and 2013, including the lighted Trading Post. So, in other words, I can now get the piece I am missing, if I am willing to spend $80 on the whole set. Since I have all the other pieces already, I do not think I will be doing that.

                I wish the scoutstuff.com website would make all the pieces available as single pieces. It is obvious they are manufacturing the pieces again, otherwise why wouldn’t they have offered the pieces online earlier to clear out inventory?  I am sure I am not the only one who missed out buying a building during the last two years, or maybe I am. I does frustrate me a bit, almost to the point of thinking that this will probably be the last year I will collect the Scouting Village pieces.

                It is a great idea to offer the set to new collectors, but I feel it is a slap in the face to those of us who began collecting two years ago. What do you think about it?

                http://www.scoutstuff.org/set-village-lighted-8pc.html

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