I enjoy being a member of the Order of the Arrow but I do not attend all the functions during the year. I have always had the opinion that the Order of the Arrow is a youth organization, so I only attend an outing when the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 attend. There has been one exception to myself applied rule, the winter banquet.

I went to my first Naguonabe Lodge winter banquet a few years ago, without any Boy Scouts from Troop 68. I wanted to see what this event was all about. I had a good time so I attended last year’s banquet. They went with a Hawaiian luau theme so I dug out my old Hawaiian shirt.

The lodge’s 2019 winter banquet will be held at the council office on Saturday, January 5. This time it will be a pirate themed event, which sounds like fun. I have sent a message to the troop’s two youth members to see if they plan to attend. If they do not, I may go on my own. It will be an interesting to see a lot of Order of the Arrow members acting like pirates.

I wonder if Captain Jack will appear.

I began collecting Scouting themed books soon after becoming a Scoutmaster in the early 1980s. I collect handbooks, leadership books, history books, and the fictional novels that were written in the 1910s and 1920s. After 35 years of collecting I would say I have a very nice collection.

The old Scouting themed fictional novels written a hundred years ago have a special place in the collection. I love finding those old books if they are in decent condition. It can be a challenge to find these old books that are still in one piece. I don’t think anyone really thought they were meant to last more then a generation or two so when I find one, at a reasonable price, I like to buy it.

I recently saw a post on a Facebook group called Scout Patch Collectors. It is a great group for trading and buying Scout patches. Once in awhile other Scouting memorabilia is posted. Last week I saw a post featuring three of the old Scout novels for sale. While they looked a little frayed around the edges I noticed they were three books I did not have in my collection.

The Boy Scouts at the Panama Canal, written by Lieut. Howard Payson, was published in 1913. The other two books were written by Herbert Carter. The Boy Scouts Afoot In France was published in 1917. The Boy Scouts On War Trails In Belgium was published in 1916.

After a few messages back and forth between the seller and myself I agreed to purchase the books for a price we both agreed upon. Since I was buying the books based on the one photograph posted I hoped they would not be in terrible shape.

The books arrived last Saturday. The covers are in decent shape, showing a bit of wear which is to be expected. The covers are coming loose but a little glue will take care of that. Two of the books have a loose page in the front of the book, but at least the page is still with the book. Otherwise, the books are in decent shape for being one hundred years old.

Two of the books have handwriting inside the front cover. I think one was a gift to a young man. The other book I believe has the owner’s name written on the first page. This does not bother me in the least. I think I adds a little character and history to the book.

I am going to have to rearrange my book cabinet to make room for these three new additions. While they may not be in great shape they do fill in three holes in my collection and I am glad to be able to add them.

Do you collect old Scout themed novels? Which ones do you own? Leave a comment below.

The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 began wearing a Troop T-shirt in the 1980s. The Scouts would wear the T-shirts for the summer outdoor troop meetings and some of the monthly activities. The full uniform was worn for winter indoor meetings, courts of honor, and other special events.

I do not remember Melrose Area Cub Scout Pack 68 ever having a T-shirt. Until now that is. About a year ago the pack committee decided the Cub Scouts should have a T-shirt to wear for certain meetings and activities. The parents agreed. The picture above shows the design on the pack’s shirt. The Cub Scouts like them. Even some of the parents wear one.

While the uniform is an important part of the Scouting program, it is not really needed for every event. I am glad the Pack finally has its own T-shirt.

I bought my first digital camera in 2004. I was going to Philmont Scout Ranch with the troop and thought this would be a good trip to start using digital photography. I have been using a digital camera ever since that trip.

I soon began using the digital photos to make slideshows of the troop events and activities. It was fairly easy to create a slideshow using the programs of the Mac Pro computer I owned. The next step was to burn the slideshows to a DVD so I could watch them on the television.

As Christmas approached I decided to copy the pictures to a compact disc and print one for each of the Boy Scouts in the troop. The slideshow DVDs soon followed. The Boy Scouts and their families seem to enjoy watching the shows so I kept doing it each Christmas.

It is now the year 2018. I have finished this year’s annual DVDs. Once again there will be a DVD of the slideshows, but the yearly photo collection has grown too large to put on CDs anymore. I take thousands of photos each year so the collection is now burned as a data DVD. This year’s photo collection was over 3 GB, and that does not include the photos of the trip to the Summit high adventure base. The data DVD does include some short videos taken during some of the monthly events.

