MPSC2014P1The opening campfire of a week of Boy Scout summer camp. It is time to meet the staff that will play an important role during the success of your troop’s time at camp. Is the staff enthusiastic? Are they energetic? Are they ready to provide you with the totally awesome program you have come to expect from camp? Are they a little bit crazy? In the case of the 2014 Many Point Scout Camp Buckskin staff, the answer is yes to all the above, and their opening campfire was a great demonstration of how enthusiastic and crazy they could be.

This video was recorded during the July 6, 2014, opening campfire. This will be the first of a few videos filmed during the campfire that will be posted to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. As you can see when you watch this, this year’s staff was pumped to start working with a new week of Boy Scout campers. This video features the staff introductions and the singing of the Many Point Rouser. As all “repeat after me” songs, it gets pretty loud and rowdy by the end.

Video Information: 960 x 540, time 05:22, 145.4 MB. m4v format.

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    mpsc2014bThe Boy Scouts have come home. About an hour and a half ago the ten Boy Scouts and two adult leaders of Melrose Troop 68 arrived home from spending the week at Many Point Scout Camp in northwest Minnesota. From the few minutes I was able to talk to them I discovered they had a great time but were ready to get home, clean up, and get back to life with their families.

    The ten Scouts did an excellent job earning advancement while they were at camp. When I left them Monday afternoon I made a deal with them. I told them that if they earned a total of 25 completed merit badges during the week I would host a movie/pizza party. Eight of them were earning the Cooking merit badge which I did not think they could complete during camp so I did not count these against the total. I thought that 25 badges would present a good goal but would still be challenging.

    Someday I will learn my lesson for betting against the Scouts. They earned their goal and went beyond it. They came home with 33 completed merit badges. It might be 34 after we check one Scout’s camping outings to see if he completed his Camping Merit Badge. Eight of these merit badges were the Cooking badge. It seems that with the new requirements this year the boys can complete the award during the week at camp. Oh well, even if I took the eight Cooking merit badges off the total it still leaves 25 completed badges, which met the goal. I guess I better get ready to buy some pizzas.

    Here is a breakdown of the merit badges earned at summer camp this year:
    8- Cooking, 2- Climbing, 2- Environmental Science, 4- Fishing,
    1- Fish and Wildlife Management, 1- Forestry, 3- Game Design,
    2- Geocaching, 1- Kayaking, 1- Lifesaving, 1- Mammal Study,
    1- Nature, 1- Rowing, 1- Shotgun Shooting, 3- Weather,
    1- Wilderness Survival (and possibly 1- Camping).

    Congratulations to all the Boy Scouts for doing a great job at camp this week. Even though they earned a lot of badges while at camp they still managed to have a lot of fun and participate in in lots of activities.

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      scoutcamp“Many Point Scout Camp. That’s the place to be. It’s where the best of Scouting is and that’s the place for me. You hear the loon a’calling, and the Little Beaver roar, and you’ll come again the legend says, just like the Scouts of yore.”

      You can almost hear the staff singing this song as you drive into the parking lot near the Administration Building and Welcome Center of Many Point Scout Camp. Maybe the ten Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 were not thinking about the song, but I was as I parked the car. You could really feel the excitement from the staff as the new campers arrived for the week of July 6th.

      The Scouts of Troop 68 have been spending a week of their summers at MPSC for 25 years. The troop stays in the Buckskin Camp, one of the four camps available at Many Point. In Buckskin, the Scouts eat in the dining hall instead of cooking their own meals.

      My car was one of three vehicles bringing the Melrose Scouts to camp. The trip took nearly three and a half hours with a stop along the way for lunch in Wadena. The three Scouts who rode with me had an extra reason for choosing my vehicle. We worked on a couple requirements for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge.

      Since I planned to spend the night at camp I helped to set up the adult leader’s tent while the senior patrol leader and acting scoutmaster were meeting with our camp counselor at one of the campsite picnic tables. During the rest of the afternoon the Scouts stopped by the dining hall for instructions, stopped at the beachfront for safety talks and swim checks, and finished setting up their camp.

