2015villageIt is that time of year. Time to think about Christmas! Well, the retail community wants us to think about Christmas and the holidays. After all, they have lots of things they would like to sell us and they seem to think they need the last three (sometimes four) months of the year to convince us of that. Buy your decorations! Plan your family meals! And make sure you get your Christmas shopping done early!

For the last few years the Boy Scouts of America has created its own Scouting Village Collection. It started with a Ranger’s Cabin, Trading Post, and Church and has expanded nicely over the last two years. A person can set up a very nice Christmas Scouting Village (summer camp) scene with the pieces, if you have them all. I combine the Scouting pieces with some accessories from the Department 56 Village to create a rather cool Scouting scene.

I was looking forward to see if they would continue offering new village pieces this year. Last time I walked into the local Scout shop a couple weeks ago the clerk pulled me off to the side to show me what would be coming out. Cool, I thought when she said there would be new pieces. Unfortunately, I was not thinking it was so cool after seeing what was offered.

First, there is the Resident Camp Tents “lighted house” piece. This one does not look too bad but I have a feeling it is going to look out of proportion when placed with BSA Wall Tent from two years ago. I may have to use this new item as a background piece to gain a bit of perspective to the village scene. I will find out after I spend $16.99 to buy it.

The second piece offered is the Philmont Trek Accessory. When I first saw the picture for this piece I thought it would make an excellent addition to the collection. After all, it featured three Scouts climbing to one of the mountainous peaks of Philmont Scout Ranch. When I saw the piece for the first time I lost my enthusiasm for it. It is very small, only 4″ high and 3″ long. I have a feeling its scale will look totally out of place with the rest of the collection. The cost is only $6.99 so it is not a big investment at least.

The third and final piece for this year is the Villa Philmonte Lighted House. It is a nice looking addition to the series. My main concern is the cost. The nice thing about the Scouting Village set is that the pieces were very affordable. Lighted pieces usually sold from $12 to maybe $20 each. The Villa Philmonte breaks this tradition is a big way. This piece sells for $49.99. Wow. Last year’s eight piece starter set was only $80, and that included four lighted buildings. Granted, this new piece is 13″ long and nearly 8″ high, making it one of the largest pieces of the collection, but I have a feeling the price is going to turn a lot of people off of collecting the set. I cannot help but remember that $50 used to be able to buy all the pieces for each year’s set. Looks like that price point will no longer be carried on.

I am not sure yet if I will buy this year’s collection or not. To tell the truth, I think it is the weakest of the four year’s sets so far. What do you think? Do you plan to purchase any or all of them?

Residential Camp Tents: http://www.scoutstuff.org/house-lighted-camp-tents.html#.ViWrzdY-AUE
Villa Philmonte Lighted House: http://www.scoutstuff.org/house-light-villa-philmonte.html#.ViWr0NY-AUE

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    Nuguonabe2015RedNOACTo tell the truth, when I wrote about this year’s Naguonabe Lodge’s National Order of the Arrow patch sets last June and July I thought the three part article would be all there would be to write. Surprise! This last month the lodge came out with its fourth patch set option. I did not see this coming, but then I am not very involved with the lodge these days since Troop 68 currently does not have any OA members other than for myself.

    This new two patch set is an all red “ghost” set that features the same design as the previous wold head design that also includes the 100th anniversary logo. Our lodge has not created many ghost patches in the past so it kind of makes this a little more special. I am not sure why the red color was chosen, but if I find out I will post an update to this article.

    The patch set costs $25.00, and I understand that only one set per person is allowed since only a small quanity was printed. The lodge is using this as a fundraiser. I am not quite sure if the funds raised will help to pay off current bills or if the lodge is preparing for a future activity or project. I guess I really do not care what they use the money for. I just want the set for my collection! I usually will not pay that much for a patch set, but I do want to support my lodge.

    What do you think of the patch set? Did your lodge create a ghost set for this year’s National Conference?

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      homepageIn some ways it is hard to believe. It was in May 2006 that I began the website for Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. Over 11 years ago! I spent a lot of time posting to the site. Too much time some months. The site has grown to over 200 pages and features thousands of photographs from the last three decades.

      That was then, and this is now. I do not spent very much time updating the site since I stepped down as the scoutmaster a few years ago. In fact, it has been nearly four months since I have updated anything. Until today. I had a little free time this morning so I decided to work on a few pages. First was the home page. I updated the meeting schedule, posted a current group picture, and made a note that the annual popcorn sales have begun. Then I went to the yearly program page and posted the recently approved program for the 2015-2016 year. Last, I updated the Order of the Arrow patch gallery with the 2015 NOAC patches of the Naguonabe Lodge.

      There is still a lot of work to be done updating various others pages but that is enough for this morning. I wish I new more about the current way to create awesome photo galleries and pages but I am stuck in the 2000’s. I have not had, or maybe should say taken, the time to learn the latest and greatest in web design. Maybe some day.

      Or maybe some day I will just pass this site off to someone new and let them manage it. It could happen.

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        derbyBoyScouts(I just found this article on my desk. I guess I forgot to post it. It might be a little late, but what the heck.)

        Cub Scout Pack 68 of Melrose held its 2015 Pinewood Derby on Sunday, January 25th. As the current cubmaster I asked the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 if any of them would be able to help with the event. Five of them took me up on the offer.

        Adrian was the first Boy Scout to arrive. His brother is a Cub Scout. Since he was the first I gave him my camera and made him the official photographer. His job was to take pictures of the Cub Scouts holding their derby cars before they turned them in. I also took him to take plenty of pictures during the event and of the award presentation at the end. I am not sure if he had ever been a photographer before, but he had plenty of practice during the derby.

