I screwed up. I took out all my Scouting Village pieces this afternoon to set them up for Christmas. I was kind of excited because not only was I able to get all of this year’s pieces but my local Scout Shop was able to find the piece I missed from last year, the lighted Ranger’s Cabin. I thought I would be able to set up the whole collection!

I was wrong.

I discovered that I now own two Ranger’s Cabins. I was not missing the cabin. I was missing last year’s Trading Post! Arrrrrggggg! I should have looked in the cabinet one more time before I had the Scout Shop find me the piece I thought I was missing. I am rather upset with myself. I thought I would be able to post a picture to this blog featuring both year’s collections.

I took a quick look on eBay and did not like what I found. People are selling the $12.99 Trading Post for $75.00 as a starting bid. The cheapest bidding I found was for $40.00, but there are three days left in the auction so I know where that is going. One seller posted a Trading Post as a “buy it now” purchase of $129.00. Sorry, but I am not interested in paying that much for one piece. This are not Dept. 56 Village pieces, you know.

Well, I guess my Scouting village will have two Ranger’s Cabins. I will have to pretend that one is used as a trading post.

Thanks for Sharing!

    vistaroundtableOne of the things we are doing a bit different this year at the monthly Scenic District Boy Scout roundtable meetings is to break up the meeting, near the half way point, with a game, song, or skit. The goal is to introduce a new game or teach a new song or skit to troop leaders that they may take back to use in their own troops. One month we played one pitch kickball. The next month we played Tip with a frisbee. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves so far.

    Last month I lead the group in one of my favorite campfire songs, Vista. It is a sing-along, repeat after me type of silly song that also has some simple hand gestures. The words are a little hard to follow, and the song gets faster each time. It is a challenge to keep up and do well.

    I was joined by three newly beaded Wood Badgers in leading this song at the roundtable. As you will see, we all had fun, even though one gentleman had a little trouble keeping up with us. Did anyone care? Not a bit. That is part of the fun of the song.

    I would like to thank Dan Kuntz for providing the video for this post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast.

    I challenge you to learn the song and use it at your next meeting or campfire. Is your audience able to keep up with you?

    Click here to DOWNLOAD  this Podcast.
    Subscribe to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast
    at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
    or through iTunes  (Please take time to rate the show).
    Leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

    http://www.melrosetroop68.org/QTmov/VistaRoundtable540.m4v

    Thanks for Sharing!

      Christmas at Philmont

      If you have been on a Philmont trek that included the northern and central portions of the ranch, then chances are good that you have hiked through Santa Claus Camp. The camp is located in Santa Claus Canyon, north of Bear Canyon and southeast of Head of Dean Camp.

      I have been through Santa Claus Camp a few times on my Philmont treks. Usually, it was an unstaffed camp, but in 1992 I was surprised to discover that it had become a staffed camp, complete with a volleyball court for the day and a telescope for the evening. The crew had a great time there.

      The 1992 staff invited campers to write a story about how Santa Claus Camp received its name. A few members of my crew took the challenge. Al, one of our crew advisers, wrote a great story about the history of the site. Since it is the Christmas season I would like to share it with you.

      There was a lot of snow that winter of 1853, too much for the horses and tired people moving through the mountains of northern New Mexico. They had left in a train of wagons on the Santa Fe Trail, but were down to one wagon for two families; and they were lost. The wagon master, who knew the way to Cimarron, had died of typhoid on the plains of eastern Colorado. Now, they were nearing exhaustion as they searched through the canyons for human life.

      It was December 24, and there were tears in the eyes of the parents as they kissed their children good night, for there was a chance that some of them would never wake up.


      The sky was clear, with uncountable millions of stars, but the beauty of the night was swallowed by the intense cold. The Borgerdings and the Hansons were typical pioneer families, and they were near to meeting the fate that so many others met on the Westward march.


      It took a few minutes before they realized that there was a stranger at the fire, before their cold-numbed senses could react. He was an old mountain man that the Utes called White Cheeks due to the soft white beard on his face. He had on snow shoes and a pack which was full of freshly butchered mountain lion.
      Asking no questions, he stepped up to the fire and cooked his lion steaks for everyone. After eating he led them up to his cabin and safety.

      Of course the children called him Santa Claus, and since he offered no other name, the parents joined in. The mountain man stayed with them through that long winter, teaching them the skills they needed to survive in the mountains.
      In the spring, he loaded his beaver pelts in his pack and headed for the Taos Rendezvous. The Borgerdings and Hansons followed the clearly given directions to Cimarron where they told the story of Santa Claus to its inhabitants.

