2010drapeMelrose Boy Scout Troop 68 has been using the Boy Scout decorative drape for many years, decades even, at its court of honors and special functions. It adds a nice bit of color to the ceremony and makes things look a bit more official. At least I think it does. They are a little pricey (they are sold for $64.99 on the scoutstuff.org website) but I think the troop has got their money’s worth from ours.

I was at the council Scout Shop today to look around and found something else that could be used to add a bit more color to the ceremonies. The 2010 Boy Scout Centennial drape was on closeout. It was priced for only $9.88. That was too good of a deal to pass up. I own one now. It will become part of my Scouting collection, but I may let the troop use it if they want to for their courts of honor. It might even be a good thing to display during the fall School Night To Join Scouting. I am sure I will find some uses for it.

Will you be heading to your local Scout Shop to pick up one of these closeouts? Or does your troop already own one?

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    IMG_5411The Melrose Lions Club holds a special dinner every year to recognize volunteers in the community. This year’s dinner was held on the evening of April 27th at the Melrose American Legion. Over 100 people from nearly a dozen volunteer organizations were represented, which included the local food shelf, Project Give-A-Gift, Meals On Wheels, the fire department, the ambulance department, the police reserve reserve, and others. Boy Scout Troop 68 and Cub Scout Pack 68 were each represented by three adult leaders.

    At the end of the evening, after a great meal and a guest speaker, the Lions Club held a drawing for three $100 donations. Boy Scout Troop 68 was lucky enough to receive one of these gifts. Scoutmaster Jim Engelmeyer, along with committee chairperson Chris Massmann and assistant scoutmaster Eymard Orth, accepted the donation.

    The Melrose Lions Club has been one of the community’s great sponsors of the Scouting program in Melrose.

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      museumdisplay0I am not sure how many small town communities have their own museum of local history, but I am happy to say the Melrose has one. The Melrose Area Museum is located in the old St. Mary’s convent building, found near St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Lake Wobegon Trail. It features historical artifacts from the communities of the Melrose School District which include Melrose, Freeport, Greenwald, Meire Grove, Spring Hill, and New Munich. Items from the Birch Lake area are also included. Two of the three floors are filled, with the upper floor dedicated to storage.

      Over the last few decades several people, along with myself, have donated items related to the local Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs. The Scouting display is found in the same room as the school and sporting items. Recently, a third display case has been added for the Scouting related items.

      I have already told Roger, the museum’s chairman, that someday the museum would probably get all the Scouting memorabilia that I have collected over the last 35 years. In fact, I kidded that he may need one room in the museum just for all this Scouting related stuff I have. To tell the truth, I bet I could fill up a good portion of that “new room”. After all, my own collection features dozens of coffee mugs, 2001 National Jamboree items, three ring binders full of patches, thirty photo books, camping gear, and over a hundred Scouting handbooks and fictional novels. And don’t forget the two patch blankets. (Which reminds me, I should get started on the third blanket.)

      This post features a few pictures of the current Scouting display in the Melrose Area History Museum. I would like to read your comments about it, and what your community museum has in its display.

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        EaglePicsIf you were reading this blog last December, you probably read the article I wrote about my “Eagle Project”. It is not an Eagle project in the normal use of the term. I am too old to be working on my Eagle Scout requirements, after all. No, this was a project which would recognize those Scouts who attained Scouting’s highest award. It was to be a display for the local history museum which would feature a picture of each of Troop 68’s Eagle Scouts.

        I finished my project in February and presented 22 framed 5″x7″ portraits to the museum chairman, representing the Eagle Scouts from the 1980’s to present time. He took these photographs, found a stand for them, and added them to the museum’s Scouting display. I was not sure how the pictures were going to become a part of the display but I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Roger, the museum chairman, was even able to get a picture of the one Melrose Troop 68 Boy Scout who earned the Eagle Rank in the 1960’s. That was a great addition to the photos and now makes the collection of Troop 68 Eagle Scouts complete.

        Last month the troop had another Boy Scout turn in his Eagle Scout application to the local council. We may have to expand this photo collection very soon. Hopefully, we will be adding a lot more portraits in the next few years.

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          t68logoI like working with the Scouts. I think it is one of the best organizations for a boy or young man to be a member of. That is why I was a scoutmaster for thirty years, and than stayed on as a committee member. That is why I am now serving as a cubmaster.

          I can usually juggle the troop duties and the pack duties without much of a problem. The pack meetings and activities are only three or four days a month. The troop only needs a few days a month of my time. It is pretty easy scheduling.

          March was more challanging. The Cub Scout schedule was easy. The den meetings were held on the first Monday of the month. The pack meeting was on the third Monday. The pack committee meeting was on the 23rd. There was only three evenings of Cub Scout meetings.

          My Boy Scout schedule, on the other hand, grew almost out of control. The troop decided to work on the Scouting Heritage merit badge in March. Guess who happens to be the merit badge councilor? I told the troop I would be able to attend the meeting the the second Monday, and could maybe get away from the den meetings on the first Monday, but the third troop meeting of the month I could not attend. I think this is a great merit badge for Boy Scouts to earn so I really wanted to help out as much as I was able.