        Alex and Daniel were the next Boy Scout to arrive. They also happened to be the troop’s senior patrol leader and assistant senior patrol leader. I had Alex work with the two Tiger Cubs who were to do the flag presentation. The Tigers would count this toward one of their Tiger Cub requirements.

        I put Daniel to work as our official time keeper. He would keep the time of each car in each race. Each “race” would actually consist of two races so each car would race on each of the two lanes. If a car did not win both races we would take the average time from the two races to declare a winner. Unfortunately for Daniel, we did not need to check the race times but his job would have been critical if the races would have been closer.

        Jacob and Carter were the other Boy Scouts to help during the event. They became out derby car handlers. Their job was to take the cars from the table and place them on the track. They would then receive the cars from the end of the track and replace them on the table, or the track again for the second heat. These two guys definitely had the most exercise of the five Boy Scouts.

        All five Scouts did an excellent job with their assigned duties. Each participating Cub Scout received a derby patch. Since we had purchased enough of them we also gave each Boy Scout a patch for their help.

        After the award presentation, we opened the track for exhibition racing, or what we called “racing for the fun of it”. Three of the Boy Scouts had brought their derby cars with them. The Cub Scouts had a blast racing the Boy Scouts and the other Cub Scouts they did not get to race against during the competition.

        As the event came to an end and the track was packed away for the next year I think I can honestly say that everyone had a good time; the families, the Cub Scouts, and the Boy Scouts.

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          peanuts-the-race-is-on-snoopys-beagle-scouts-pinewood-derby-ornament-rootThis year’s Scouting themed Snoopy ornament is now on sale at your local Hallmark store. The 2015 piece features Snoopy the Beagle Scout, or scoutmaster, and three of his “Scouts” racing their Pinewood Derby cars. It is nice to see a Cub Scouting themed ornament this year.

          I was not even thinking of this until I walked into the Crossroads Mall Hallmark store this afternoon. I was going to check if they had any of last year’s ornaments at close out prices. I should have known this year’s decorations would be on display already. It did not take me long to find Scoutmaster Snoopy. I bought two, like I do every year. One to put on the tree, and one to add to the collection.

          Have you been collecting the Beagle Scout Snoopy ornaments?

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            This week nine Boy Scouts from Melrose Troop 68 are attending summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp in northern Minnesota. I was there with them from Sunday through Wednesday and I can tell you, they are having a blast, even though the weather could be a little less humid and a little dryer. It rained almost every day I was there.

            The adult leaders gather every Wednesday at the Buckskin dining hall for a leader’s recognition dinner. The camp leaders tell us about the new programs and additions to the campsites, and they also play a video made from pictures taken earlier in the week. The pictures is this year’s video highlighted the adults who attended MPSC with their troops. Dave, a father of one of our Scouts, and I both made it into the video. We were both surprised by that. Neither of us knew that our photo was taken. I was playing lacrosse with the Scouts while Dave was watching the boys play gaga ball.

            The team at Many Point have posted the video on their Youtube page. Here it is for you to enjoy. It is a little over three and a half minutes long.

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              2001 Jamboree Marvel patch setI attended the 2001 National Jamboree as the scoutmaster of Troop 1417. I had a great time. I had a great troop. And I collected quite a few patches from the event. In fact, I still collect patches from the event when I find some for a reasonable trade or cost.

              One set of patches that I was not able to attain at the Jamboree was the seven piece Marvel shoulder patch set from the Theodore Roosevelt Council of New York. Each of the patches featured a different super hero: Spiderman, Thor, Wolverine, Captain America, Ironman, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. The patches were extremely popular at the Jamboree and soon became hard to find, and very hard to get when you did find them. The National Office may have stated that patches should be traded one for one, but after a couple days you did not find that rule being followed very well. Once I discovered how many patches it would “cost” me to get them I decided to let them go and trade for other CSP’s.

              Well, time moves on and years pass by us. Occasionally I would check out eBay to see what I could find for 2001 Jamboree patches and memorabilia. Once in a while I would find a good deal and was able to add to my Jamboree collection. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Marvel patches for sale at what I considered a reasonable price. It did not take me long to press the BUY button and add this set to my notebook.  I should point out that I did not buy the patches as one set, but bought them individually over the span of a few weeks. I paid anywhere from $5 to $10 each.

              Have you been to a National Jamboree? Did you collect any patches? What were your favorites?

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                Naguonabe NOAC 2015 CYou were given a preview of the trader’s two patch set in May. Yesterday I wrote a post about the participant’s set. But did you know there is one more option available for the Naguonabe Lodge members who will be participating in this year’s National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC)? Yes there is!

                You may have noticed in the previous posts that the original pocket flap patch and the pocket patch did not “flow” together in their design. Do not get me wrong, I like both patches. But I thought it would have been nice for the two patches to “share” a continuous design like the patch sets of the last few years. Maybe it is just me being an old fuddy duddy. I think the reason for the design was to allow all lodge members to buy a pocket flap patch to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow. I understand this. I think they did a great job designing the patch and I am glad to have it as a part of my collection.

                The picture above shows the recent third option of this year’s patch set. Yes, there is a final option in which the patches “flow” together into one continuous design. The wolf’s ears and forehead can now be seen. I like it! I also like the bright color scheme chosen for this year’s set. I am willing to bet this will be a popular set traded at this year’s event. Yes, this set is a trading set. Note the dark gray border. No, I do not have any patches to trade since I am not attending the conference.

                So, you have seen the three options of the 2015 NOAC patches for the members of the Naguonabe Lodge of the Central Minnesota Council. Which set do you like best?

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