      White Cheeks never got to Taos, nor was he ever again seen alive. The people who come to his canyon on Christmas Eve know that there is an old white faced mountain man sitting over a fire, and even though no lion has lived here for many years, there are always plenty of lion steaks for everyone. If you ask him, he’ll tell you about the winter of 1853, and the families that called him Santa Claus.

      Do you have any Christmas stories about your Scouts? Share them with us and leave a comment.

      Thanks for Sharing!

        patchblanket2layoutI recently completed my first Scouting patch blanket. I have received several positive comments about it already. One Scouter even wrote to say he may start his own after seeing the pictures of mine. I say, go for it. It is a great way to display the patches collected through the years. Much better than a notebook anyway. Unfortunately, my first blanket only displays patches collected to 1996. I have a lot more patches so it is time to think about creating a second blanket.

        Today I began laying out the patches for that second blanket. The 4 foot by 4 foot piece of paneling I used to staple the patches to only went up to 2004, so I had to start looking around the house for last nine years worth of patches. You see, I did not have one nice place that I would put them after each outing. This could be interesting.

        I began looking in the closet cabinet in my basement family room. I keep a lot of Scouting stuff in there. I did find quite a few in the various small totes but I knew there was more of them. I checked my briefcase, the bedroom, the office, and the kitchen. (I did actually find a couple in the kitchen.) I soon had enough patches to make a couple more rows.

        I found a few Many Point Scout Camp patches but they did not have years shown on the design. Time to do a online search on the Many Point virtual patch collection. I discovered the years of all the patches on the site except for one. For some reason the site only shows patches to 2010. I hope that one patch is for 2012 because that is were I plan to place it.

        No one will be playing table tennis at my house for awhile. As you can see in the picture, the second blanket is laying on half the table. The patches are laid out on the other half. Last time it took me nearly a year to create a patch blanket. The goal this time is to finish the new blanket by Christmas. This year. Or at least by the end of 2013.

        I do have a question for those of you who have created your own patch blankets. Have you put your Scouting knots on your blanket?

        Thanks for Sharing!

          startrekking2000It is time for for the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 to add another skit, or is it a song, to the list of videos on the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. The video comes from the troop’s Laughs for Lunch Show performed in January 2000. It features the members of the Hazardous Hawk Patrol doing their version of a troop original, Star Trekking: The Next Generation.

          This is a skit that takes a bit of practice. The Hawks did an excellent job of claiming this skit as their own for a couple years. It is also an excellent example of performers really getting into their roles. By the end of the skit the boys (Josh, Alex, Mike, Nathan, Sergio, and Blake) are acting like they are excited, hyper, or something. It is all in good fun and really adds to the song.

          Here are the words to the refrain:
          Star Trekking, across the universe.
          On a ship that splits in two, with Q who’s such a jerk.
          Star Trekking, across the universe.
          Only going forward ’cause Worf has broke reverse.

          Another version of this song can be found at MSPP #54: Star Trekking: The Next Generation. Watch them both and let us know which one you enjoy the most.

          Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
          Subscribe to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast
          at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
          or through iTunes  (Please take time to rate the show).
          Leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

          Thanks for Sharing!

            2013-11-26 patch blanketIt is hard to believe that it is nearly three years since I first seriously began thinking of taking thirty years of patches from various Scouting events and sewing them on a blanket like so many Scouters have done. In the summer of 2012 I laid out one of my Scouting blankets on my ping pong table and started placing patches to see how it would look, and play around with an arrangement. After six months I came to the conclusion the patches were not going to sew themselves so in January of this year I began sewing patches.

            After the first row was sewn, the blanket laid untouched for a few months. I do not like to sew. Finally, the second row was complete. By the time I was working on the third row I discovered I had a hard time keeping the patches straight and that the blanket was starting to bunch up a bit. I tried an experiment when I began the fourth row. I had a bottle of Fabri-Tac so I tried spot glueing the patches into place to try to keep them straight. It worked, very well in fact. I decided to try using only glue on a few patches to see if they would stay without sewing. They did. Sewing was now done. The rest of the patches would be glued into place.

            Last Sunday I finished the last three rows on the blanket. It took me nearly 11 months from when I first grabbed a needle and thread. If the Fabri-Tac had not worked well I would bet the blanket would not be even one third of the way completed today. I was able to glue 4 patches in the same time I was able to sew one patch. I just had to be careful. I only had one chance to place a patch properly when I glued it.

