Hooray! Scoutbook is now free for all troops and packs to use. The Scoutmaster of Troop 68 brought laptops to our last troop meeting to introduce this program to the Boy Scouts. I think things went well. The boys seemed to be having fun checking it out during the meeting. Time will time if they actually use the program.

As the advancement coordinator of our troop though, I am not finding the love. Maybe I misunderstood how this program was to be used. I thought I would be able to go online with Scoutbook and update the Scouts advancement or see what they have accomplished and update my records. So far I have not been able to do any of that.

It seems that only the troop’s “key three” have access to the Scout’s information. I understand the need to keep things private but it is not helping me in my position. As far as the “key three” accessibility, I understand the scoutmaster and the committee chairman, but the charter organization representative? Really? Like many charter organizations across the country, ours is not very involved with the troop. I highly doubt that our charter rep even knows about Scoutbook, much less wants to access it.

After playing around with Scoutbook for awhile I have found I have no use for it. In fact, I grew very frustrated with it. Like I stated earlier, maybe I am trying to accomplish something with it that it was not designed to do, and if that is the case I see no reason for me to go back to it.

Am I missing something? Do you find it useful for your troop? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about Scoutbook.

2019 Pinewood Derby Trophies

Another January has come and gone which also means thousands of Pinewood Derby’s has been held across the country. Melrose Area Cub Scout Pack 68 held this year’s Pinewood Derby at the Melrose American Legion on Sunday, January 20. Twenty five Cub Scouts participated in the event.

I arrived at the Legion to help set things up before most of the families arrived. After asking the cubmaster what I should do she asked me to take photographs during the event. I guess she knows that type of work is right up my alley.

I took pictures of each Scout as they arrived. I took two pictures of the Scout holding his/her car, and one closeup of the car. I also took some pictures during the event. When I was asked by the cubmaster to hand out the Derby Patches after the races were complete I handed my camera to one of the Boy Scouts who continued to take pictures. I took the camera back when the cubmaster presented the trophies. I was also able to get a few group and den photos before families started to leave.

By the time the event was over I had over 160 photos from the Pinewood Derby. Since most of the families have a Facebook account I posted many of them to the site. I may also make a slideshow of the pictures and post it later. Of course, no names of the Scouts will be listed with the photos.

Does your Pack assign someone to take photo’s during its Pinewood Derby? How many photos did they take during the event? Did your Cub Scouts enjoy your derby?

Boy Scout skit: Is It Time Yet?

Boy Scout Troop 68 held its 2019 Laughs For Lunch Show on Saturday, January 26, at the Melrose High School auditorium. The hour long campfire-style program began at 1:00 in the afternoon. Over 100 people attended to watch the Scouts perform songs and skits. The Scouts did a great job and the audience had a lot of laughs. Many audience members said they really enjoyed the show and would come back for another one.

This was the current troop’s second annual show, but it was the troop’s fourteenth program. The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 held their first show in January 1996. They held twelve shows over a thirteen year period. The troop needed to put the show on hold when membership dropped too low. With membership increasing once again the boys decided it was time to bring back the program.

As an adult Boy Scout leader I see several benefits for the Scouts who perform for these shows. The first, of course, is that the Scouts learn a lot of different songs and skits that they can then choose from when they are at summer camp or a camporee. For example, this year’s show contained eighteen songs and skits of which fifteen were new to the Scouts.

A second benefit of the show is the teamwork needed to carry out this type of program. Not only does each Scout need to learn his own part of each skit or song in which they participate but they also work together as a troop to do it well as they can so that they can tickle the audience’s funny bone. Scouts also help each other during the more difficult portions.

The third benefit is it sometimes forces the Scouts to learn how to ad lib and think fast on their feet. If your are involved with Scouting you know that many skits only have a basic premise and a good punchline. Much of the skit is made up by the Scouts acting in the short play. Add a few audience members and you can never be sure you know what is going to happen. A Scout has to think quick to use anything that could happen on the stage.

A fourth benefit is a big one. The Scout learns skills in public speaking. Many adults have a fear of public speaking. Imagine being an eleven year old Boy Scout on a stage performing a silly sketch in front of a hundred people. Not only do the new Scouts rise to the challenge during their first show, they begin to look for bigger parts during the future shows. Think about it for a moment. If a boy learns to overcome his stage fright and be silly on a stage when they are young, it will be much easier to speak in front of a group of people as they get older.

The fifth benefit almost does not need to be stated, but I will. The Boy Scouts have FUN while doing the show. The more the audience giggles and laughs, the more fun the Scouts have, and the harder they try to perform well. This is the reason the troop has done fourteen Laughs for Lunch Shows. And it will be the main reason for doing more shows in the future.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have been attending a week of summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp every year since the early 1990s. They enjoy the program and the staff at the Buckskin Camp. This year, 2019, will be the first year they will change camps as they attend the Ten Chiefs Camp which is located south of the Buckskin Camp. That means the Scouts will not be eating in the Buckskin dining hall this summer. They will be eating their meals in their campsite.

Part of the fun of the Buckskin dining hall is the songs lead by the camp staff before heading into the building to eat. The staff does a great job getting the Scouts fired up and singing.

As I start posting Scouting videos online again I thought I would begin with a video featuring the MPSC staff leading the troops in songs before a few meals. This video was recorded during Troop 68’s stay in June 2017. The video is approximately 20 minutes long. Maybe it will give your troop a couple of ideas for their next campfire program.

The video can be seen at: https://youtu.be/c6IEdWK_t90

Don’t be afraid to subscribe to the Melrose Scouting Productions YouTube channel to receive notifications when videos are uploaded.

Nearly two weeks ago I posted an article about giving away a few Order of the Arrow patches to three lucky people who commented on the post. The time has come to give award the patches.

Only three people commented so all three of you will receive a Tonkawampus Lodge flap, if you want one. Drop me an email with your address and I will get them in the mail sometime in the next few days.

Congratulations to Dustin, Todd, and Brian!

A couple years ago I was looking around on eBay and came across an auction for the graphic novel Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, Book 1: A Brave Is Brave. I bought the book and discovered it was signed by the illustrator Zach Lehner. Unfortunately, it was made out to Dan, not Steve, but whatever. I had a signed book!

The graphic novel tells the story of a Boy Scout-like group called the Junior Braves who went out on a weekend camping trip. When they arrived back home they discovered a virus had wiped out most of the population and zombie-like mutants were wondering the streets. The goal was not only to survive this strange new world but to find their parents.

I enjoyed the book. The artwork was great and story was fun. The Braves had to use their “Scouting” knowledge to survive, along with a bit of luck. Not everything in the story went well for the Braves which added a nice touch to the plot. How would your troop do if they suddenly found themselves in this situation?

I received the second book of the series today, Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, Book 2: Out Of The Woods. I dove into it after work and read the whole book this evening. The writers did a good job continuing the story and introducing new characters. Once again the artwork was great. I do not want to give the plot away but I will say they Braves discover a second Junior Braves “troop” and not all goes well.

I think most teenagers would enjoy the book, especially if they are a Boy Scout. After all, these books about about “Scouts” during a zombie apocalypse.

Have you seen these books in your local book store? Have you read them? Did you enjoy them? I look forward to reading your comments.

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.