imageDid you watch the Academy Awards last night? I watched the first thirty minutes and the last two hours. I thought Chris Rock did a pretty good job as the host. His opening monologue was funny and had a nice bite to it. I can not say I agree with most of the awards during the evening because, to tell the truth, I did not see most of the movies that were nominated.

It seems that each year the host has to do something out of the ordinary to put his or her mark on the show. Ellen did one of the best ones when she posted the celebrity selfie. I like Chris’ little stunt this year. He had his daughter’s Girl Scout Troop sell cookies to the millionaire stars of the Academy. Talk about a great night for cookie sales. How can a millionaire say no to buying cookies when they are live on television? The girls sold over $65,000 worth of the treats.

So here is my question. Do the Boy Scouts get to sell popcorn at next year’s Oscars celebration? Think about all the caramel corn and chocolate covered popcorn they could sell. Think of the p.r. the Boy Scouts could get with over a billion people watching worldwide. It would be awesome.

Of course, I know it will not happen. Unless, maybe, next year’s host has a son or two who are Boy Scouts. I have to give Chris Rock a thumb’s up. It was a great way to sell a lot of cookies.

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    blueandgold13The Cub Scouts and families of Melrose Pack 68 held their annual Blue and Gold Banquet on Monday, February 15th at the Melrose American Legion. Sixteen of the eighteen Cub Scouts attended the event. I was quite happy with the turnout.

    The Central Minnesota Council sent a representative to talk about Friends of Scouting, the yearly fundraiser for the council. If the pack met its goal of about $650 it would receive free rank patches for the year. I was very surprised when the pack not only met the goal but surpassed it by collecting over $1000 in donation and pledges. It was great to see the parents demonstrating how they value the Scouting program.

    After the meal we began the award ceremony. The commander of the American Legion gave a short talk and stated the Legion was proud to be the sponsor for the Cub Scout Pack. The Legion allows us the use of their facility for both the banquet and the Pinewood Derby. It is great to have a charter sponsor that is more than just a signature on the recharter once a year.

    The award ceremony began with each of the Cub Scouts receiving a patch for attending the Blue and Gold Banquet. A few dozen belt loops were presented to the Tigers, Wolves, and Bears. It was the most belt loops I have ever had the pleasure of awarding the Scouts. The boys were quite excited as they stepped up to the stage, by den, to receive their achievements. The first year Webelos Scouts also did quite well. Each of them received two activity pins to add to their shoulder colors. Those strips will look very sharp by the end of the year of they keep this up, as will the belts of the younger Scouts.

    As the meeting drew to an end I had a little surprise for the Scouts. Last year I presented each of the boys a comic book donated by a local comic book store. This year, in a nod to the new movie, each Cub Scout received a Star Wars: The Force Awakens trading card. Each card had been inserted back into a wrapper so the boys did not know which one they received until they returned to their seat. They Scouts seemed quite excited about receiving a trading card.

    I had enough Star Wars cards left over so I invited each of the siblings who had attended the banquet to come up and choose one for themselves. Their grins were ear to ear, just like the Cub Scouts, as they stepped up to the stage to collect one. Ever the older siblings seemed to appreciate receiving a card.

    After the families had gone homeI stayed around for awhile talking to the Legion Commander and the caretaker of the facility. Both people expressed how pleased they were of the Cub Scouts and their families. The pack had cleaned the tables and stacked the chairs without being asked to do so. I think they were even a little proud of this Cub Scout pack they sponsored.

    The pack’s next activity will be a trip to the St. John University climbing wall. It will be fun to watch the boys test their skills, and courage, and they scale the 30 foot walls. It should be quite an interesting afternoon.

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      2016DerbyCars - 1I realize that many packs have completed their Pinewood Derbies, but I recently found this in my archives and thought it would be fun to share it again. Maybe these could be read during your council Pinewood Derby.

      In December of 2008, Len of Pack 15 sent out a mailing to those of us in the Yahoo “Cub Scout Talk” group that included a couple of poems about Pinewood derbies. I thought they were pretty good and thought you might enjoy reading them.

      NIGHT BEFORE PINEWOOD
      (A Poem)

      ‘Twas the night before Pinewood,
      His car still needed lead,
      He had done his very best,
      When his mom yelled “Get to bed!”
      He climbed under his blanket,
      His car wasn’t ready to race,
      The pinewood derby was tomorrow,
      There was a frown on his face.
      Just as his eyes closed, He heard something spin,
      It was Scout Saint Nick, coming to help him win!
      As he peeked from under the covers,
      Scout Saint Nick started to drill,
      To help his car speed, On its way down the hill.
      He splashed on some paint,
      And stuck on some wheels,
      He put the car on its stand,
      And clicked his boot heels.
      This woke the young scout,
      A happy Pinewood to all,
      And to all a good race!

      A PINEWOOD DERBY READING

      When I make my car, I hope that I can win.
      Everything is ready, the weight & shine & spin.
      The first race is the real test, to see how good it is.
      My helper is happy too, you’d think the car is his!
      Eventually I lose a race, and it is hard to take,
      But my helper and I sure had fun,
      Pinewood Derby car to make!