      One reason I wanted to stay for the night was to watch the opening campfire program. I was hoping to record a good video or two of the songs and skits the staff would perform. I hit the jackpot! The staff did an outstanding job. Even the Scouts who have been to camp for a few years were laughing and enjoying the program. I plan to post some of the video to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast so check checking back for that.

      Monday morning arrived. One of the Scouts and I were anxiously awaiting the arriving of our camp councilor and the schedule of the troop’s afternoon activities for the week.The Scout had broke his arm Saturday evening and he was wondering if it would be worthwhile for him to stick around for the week. Yes, he could work on merit badges during the morning sessions, but would there be activities he could take part in during the afternoon session?

      The camp councilor brought the schedule after breakfast during the first merit badge session. I looked it over and when the Scout returned to the campsite we reviewed it together. Yes, the swimming activities and climbing tower were out for him, but we agreed that he could participate in 3/4 of the rest of the schedule. The assistant scoutmaster offered to work with him on his First Class Rank during those activities that he would not be able to partake in. The Scout decided to stay for the week.

      I decided to leave camp early Monday afternoon. I said goodbye to the Scouts as they left for their first afternoon troop activity, which happened to be a nature canoe trip. I did sit down at the picnic table to play a couple quick hands of rummy with Eymard, our acting scoutmaster for the week. After we both won a game I decided it was time to leave.

      I think the Boy Scouts will have a great time at Many Point this summer. They have a fun afternoon schedule and are enjoying their merit badge classes. The camp staff seems pumped and enthusiastic which will really help the Scouts have a fun and enjoyable week.

      Where is your troop going to camp this summer?

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        Philmont PatchToday is the day! Today marks the one millionth camper at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. That is a lot of Scouts! To commemorate this milestone a new patch has gone on sale at the Tooth Of Time Traders website. What do you think of this patch?

        I wanted to buy this patch last month when I was at the Philmont Training Center but they were not selling them yet. The Philmont decision makers decided to wait until this date to release the patch for sale. I did get to see the patch while I was there. They had already given them out to the staff members and one of them showed me his patch as we hiked one afternoon to see the T-Rex footprint. I will admit I was a little envious, but I got over it.

        Bob and I will now have to go to the website to place our order, which can be found at the Tooth of Time Traders site listed below.  http://www.toothoftimetraders.com/2014-Adventure-Patch/PABAADJPFCJOEKNF/Product .

        Do you plan to buy this patch and add it to your collection?

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          Philmont Wagon 1984

          Philmont!  I attended a week long session at the Philmont Training Center (PTC) this month and on the way back from the trip to New Mexico Bob and I looked at the pictures I had taken of my trip to the facility in 1984, which also happened to be the first time I visited Philmont Scout Ranch. It was interesting to see what had changed over the last three decades, and also what had stayed the same. If you have been to the ranch a few times over the decades you will know what I mean.

          I thought those of you who have been to training center years ago might enjoy seeing this slideshow of my 1984 trip posted to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. Even those of you who have been there recently will enjoy seeing the new buildings and other changes to both the training center and the base camp from which the Boy Scouts leave on their 12 day treks into the backcountry. You will notice that one of the biggest and best changes has been the new Welcome Center at the base camp.

          By the way, three of the songs used in the video are song by members of the Philmont staff over thirty years ago. They are from a cassette tape I bought in 1984 at the base camp trading post. The album is called Philsongs: Remembered Days. I checked the store this month and did not see this available to buy anymore, is cassette or cd formats. I converted the cassette to mp3′s several years ago so I could listen to the songs on my iPod.

          Video Information: 640×360, time 10:31, 108.9 MB. m4v format.

          Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
          Subscribe to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
          or through iTunes  (and rate the show).
          Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store. It is great to read what you think of these videos.

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            Philmont Sunset 0871aA few things came to mind as I took a late evening walk around Melrose tonight that was different from taking a walk at Philmont Scout Ranch:
            1) It is a lot more humid in Minnesota then it is in New Mexico.
            2) It stays lighter about an hour later in central Minnesota than it does at Philmont.
            3) There are a lot more mosquitoes in Minnesota than Philmont, which reminds me that MN is where skeeters are raised and then exported to the rest of the country.
            4) There is a lot more traffic in Melrose than at Philmont Scout ranch.
            5) I already miss those late night Philmont walks with Scouting friends that would take us to the Base Camp trading post for an ice cream cone before heading back to PTC.

