discgolfwaterThis month is the beginning of the new 2014-2015 program for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. The Scouts got together one Saturday last month and plotted out their monthly themes and activities for another year. A few of the traditional outings made it in, and a few new ones joined the program. Here is a look at the schedule for the next twelve months.

September 2014: Safe trip afloat/ canoe safety
1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings Popcorn sales
9 – Committee Meeting
18 – School night to join scouting
22 – Court Of Honor
26-28 – canoe trip and camp out
29 – PLC Meeting

October 2014: Leave no trace/packing
6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
6 – start ticket sales for supper
6 – Popcorn Sales Due to Chris
14 – Committee Meeting
25 – Road Cleanup
24-26 – Kramer’s/clay pigeon shoot
27 – PLC Meeting

November 2014: Knot tying
1 – Troop fundraiser supper
3, 10, 17 – Troop Meetings
18 – Committee Meeting
22-23 – Overnight/ rock climbing
24 – PLC Meeting

December 2014: Personal fitness/ management/advancement
1, 8 – Troop Meetings
9 – Committee Meeting
13 – Snow Tubing/Christmas Party
15 – Court Of Honor

January 2015: first aid/ fire safety
5, 12,19 – Troop Meetings
20 – Committee Meeting
24 – Water Park Brainerd
26 – PLC Meeting

February 2015: Uniforms/Sewing
2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
17 – Committee Meeting
20-22 – Camp Stearns
23 – PLC Meeting

March 2015: Merit badge/Advancements
2, 9, 16 – Troop Meetings
17 – Committee Meeting
21 – LPMRB Outing
23 – Court Of Honor
30 – PLC Meeting

April 2015: Cooking
6, 13, 20 – Troop Meetings
17-19 – Watchamagumee
18 – Scouting for food drop off
25 – Road Cleanup/scouting for food pick up
21 – Committee Meeting
27 – PLC Meeting

May 2015: Swim Safety
4, 11, 18 – Troop Meetings
15-17- Ripley Rendezvous
18 – Summer Camp Meeting (Parents & Scouts)
19 – Committee Meeting
25 – PLC Meeting

June 2015 Fire Starting/Campfires
1, 8, 15 – Troop Meetings
16 – Committee Meeting
19-21 – Camp out/Disc Golf
22 – Court Of Honor
29 – PLC Meeting

July 2015: Summer Camp
12-18 – Summer camp

August 2015: Geocaching/ Hike safety
1 – Yearly Planning Session
3, 10, 17- Troop Meetings
18 – Committee Meeting
21-23- Sibley Camp Out
24 – PLC Meeting

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    dining hallI arrived at the Central Minnesota Council office early for Tuesday night’s roundtable so I spent some time checking out the Scout Shop. There was only a couple of us looking around when the clerk asked me if she could help me find anything, like books, awards, Christmas items…

    The mention of Christmas items caught my attention immediately. Just last week I had checked the scoutstuff.com website to see if there were any new pieces for the Scouting Village that had began two years ago. I was anxious to see if this village would be continued and what this year’s pieces would be. Unfortunately, I found nothing on the website. So when the Scout Shop clerk mentioned Christmas items I had to ask about the Scouting Village.

    She replied that they had received the new pieces that very afternoon and have not had a chance to get them on the shelves yet. Awesome, I thought. I asked if I could see them and followed her into the storage room where she opened the carton. I believe I was the first Scouting volunteer in my council to see the new pieces, and this year’s building grabbed my attention.

    The newest building in the series is the Lighted Dining Hall. I thought is was well designed and quite colorful, but a little small in scale for a dining hall. Only one troop would fit in here, I thought. Oh well, it is a village building piece and they are not in the same scale as the people or even other buildings. It is still a pretty cool looking piece and I am anxious to add it to my set up this year. The website states (Yes, it can now be bought online), “A welcome addition to the holiday Scouting Village, this piece enhances any collection. Porcelain rendering of a BSA camp dining hall is beautifully detailed—complete with outdoor picnic tables!”

    The next piece that I noticed was the “Tree Sales” Figurine. I like this piece because it reminds me of the years that Boy Scout Troop 68 sold Christmas Trees as a fundraiser. The website says, “Premium-quality accessory adds character and dimension to your Lighted Scouting Village scenes. Polyresin tree figurine features a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Leader hard at work on a Christmas tree sales lot.” I have to agree the the figures do add quite a bit to the Scouting Village scene.