            There one hundred forty two patches in twelve rows on the blanket, including the segment patches from summer camp. For the bottom half I used a straight edge to keep the patches in line. The first patch is from a 1980 council camporee. The last patches were from the 1996 summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp. Patches from Wood Badge, Philmont Scout Ranch, and awards earned at the summer camp rifle range are included. In the middle of the blanket I placed an assistant scoutmaster and a scoutmaster patch to represent those troop positions I held during those 16 years. A roundtable commissioner patch can be found along the left edge. Order of the Arrow conclave patches and one from the 1995 B.S.A National Meeting complete the blanket.

            The only thing left is to find a way to display the blanket when it is part of Scouting displays set up around town. The best thing I have found online so far is an expandable garment rack. I am open for suggestions if you have any.

            If you click on the picture a larger version will appear. Which one is your favorite patch? Do you see the one from America’s Funniest Home Videos? How does this blanket compare to your patch blanket? Send me a picture and I may post a future article featuring your blankets.

            Now it is time to consider starting work on the second blanket….

            Thanks for Sharing!

              Vintage Boy Scout PatrolFor the last several years Boy Scout Troop 68 of Melrose was holding on to life with a small group of Scouts, only about 8 of them. The Cub Scout Pack has also had a rough time recruiting members which meant that the troop has only had 2 Webelos Scouts transfer to the troop during the last 7 years. Due to that low number there has only been one patrol.

              The Boy Scouts really went out this year and tried to recruit their friends into the troop, and they have been quite successful. They have brought six more boys into the program. The troop now has 13 members. That means there is too many for one patrol so for the first time in seven(?) years we have two patrols, which the Scouts formed last month.

              The patrol with most of the older boys decided to keep the existing patrol name, the Border Patrol. The mostly younger boy patrol has decided to call themselves the Striking Cobras. Last week I presented the patrols with a competition. A patrol needs a patrol flag, of course, so I gave them the challenge to come with the best patrol flag. The flags will be judged at the  court of honor to be held on December 23 by myself and two committee members. The patrol with the best flag will be presented with the Best Of Flag prize, which will be something they can eat.

              During the troop meeting tonight the patrols spent their patrol meeting time working on the designs of those flags. It looked like both patrols are taking the competition seriously. If fact, the members of the Border Patrol did not even want me to see the various rough drafts of their flag design. I just smiled to myself as I walked away.

              Having more then one patrol in the troop has been a learning experience for both the Scouts and the new scoutmaster. The boys have learned very quickly that patrols can be used as teams for game time during troop meetings. It will be interesting to see how menu planning and patrol campsites will be done on the next camping trip. I have to admit that it is nice to have one more patrol leader attending the patrol leader council meetings.

              I promise that in December, after the court of honor, I will post pictures of the two patrol flags. Maybe I will have you readers be the judges of an online vote for your favorite flag.

              Thanks for Sharing!

                Patch BlanketI do not know about you, but I hate sewing. Maybe one reason for that is I am not very good at it. And it takes too long. And I keep sticking myself with the needle. That is why when I decided to take the Scouting patches I have collected over the last 33 years and start sewing them onto blankets (yes, that is plural) I knew it was going to be a challenging task to accomplish.

                Well, I have two rows of patches sewn to the first blanket. They cover the years 1980 through 1984. I have discovered that sewing gets tougher when you start moving further into the center of the blanket. Also, I am having trouble keeping the patches straight. They seem to move on me when I am not paying attention. Grrrrr. When it came time to start the third row I decided to try a few spots of Fabri-Tac permanent adhesive to hold them in the proper place while I sewed them. It worked very well, but I was still sticking my fingers.

                I finally decided to try completely glueing a patch into place. Actually, it was three little ones, quality unity patches. After an hour I checked them. The glue was holding very well. I tugged on the four previous spot glued patches and the glue was holding the patches to the blanket very well. I decided to glue four pocket patches along the border.

                Wow, what a time saver. I am able to position and glue ten or more patches in the time it would take me to sew one patch. Of course, they will be stuck permanently to the blanket, but I really have no intention of ever removing them. I have only one chance to position them properly or I will end up with a mess.

                The goal was to have at least one blanket done to use in the displays we set up around town during Boy Scout anniversary week in February. If I glue them, I may have both blankets done in time for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday. Actually, I could probably have the first blanket done by this weekend which would be great because the troop’s overnighter will be held at my place, and I will need the ping pong table open so the Scouts can have their their table tennis tournament.

                I will wait another hour or two before making a final decision, but I have a feeling the rest of the patches will be glued. Of course, I would not use the Fabri-Tac for glueing patches to a shirt. Sewing or Badge Magic is still best for that type of use.

                Thanks for Sharing!