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              PTCdeerWell, the week is now a part of history. Last week I spent my vacation at the Philmont Training Center at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. It was awesome! Sunny every day. Not a drop of rain. Great Scouters and instructors everywhere. And only one mosquito bit me. (Several dozen would bite me during a weekend outing in Minnesota.) And to top it off, I actually learned a few things about advancement, which is saying something after spending 30 years as a scoutmaster.

              The food was fantastic. I had lost 25 pounds before going to Philmont, from 193 to 168. Yes, I hit my goal, but I knew that going on vacation to PTC it would be hard to keep up the diet. So I didn’t. The food prepared in the dining hall by the PTC staff was great. I never went away hungry. If you did not like the main course, you could fix something at the hot bar. If that did not meet your taste buds you could always fix yourself a salad or a sandwich of your choice. And if those did not suit your mood, well, fix yourself a bowl of cereal. I was a little worried when I stepped on the scale this morning. I guess all that walking while at PTC paid off. I only gained  four pounds back. I should have that gone by the end of next week or sooner.

              My camera and iPad were busy during the trip. I usually took a few hundred photos when I was at Philmont in the past. I really outdid myself this year thanks to digital technology. In fact, I set a record not only for my trips to Philmont, but for any vacation I have ever taken. I have 907 photos of the trip between the two cameras. I also have 33 videos taken of various events through the week, including a talk given to my my class by  the National Commissioner Tico Perez. Photos and videos came to over 14 GB. Do you think I might have overdone it a bit?

              Yep, it was a great trip, made better by sharing it with Bob, my district executive from the Central Minnesota Council. Keep a watch on this blog during the next few weeks as I share more stories, photos, and videos from the trip.

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                PhilmontPTCpatrol1984My first trip to the Philmont Training Center (PTC) was shortly before my 24th birthday in 1984. It was my first trip on a plane. It was my first trip away from Minnesota on my own. In fact, it was my first trip anywhere on my own. Yes, I was quite nervous. Was it worth it? Yeah sure, you betcha!

                That training course was “Boy Scout Skills For Scoutmasters”. Scoutmasters from around the country came to learn about doing a great job in the role they held. The instructors were Carl Nelson and Jim Boeger. They did a fantastic job of leading the conference and made it both fun and enjoyable. I was even able to get Jim Boeger to sign a copy of his book The Scoutmaster.

                The course participants were divided into patrols, just like a Boy Scout troop. I was a member of the Daniel Boone Patrol. I think the age of the members of our patrol spanned forty years, but it did not matter. We were all there to learn new skills and have fun. And we did. (pictures of this trip can be seen in my Flickr album at
                https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevejb68/sets/72157622517598000/

                It will be thirty years to the month, this month, when I travel to PTC for a second training conference. Bob, my district executive, and I will be taking a new course for 2014, “Increasing Advancement By Delivering Excellence”. According to the brochure:

                It has long been said in the BSA that the best advancement comes through participation in exciting activities. Units presenting programs with “built-in” opportunities to fulfill advancement requirements not only retain youth through the rewards of recognition and develop confidence through advancement, but they retain youth because every meeting, every outing, every adventure, leaves them wanting more. How is such programming planned and promoted? What is the responsibility of the council and district advancement committees? What can commissioners, trainers, and members of camping committees do? If you are a unit leader, a volunteer involved in the advancement program, a commissioner, a trainer, or anyone else connected with district operations that is interested in building the rate of advancement through excellence in program delivery, then join us at Philmont!

                Bob and I are looking forward to this conference and bringing back new ideas for our troops and district. I also look forward to meeting Scouters from around the country. I hope to get a little patch trading done while I am there. I was not prepared for trading council strips when I first attended in 1984. In fact, now that I think about it, things could be a bit different this time around. After all, in 1984 there were no home computers, iPhones, iPads, or digital photography. I thought I took quite a few pictures last time. That will be a small number compared to what I plan to take this time.

                If you are there during this time I invite you to look me up. Let’s trade patches!

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