CubScoutComicsI have just finished my second year as the cubmaster for Melrose Pack 68. It was fun and I enjoyed it. The Cubs have such a different view of life then Boy Scouts. I am still getting used to working with them. I must be doing a decent job because the committee wants me to stick around for another year.

As the cubmaster, I try to talk to, and listen to, each of the boys when they come to me during a meeting. I try to give each of them at least a couple minutes of my time, which I fell is quite important. A year ago, I caught a quick comment by one Cub Scout who mentioned that he has never had a comic book. I collect comic books so the next time I went to the nearest comic book store I asked the owner if he could give me a good deal on some comic books I could give to the Cubs at the next pack meeting. He gave me enough for the pack free of charge, of a few varieties. The Cub Scouts thought they were great.

I decided to do it again this year at the end of the May pack meeting and graduations. The first Saturday in May is free comic book day. I went back to the store a few days later and talked to the owner about doing the same thing again this year with the Cub Scouts. He still hand some comic books left over from Saturday. We went through which ones would be appropriate for the age group, and once again he gave me enough to hand out to the Cub Scouts. The Cub Scouts were quite excited to pick out their choice of five different books I had brought to the meeting, which included SpongeBob, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Captain America.

What kind of extra little things have you done in your pack to make things more fun and special for your Cub Scouts? Leave a comment and let us know about them.

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    PackBridgeI am constantly amazed by Cub Scouts and the way they look at life. I love the way everything seems to bring a sense of wonderment and excitement to them. The are full of energy and fun, always looking for a good time. And they seem to have a hard time standing still for more then 15 seconds.

    A month ago, I talked to one of the Cub Scout fathers about building a small bridge for the May graduation ceremony. We took a quick look through Pinterest for a few ideas before settling on a nice simple clean design (seen in the picture.) The rail boards for the rope railing store inside the bottom of the bridge when not in use. We left it unfinished for now because we have an idea for later. He was able to finish building it in time for the pack meeting. The cost of materials was only about $40.00.

    When they Cub Scouts arrived at the May meeting it did not take them long to notice the bridge. In fact, they all wanted to walk across the new bridge. I had to tell them that no one crosses the bridge until the graduation ceremony. You could just see the anticipation build in their eyes.

    When the time came for each to cross the bridge all 17 Cub Scouts seemed excited. Yes, they were graduating into their next level of Cub Scouting, but they also were able to walk across this new construction which had not been part of previous graduations. The boys were grinning ear to ear as our committee chairperson removed their old neckerchiefs, turned to me (who was standing on the other side of the stage), and walked across the bridge for the first time to receive their next neckerchief . It may have been a small bridge, but it was a big thing to these Cub Scouts as they moved on to the next phase of their Scouting careers.

    Next fall we plan to remove 12 of the 14 floorboards of the bridge. Each den will receive two boards, along with two points of the Scout Law. The dens will decorate their boards based on their two points of the Law and return them next April in time to be added back to the bridge frame. I know we are going to end up with a very unique bridge design. And the best part is that the Cub Scouts will have a stake in the final design, making the bridge truly theirs.

    Does your Pack use a bridge in its graduation ceremonies? Leave a comment and let us know if it adds to their excitement like our bridge did for the Cub Scouts of Pack 68.

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      CubScoutDrapeAs I stated in the last post to A Scoutmaster’s Blog, Boy Scout Troop 68 owns a Boy Scout drape that it has used for many years. When I became the Pack 68 cubmaster I noticed very quickly that the pack did not own a flag or anything decorative for its pack meetings. It did not take long for the pack committee to approve the purchase of a Cub Scout flag. I had an extra U.S.A. flag in my house and two old flag poles. The Cub Scout dens love taking turns at being the honor guard and presenting the flags at the beginning of the pack meeting.

      The flags added a little color to the meetings but I wanted more to decorate the ceremonies. I recently talked to the commander of the Melrose American Legion, the sponsor of the Cub Scout Pack, and asked him if it might be possible for the Legion to buy an eight foot long Cub Scout drape for the pack meetings. He liked the idea and told me to write a letter requesting the purchase. I need to do that one of these nights.

      I really wanted to have this drape for this month’s graduation ceremony, so even though the Legion will probably pay for the drape after they approve it, I already went out and bought one. Yeah, I know I may have bought it a bit early, but I really did not want to wait until next month. If the Legion decides not to reimburse me for it, well, I just hope they do.

      Does your Cub Scout Pack use one of these for its pack meetings? How do you display it?

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        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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