2016Handbooks - 1Gosh! I do not know if you have heard or not but the Boy Scouts of America have changed the requirements for the Boy Scout advancement program. Scout is now a rank, which means there are seven ranks instead of six. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have changed a fair amount. Star, Life, and Eagle Ranks not so much. These changes could bring a few changes to your troop’s yearly program.

Of course, these changes to the advancement program need to be reflected in the Boy Scout handbook, which means a new handbook needs to be written. I was hoping to see a new handbook by the end of last year, but I was told during last month’s roundtable that they would be out some time in January. Knowing the B.S.A.’s history of getting things out on a timely basis. I thought that meant we would have to wait until February.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last week that stated the new handbooks were now on the shelves and available for sale. I drove the thirty miles to my nearest Scout Shop on Saturday to pick up one for myself, along with some items for the upcoming Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet. I ended up buying six handbooks; one for me, two for the scoutmaster and his assistant, and three for the Scouts. I like to keep a few on hand so new Scouts have them quickly available when they join the troop.

I have already received an email from the father of one Scout who has asked me to put one handbook aside for him. I have a feeling the other two could be claimed by the end of the week. I bet I will need to pick up more of them when I attend next month’s roundtable in Sartell.

I was caught a bit off guard when I saw the price of the new handbooks was $14.99. I should have known they would not be the same price as the old handbooks. Oh well, we have to have them.

Did you get your new handbook yet?

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    The New Year

    on January 25, 2016 in campfire | No Comments »

    Wow! Has it really been a month since I last posted an article to this blog? I guess so. I suppose I should write a few articles again. In the meantime, have fun watching this video performed by the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 about a furniture store. Audience participation is required.

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      This old Scouter would like to wish every Scouting family out there a very Merry Christmas. May you have a great time with your family and friends, and safe journey as you go out to celebrate the holiday.

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        P68Christmas - 1I am currently serving as the cubmaster of Melrose Pack 68. I am into my second year of holding this position. While it was not a position I was looking for when I joined the Cub Scout pack committee, I have been having fun. I tell you, Cub Scouts are a lot different than Boy Scouts. And I am not just talking about the size difference.

        I wanted to do something a little different for the December Pack Meeting this year. I had bought each of the Cub Scouts a little gift (a Star Wars tote bag and play pack) and wanted to do something more fun than just handing them out. After a couple of days of thinking I came up with a plan to be Scouter Claus!

        Scouter Claus would be similar to Santa Claus but not quite the same. I did not want the boys and other children to actually think I was the jolly old man. I bought a red Santa hat and a cheap four dollar beard that I thought would not put me in the league of the real Santa. Instead of a red suit, I would wear my Scouting uniform with my red wool Scout jacket. No one should mistake me for Santa Claus but we should still be able to have fun with it.

        The evening began with the Cub Scouts making Christmas cards for the residents of Pine Villa nursing home. Then we began the pack meeting to recognize the Scouts who had earned awards. As the Scouts and families had cookies and juice after the pack meeting, I left the room to become Scouter Claus.

        Most of the Cub Scouts recognized me right away as I walk into the room in my costume, but I think a couple of the younger children were not quite sure what was going on for a moment or two. A few of the Scouts wanted to pull my beard but of course, Scouter Claus could not let that happen. The boys enjoyed the Scouter Claus idea. Even the parents where smiling and seemed to be enjoying it.

        The Cub Scouts were quite excited to receive the Star Wars items, especially since that little movie had just been released. All eighteen Scouts were in attendance. There were about six different designs on the tote bags so I had handed them out right down the line and told the boys they would swap with each other if they liked, and swapped they did. The boys were having a blast.

        Each of the Scouts also received a dvd of slideshows featuring photos from pack meetings and activities during the 2015 year, along with a disc of photos for their computers. I have done this for several years with the Boy Scout troop and decided to also do it for the Pack this year since I had taken a lot of photos during the year. I also gave a box of chocolates to each of the three committee members who have done a great during the year and, with tongue in cheek, told them not to share the candies with the Cub Scouts.

        Did your Pack do anything special to celebrate the Christmas season?

        P68Christmas - 2

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          P68movie - 1Melrose Cub Scout Pack 68 currently has 18 members from Tiger Cubs through Webelos Scouts. The pack committee has been doing a great job of finding things to keep the Scouts interested in Scouting and things that are fun to do. A case in point was their November outing.

          Everyone has been to a movie theater to watch a motion picture. But how many times have you had the chance to get a “backstage” tour of the facility? On Sunday, November 22, seventeen Pack 68 Cub Scouts and their parents had the chance to go upstairs at the Main Street Theater in Sauk Centre and see what goes on in the projection booth. Bob Douvier, owner of the theater, gave the boys and their parents a tour of the room and explanation of how things operate. He even had the old film projector next to the new digital projector so the boys could see the difference in technologies over the last several years.

          The Cub Scouts had plenty of questions for Mr. Douvier. A few questions were also asked by the parents. I think everyone had a great time with the short tour, parents included. After the tour the Cub Scouts and their parents watched The Peanuts Movie which was actually quite good.

          The photo is of the article that appeared in the Melrose Beacon, our local newspaper.

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            P68FoodDrive - 1The committee of Melrose Cub Scout Pack 68 would like to see the Scouts earn the Journey To Excellence patch for 2015 so they have been coming up with service projects for the boys. In June the pack did a cleanup project in the city park, picking up trash along the pond and softball field. In November, the pack conducted a food drive.

            During their November dens meetings the Cub Scouts decorated cardboard boxes to be placed at businesses throughout a few communities in our school district. The Cub Scouts worked hard to get these boxes ready. Not only did they color and draw on them but they also had some designs printed out on paper that they could cut out and glue to the boxes. I believe each of the four dens made three boxes for the food drive. The parents took the boxes home and were in charge of placing the boxes in businesses and establishments that had agreed to working with the pack for the drive. They would pick up the boxes in two weeks to bring to the pack meeting.

            When the pack meeting arrived the Cub Scouts discovered more information about the drive. A representative from the local food shelf was on hand to talk to the Scouts about the food shelf and the local needs. She also answered quite a few questions that the boys came up with. It looked like everyone was having fun and maybe even leaning something at the same time.

            As you can see in the picture below, the pack did quite well with the drive. It was a little different than the Scouting For Food drives in the past, but I think the Cub Scouts invested a bit more of themselves in this year’s drive.

             

            P68FoodDrive - 3

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              IMG_4450Most of the time when you hear of someone talking about their Eagle project they are referring to their project for their Eagle Scout Rank. I am too old for that type of Eagle project. However, my Eagle project does involve work for a local organization. No, it is not a group that works with rehabilitating wounded birds. The organization is our community museum. My project is to have a framed 5×7 picture of each of the young men of Boy Scout Troop 68 who have earned their Eagle Scout Rank on display at the museum.

              There have been 22 Eagle Scouts of Troop 68 over the decades. The first was earned in the 1960’s, I believe, before I became a Boy Scout. The rest were earned from the 1980’s to present day. Eighteen of these Scouts became Eagles during my tenure as the troop’s scoutmaster. My project is to make a display featuring every one of these special Boy Scouts. Each photo also contains the Scout’s name and the year they earned the award. You can see in the picture above that I have most of them framed and ready to go. Unfortunately, I ran out of frames so it is time to run to the store and find some more.

              Does your troop have a special “Eagle Scout Hall of Fame” or wall of fame? Do you have a local museum that features an Boy Scout display? Right a comment and let us know about it.

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                I set up my Scouting Village today and decided to share the flyover video. (It takes a small drone to video this. lol)

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