    The third and final piece of this year’s collection is the “Popcorn Tree” Figurine. This piece features a Boy Scout and Cub Scout decorating a Christmas Tree. The site says, “There’s nothing more iconic to BSA than popcorn! This polyresin figurine features a Cub Scout and Boy Scout decorating a tree with popcorn garland and ornaments.” I thought this could be a great gift for the unit’s “popcorn kernel”, the chairperson of the popcorn fundraiser.

    I bought all three pieces right then. I was not going to wait and have the same thing happen to me that happened two years ago when I waited too long to buy them and missed out on getting the Trading Post. (I still do not have one.) I look forward to late November when I set up my new expanded village. I think this will be the last year I will be able to use that piece of plywood I use for the base.

    I was not the only person who bought the set that evening. Within ten minutes of my purchase another set was bought and the Scout Shop was out of the Lighted Dining Halls. Since I am a roundtable commissioner I also took time during the meeting to give a quick shout out for this year’s Scouting Village.

    Have you been collecting the buildings and figurines? What do you think of this year’s additions?

    http://www.scoutstuff.org/house-lightd-dining-hall.html

    http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-tree-sales.html

    http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-popcorn-tree.html

    trees for sale
    popcorn tree

     

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      cmcupopcornIt is the season for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts across central Minnesota to be out knocking on doors to sell popcorn! I already have my 30 pack case of microwave popcorn ordered. How about you? Or do you need a Boy Scout to stop by your house so that you can place an order?

      The local credit union is helping spread the word by posting a note on the marque. There should be a lot of people who see this since the business is located right on Main Street in Melrose. The troop would like to thank them for their help in this fundraiser.

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        SeptRoundtableLast night was the first Tuesday of September. That means the Scenic District roundtables have started once again! I must have done something right last year as the assistant roundtable commissioner because Commissioner Al asked me back for a second year. I was not sure if I really wanted to do it for another year, but I forgot how to say “no” so I guess I have the position again. I had fun last year so I have a feeling I will have fun again this year.

        The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by announcements of upcoming events and meetings. Then we hit the main course of the session: New Parents and what to do with them. We discussed the first parent meeting and what should be covered with them. We also discussed leadership recruitment and first training, such as Youth Protection. We even touched on the problem of those parents who treat Scouting as a daycare service. Fourteen Boy Scout leaders from across the district were in attendance and many of them entered into the discussion. It was a roundtable in the full sense of the word.

        Shortly after the halfway point of the evening we divided the group into teams and went outside to play Ultimate Frisbee. Some of the men had already played the game within their troops, but a few had not so we took just a couple minutes to give the short rules. It was a bit confusing at first once the game began, not so much because people did not understand the rules, but because there were too many Scout uniforms, It was hard to keep track of who was on who’s team. After a few minutes we got that figured out and everyone began to get into the spirit of the sport. We played for about 10 or 15 minutes before going back inside for the rest of the meeting.

        Once we sat back at the tables and everyone caught their breath, Al lead a discussion on what was learned during the game. What could we have done better? What leadership skills were needed? Organizational skills? Was there any sort of team building? That lead to a larger discussion of how we can use games within our troop meetings and activities to teach Scouts various skills that will help them through their time in Scouting.

        The meeting ended with the Outdoor Code. I noticed a few small groups of leaders talking to each other after the roundtable. Let the mini-roundtables begin!

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          2001nationaljambopatchesMaybe I should not have done it. After all, it has been 13 years since that event was held. But I had a good time and a great group of Scouts along so I will always remember the 2001 National Jamboree fondly. So, last night I decided to try to expand my collection of patches from the Jamboree. I decided to try my luck on eBay.

          When I buy patches for my collection I have a rule I kind of follow: unless it is a very special patch that I really want badly I will only pay up to $5.00 per patch. Of course, this means there are quite a few patches that I will probably never add to my collection because the people selling them price them too high for my budget, like the Marvel hero patches or the dinosaur patches. I also prefer to buy patches as sets or lots. I like sets because I can (maybe) get all the patches from that council in one lump grouping. I like lots because they usually are priced as less than $5.00 per patch, plus I add more patches to the collection quickly.