I hope the Boy Scouts and their families enjoy watching the slideshows and looking at the pictures. It does take several evenings to create the DVD package each year. But I think it is well worth it.

PS: after posting this article and viewing the picture I noticed a mistake on the DVDs. Do you see it?

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The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 took some time during the month of October to learn about renewable energy. They did this during their meetings and their monthly outing.

The Scouts were camping during the chilly weekend of October 12-14. They took time Saturday morning to go to Padua for a tour of the Sempa Wind Turbine facility. The boys were very interested and asked a lot of questions which turned the hour long tour into a two hour event. The Scouts even discovered the tour guide is an Eagle Scout himself.

The troop met at the Stearns Electric Association building in Melrose for their troop meeting on Monday, October 15, for a presentation on how the co-op distributes power to its members and how renewable energy fits into its system. Once again, the Scouts and leadership asked a lot of questions which turned the 30 minutes presentation into an hour long. The troop learned that the association receives 25 percent of its power from renewable sources which include wind and solar installations. They also learned the squirrels cause the most animal related energy outages.

The troop would like to thank both organizations for their assistance in learning about renewable energies.

When you are an adult leader, or a former Cub Scout or Boy Scout who is now grown up, it is fun to look back at the Scouting days of your youth. It is fun to reminisce about those Pinewood Derbies, camping trips, or award ceremonies. That is one reason I take so many pictures when I attend a troop or pack function. I know the boys and their parents will enjoy looking back at them several years from now.

Since the national office of the Boy Scouts of America does not seem to do much of anything to promote Scouting outside of their own organization (or if they do, I never seem to catch it) I always appreciate it when I see Scouting represented in a good light in the newspaper or in a magazine. Thanks to my parents I have been reading some issues of a magazine called Reminisce. It features stories written by the readers of those days gone by. Articles include stories from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. At my age, somewhere in my fifties, I find many of these articles fun to read and even historical.

A few times I have stumbled across pictures and stories in Reminisce that are Scouting related or feature pictures of Scouting events. I really enjoy reading these stories, and the pictures are a blast to look at. One issue a few months ago even featured Cub Scouts participating in a soapbox derby of the cover of the magazine. Another larger photo was included inside. I have spotted Scouting pictures in other issues. Oh, those long ago days…

Have you read any magazines lately that feature Scouting related stories, that are not Boys Life or Scouting magazine? What magazines were they? What was the story? Leave a comment and let us know about it.

I subscribe to the Bryan On Scouting blog, found at https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org . I recently received an email about a post stating the online program Scoutbook would be free to use after January 1, 2019. I remember looking at the online program a few years ago but never went very far with it. I decided to take another look.

I like that it would be a good tool for keeping track of advancement but I question if the program as a whole would be a good fit for our troop of fourteen Scouts. So here is my question. How many of you who read this blog use Scoutbook? What do you think of the program? Has it worked well for your troop or pack? What do you like the best? Is it easy to use?

I would really appreciate your comments before making a decision to use it for our troop.

I am a member of a few Scouting related groups on Facebook. These groups include Boy Scout Collectables and Scout Patch Collectors. Both are fun to belong to, and once in awhile you can find some nice items for sale or trade.

Recently, a post was made from someone who had a batch of rank patches and advancement cards for sale. The old rank patches from the 1980-1990’s caught my eye. After a few messages being sent back and forth I decided to buy the set of patches and cards for $60 shipped. True, that is not a rock bottom price, but it was comparable to the price I would pay the the Scout shop. The current patches we could use in the troop as the boys attained their ranks. The older patches, and one set of the older cards, I would keep for my Scouting collection. Unfortunately, I did not receive the Eagle Palm Pins.

The older rank cards are going to be fun to use. I asked the troop’s patrol leader council if they would like to use the cards for their current advancement until they run out. They thought that would be a fun idea. They liked the idea of the “retro” rank cards. I wonder if we should set a time limit though. A time period may add an incentive to the Scouts to finish their ranks. The goal could be the end of the year. Of course, they will be used on a first come, first awarded basis. I will have to ask the troop leaders what they think of the idea. I also plan to use the merit badge cards for the Scouts who earned badges at summer camp.

Would your Scouts enjoy getting retro cards with their ranks? Leave a comment and let me know.