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        scout_ranksI have recently accepted the position of advancement coordinator for Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68, so I have been checking out the 2013 Committee Guidebook to see what my new responsibilities will be, and how much work I have gotten myself into. Let’s take a look.

        1) Encourage Scouts to advance in rank.

        This one should be easy enough. I was a scoutmaster for thirty years. I was always encouraging the Scout to advance. Now I will do it while wearing a different title.

        2) Work with the troop scribe to maintain all advancement records.

        This will be an interesting challenge since our troop has never asked this of the Boy Scout who holds the position of Troop Scribe. Do any of you readers have any suggestions that have worked well in your troop?

        3) Arrange quarterly board of reviews and courts of honor.

        This is an easy one. Our troop already does board of reviews as needed during committee meetings, once a month. Quarterly courts of honor have been a part of our yearly program since the early 1980’s.

        4) Develop and maintain a merit badge counselor list.

        This one is going to require some work. Our council is in the process of updating its counselor list so that will help a little. I think my goal needs to be finding more local counselors. We only have a few within Melrose. I will start with the parents of the Boy Scouts, and then try to find more outside of the troop. I think it would be great to find a local counselor for at least each of the Eagle Rank required merit badges.

        5) Make a prompt report on the correct form to the council service center when a troop board of review is held. Secure badges and certificates.

        We already do this quite well on the committee. This duty should not be a problem.

        6) Work with the troop librarian to build and maintain a troop library of merit badge pamphlets and other advancement literature.

        The troop librarian already has a small collection of merit badge pamphlets but it may be time to go through it with him and see if the books are outdated and need replacement, along with what other pamphlets may be needed.

        7) Report to the troop committee at each meeting.

        When I was the scoutmaster I made regular advancement reports at each committee meeting. The current scoutmaster does the same thing. I guess the main goal here would be to check in with him each month, at least once if not more, to catch up on the latest advancement completed and possible needs. Is there a way to help him achieve more advancement?

        One thing not listed as a responsibility but something encouraged by the committee guidebook is to check out internet advancement. Our troop has never used it. As a scoutmaster I could not use it because, at the time, it was not compatible with the Macintosh computer I use at home. No one on the committee back then was interested in taking on that responsibility. I understand that today it should work on a Macintosh computer so I shall have to check it out sometime. Until then we will continue to use the Troop Advancement Report form and turn it into the council office when we pick up the awards.

        Are there any other things your troop advancement coordinator does?

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          As a take a break from writing today I thought it would be a good time to introduce to you, or reintroduce to you, a song performed by the Boy Scouts of Troop 68. Years ago the troop would do an annual show they called Laughs For Lunch. It was a two hour campfire style show that featured songs and skits that were performed around many Scouting campfires. The troop did thirteen of these shows over the years but had to quit when the membership shrunk to seven Scouts.

          This song was performed by the Scouts as the opening song of one show. I think it reflects their humor quite well, and they did a good job with it. What do you think of it?

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            committee org chartShortly after I retired as the scoutmaster of Troop 68 a few years ago I became the troop committee treasurer. It did not take me long to realize that I did not care to hold that position. It was not that it took a lot of work. It was just that I did not enjoy it. Even when I was a scoutmaster I tried to stay away from the financial stuff of the troop. Now here I was smack in the middle of it.

            During last week’s troop committee meeting I was pleasantly surprised to find out another committee member was willing to take over the role of treasurer. He wanted to take on more responsibility within the troop but due to his schedule he was not able to make many of the meetings or outings. He thought this role would be a good fit for him. He and I will be getting together later this week to discuss the accounts and responsibilities of the position.

            Of course, this leaves me open to take on a different position on the committee, one that I have wanted to do for the last couple of years – the advancement coordinator. I think it is kind of ironic that this position has been offered to me right at the time the new Boy Scout advancement requirements take affect. I pretty much knew the old requirements by heart. I guess I better start reading that new handbook I just purchased.

            Our troop has never really had an active advancement coordinator. We did have someone who was going to do it a few years ago but he retired from the committee shortly after accepting the position. To tell the truth, as I look over the advancement coordinator’s responsibilities, I think I did many of them when I was the scoutmaster. Maybe, as I take on this role, I can lighten the load of the current scoutmaster.

            The main reason I accepted this new position was to work with the boys on their advancement requirements once again. It was one of my favorite things I did as the scoutmaster. Now, I realize this is mainly the scoutmaster’s job, but name one scoutmaster would does not like a little extra help. I would help out a couple times a year but I always felt like I was intruding on someone else’s responsibilities. I will have to have a talk with the scoutmaster about my new role.

            The worse part about accepting this new position is that I am currently serving as the cubmaster of the Cub Scout Pack. The pack meets on the first and third Mondays of the month. The troop meets on the first three Mondays of the month. After thinking about it, that might be for the best. By having a limited amount of time with the troop I will have to try to use the time to the best of my abilities.

            Do any of you have any suggestions for this new advancement coordinator?

            The committee organization chart was found on The Volun-told Scouter Blog, found at http://voluntoldscouter.blogspot.com/2011/01/committee.html

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              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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