          I bid on or bought patches from four actions last night, and added another four to my eBay watch list. The best of the batch was a ten patch set of Jamboree shoulder patches from Indian Nations Council. It is one of those council sets in which the same patch design was used for all ten troops, with a different border color for each troop, which is actually a popular way to provide different patches for each troop but also keep the cost to a minimum for the participating Boy Scouts. (The picture only shows six of them.)

          The other auctions include council shoulder patches from the West Central Florida Council, the Blue Ridge Council, and the Crater Lake Council, and a two patch set of Order of the Arrow patches from the Sakuwit Lodge. The auction description stated this lodge does not exist anymore. This lodge was located in the Central New Jersey Council which was dissolved in February 2014. I look forward to adding this set to my collection since they have now become a part of Scouting history.

          This will add 15 patches to my 2001 National Jamboree collection. These patches will force me to start a second three ring binder. I will probably put council shoulder patches in one book and OA patch sets in the other. I may need to order the few more pages in which to place the patches. I will worry about that after I receive the patches.

          Sakuwit

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            ice bucket challengeI am sure you have all seen it online, on one social site or another. One person challenges another to donate to the ALS foundation and/or pour a bucket of ice water over their head. It is currently quite popular, and at the time I write this the organization has received over $70 million dollars from nearly two million donors in only 27 days. Not a bad fundraiser.

            I have watched videos of people I know on Facebook accepting the challenge. Videos of friends I know, relatives, and even former Boy Scout Troop 68 members. No one has named me to the challenge. Until today. Nathan Blommel, an alumni of Troop 68, and a former tennis and racquetball buddy, decided to include me in his challenge.

            I do not do well with cold. I seldom went swimming with the troop unless it was a very hot day and the water was fairly warm. I did not do very much winter camping when I was a scoutmaster. My body temperature drops quickly and I start shivering uncontrollably. It is not a very pleasant experience. I can easily see myself turning into one of those Minnesota winter snowbirds, who travel to the warm southern states, once I retire.

            But a challenge is a challenge, and needs to have a response, so here is the video for you all to see.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUWJ6GRm85Y&feature=youtu.be

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              trexfootprint1Bob and I had a quick discussion about what we would do that Wednesday afternoon in June. We were at the Philmont Training Center and trying to plan our afternoon activity since there were no classes to attend. Philmont offered several options. I wanted to take a hike into the mountains, maybe go to the Tooth of Time. Bob wanted to check out the T-Rex footprint since he had never seen it during his previous visits to Philmont. The hike to the Tooth was not an option presented to us. I had not seen the footprint either, and it would give us an afternoon in the mountains, so we agreed to visit the fossil.

              Philmont has the distinction of having the only documented Tyrannosaurus rex track in the world. It was discovered within the camp’s boundaries in 1993. It was formally identified in 1994 in North Ponil Canyon near the Anasazi Trail Camp. A cast of the famous T-Rex footprint found outside the Philmont museum matches the real one found near Ponil Canyon.

              Wednesday afternoon arrived. Bob and I and several other Scouters and family members gathered for a short bus ride that would take us to the drop off point at which we would start our hike into the mountains. Two Philmont rangers joined us to be our guides.

              It was great being in the Philmont backcountry once again. It had been ten years since my last visit to the ranch, and this time my hike would not involve wearing a full backpack. Our tour group included a young family and an older couple who were in their eighties. It was a nice easy going hike that actually followed a road. A hiking trail was seen a short distance to our left. I was hoping to get a picture of a crew as they hiked to their next campsite.

              The trail to the footprint was supposed to be a short walk from our drop off point. We soon discovered that this was also the first time our rangers would visit the site also. They were as excited to see it as we were. Unfortunately, everyone in the group was taking and enjoying the hike so much that we walked right by the trail and did not even notice it.

              I got a bit suspicious when I noticed we had come across a backcountry campsite. The rangers pulled out their maps to determine where we were. I notice a trail sign up ahead so I ran up to see what it said. Yep. We had gone too far. The T-rex footprint was now behind us.