          The troop also had a court of honor on the fourth Monday of March. As the troop’s advancement coordinator I planned to attend. The troop’s spring fundraiser was a breakfast held on Palm Sunday. Since a fire at the local church affected our plans we held a special parents meeting to find a new location. I love to play play disc golf, so I agreed to be a chaperone for the month’s disc golf outing held on Saturday, the 19th. I offered to conduct a junior leader training course for the newly elected junior troop leaders later that same day. And then, of course, there was the regular troop committee meeting. Oh, and don’t forget the district roundtable. As you can see, my Boy Scout schedule became very busy in March.

          It has been quite awhile since I have had ten days of Scouting meetings and activities in a single month. When I was the scoutmaster it happened quite often. In fact, it almost seemed normal. But this is not normal for my schedule anymore.

          Oh well, it may have been a busy month, but it was worth it. And it was fun. And hopefully, several of the Boy Scouts will earn their Scouting Heritage merit badge.

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            2016fosSeveral years ago the Central Minnesota Council added a new incentive to the annual Friends Of Scouting (FOS) campaign. If you met a certain donation level you would receive a specially designed council shoulder patch (CSP). Each year would feature a different point of the Scout Law. Twelve points meant twelve patches that could be collected. Being the patch collector that I am, I was hooked from the very first year.

            This year marks the ninth year of this promotion so the 2016 patch has Thrifty as its theme. The csp features a vintage Boy Scout at the bank, ready to add some money to his saving account. There is a “ghost” design on the left side of the patch of a squirrel ready to store his acorn for future use. Even the animal kingdom practices being thrifty.

            This means there are only three years left of the Scout Law council shoulder patches. I wonder what the design of the next one, Brave, will look like.

            Other incentives of this year’s Central Minnesota Council FOS drive included an electronics cleaning cloth, a Ripley Rendezvous water bottle or frisbee, and an Eagle Scout statuette.

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              discgolf2016The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 sure like their disc golf. They like it so well that for the last few years they have planned a disc golf outing as part of their yearly program. Central Minnesota has several disc golf courses. In fact, I believe there are nine or ten within a 35 mile range of Melrose. Grab your discs and let’s play a game!

              This last weekend was a busy one for the Scouts. Saturday began with a disc golf triathlon, followed by a junior leader training session, and ending with Sunday’s breakfast fundraiser. It would be enough to tire out Boy Scouts, adult leaders, and parents.

              Saturday morning, March 19th, began with a strong chill in the air. That chill was partially due to the snowfall we had the day before and overnight. We had been hoping for a nice day since the weekend before had seen temperatures in the upper 60’s, and those temps had melted the remaining snow. Oh well, time to lace up the boots and grab the winter jackets as we loaded up the cars to head to our first course of the triatholon.

              We drove 35 miles to get to our first stop, the Riverside Park course in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It is one of the nicest course in the county. Unfortunately, it was not a good course to play one this day. We noticed very quickly as we drove along the park that all the disc golf baskets had been removed. We did not see a single one. Not even the practice baskets were in place. We needed a different course to play.

              Fortunately, the Calvary Park 18 hole course was only a few miles away. The Scout’s smiles returned as we saw the baskets were still in place. Since it was the first time the troop had played this course it sometimes took a few minutes to discover were the next tee boxes and baskets were located. The course was challanging as it contained a wooded hillside that presented many branches to deflect throws. Not that it mattered too much. The Scouts still had plenty of fun. And to make it even better, the snow had begun to melt before we left the course.

              Since it was nearly the noon hour we stopped at White Castle for lunch. Most of the boys had never eaten at the fast food chain before this stop. Most of them ordered a four pack of Sliders, the White castle hamburger. Later that day, some of the Scouts discovered the secret meaning of the Slider name.

              The second course of the tour was the 18 baskets found at Millstream Park in St. Joseph. By the time we arrived a lot of the snow had melted. That also meant the millstream was flowing. The well known water hazards of the park would now have to be considered as we threw discs around the course. Unfortunately, some of the discs did land in the water hazards. Some discs the Scouts were able to retrieve using long sticks and branches, but four of them were left behind in the deeper bone-chilling water. The nature of this course slowed us down to the point that by the time we finished it was too late to play the third planned course. We had a junior leader training session to begin at 5:00. The triathlon had turned into a biathalon.

              Even though we lost a few discs, and two of the boys decided to test the temperature of the water by sliding into the stream toward the end of the game, we all had a great time and look forward to playing a lot more games this summer.

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                cardisplayThe Cub Scouts of Melrose Pack 68 recently had fun making a project during the March 21st pack meeting. They boys constructed display stands for their Pinewood Derby cars. Each stand is able to display five cars, enough from 1st Grade Tiger Cubs through 5th grade Webelos Scouts. With their parents help, the Cub Scouts completed their stand during the meeting. They will be bringing them back to the April pack meeting to show how they decorated them.
                The pack would like to give a special shout out to committee member Matt H. who cut the pieces and prepped them ahead of the pack meeting.
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