              Most of the group was okay with the extra hiking we had done but everyone had noticed the older couple was having a tougher time of it. They were getting pretty slow and quite tired. By the time we arrived back at the trail we needed to be at the older woman decided to stay behind and rest. The trail looked steeper and more rugged than the road and she did not want to risk it. Her husband decided to check out the site.

              The three-toed T-rex footprint was not quite what I expected. I thought it would be an indentation into a fossilized rock or something. Instead, it was a footprint that stuck out of the fossil. The actual footprint had filled with something after being made by the dinosaur and actually became a relief of the print. I also wondered how the experts had determined this was the footprint of a  Tyrannosaurus rex. It was still cool to see it.

              The site is now surrounded by a fence to keep people and larger animals off the fossil and causing any damage. A roof offers some protection from rain and the harsh sunlight. One of the people in the group told me the fence and roof were a recent addition to the site. I was glad to see the protective measures taken. Hopefully many future generations will be able to see the footprint.

              Since we hiked a bit further than planned we were running behind schedule. One of the rangers ran ahead to tell the bus driver to wait for us. I was able to get the picture I wanted of a crew hiking a Philmont trail. The older gentleman of our group was determined to walk all the way back to the bus, even though we could tell he was physically pushing it further than he should. His wife gladly accepted a ride in a staff pickup that just happened to meet us on the road.

              That evening Bob and I bought a patch as a souvenir of our trip to the T-rex footprint. We had both enjoyed our short trip into the Philmont backcountry. I had taken quite a few pictures during the hike, but it would be back to the classroom in the morning. Add it as one more great memory of my 2014 trip to Philmont Scout Ranch.

              trexfootprint2

              .
              Here is a picture of the crew we saw during the hike.

              philmontcrew2014

               

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                Bear Skin SignWhat do you think of when you hear the words “bear skin”? Is your first thought a bear skin rug? Maybe a sporting game between the Bears and the Redskins? Maybe a sunburn after sitting with bare skin in the sun too long? One of the things I think of is summer camp. It was the name of the campsite my troop used for two years when I attended camp as a youth.

                I attended Parker Scout Reservation of the Central Minnesota Council for three years during the mid-1970′s. It is a small camp by some summer camp standards, but it was the home of Troop 68 and other troops for a week of fun and excitement. In its earlier days it was called Camp Clyde. These days it is sometimes called Camp Parker. It closed as a summer camp in the late 1970′s but is still used as a weekend camp for council Boy Scout and Cub Scout activities. Troop 68 has used the camp on several occasions over the years for their own weekend activities.

                The council has done several major renovations and additions to Camp Parker during the last few decades. The old dining hall was completely renovated and an addition was built onto it. A storage building was added next to it at the same time. A new shower house was constructed back in the nineties. Several older buildings have been remodeled with new heating systems installed. The biggest addition to Camp Parker took place when the castle was built. Yes, you read that correctly. A castle. (Pictures of the castle can be seen at http://www.bsacmc.org/photo_gallery_miller_castle.html .)

                A few months ago I received a phone call at work asking if the lumber yard would like to donate some cedar lumber so new signs could be built for the campsites. The signs were getting pretty run down and looked rather shoddy. I did not even give my boss a chance to reply to the request. I used this as a chance for myself to give back a little to the place I have been going to for four decades. I donated the materials.

                But I had one request. I wanted the old campsite sign of the camp I stayed in as a young Boy Scout. I wanted the old Bear Skin sign. I was told that should not be a problem and that they would set it aside for me.

                That was a couple months ago. Yesterday, when I arrived back home from working at my parents renovation project, I found something placed between my front door and combination door. Later in the morning my district executive had stopped by my house on his way through town and dropped off the sign. Other than patches and pictures, this is the first item from Camp Parker I have been able to add to my Scouting collection.

                The sign was actually in decent shape considering it has weathered several Minnesota winters and summers. I really have no idea how long this sign has marked the campsite. I would doubt it is the same sign that welcomed Boy Scouts in the 1970′s, but it is a piece of camp history and I am happy to have it in my collection.

                Below you can see a map of Parker Scout Reservation from a camporee probably held in the early 1990′s. As you can see, Parker is not a big camp but it really does not matter. I have made a lot of great Scouting memories there.

                ParkerMapb

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