Posts Tagged ‘campfire’


Most Boy Scouts realize very quickly when they start camping with a troop, that if they want a campfire in the evening they better prepare the firewood during the day. If the Scout does not find and cut the wood needed early on his campfire will be a very small and short lived one. The darkness comes sooner and becomes thicker.  (Dum, dum, dum)

Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, is not one who shuns his duties on a troop outing. He loves to sit around an evening campfire as much as the next guy does. He knows that when it is his turn to prepare the campfire he needs to take the time to gather the fuel, and then cut it into pieces so that it is ready to be used. He knows how to use the tools in a safe area, and to use them without any other Scouts in harm’s way.

img_1049The Bears Den of Melrose Cub Scout Pack 68 had fun last weekend. They had their first overnight camping trip. It was held a couple miles south of Melrose in the backyard of one of the families. With a nice big backyard, and hiking trails nearby, it was a good spot for this fun activity. Eight of the ten Bear Scouts were able to attend the outing. I believe they each had a parent in attendance.

The Bears were kept busy with several activities. They assisted in setting up the tents and laying out their gear. They took a hike to a nearby gravel pit, watching for animal tracks along the way to complete an award requirement. They learned about pocket knife safety as they earned their Whittling Chip badge. And, of course they played games. It is amazing how much noise eight third grade boys can make when they are having fun together. After it got dark, it suddenly grew very quiet, like someone had turned off the volume switch. It did not take long to discover the boys had decided to play a game of hide and seek. After that game was done the noise level rose again.

I did not stay for the overnight. I did attend for a few hours, enough time to have supper with the den, chat with the parents in attendance, and have a little fun with the boys. My true reason for being there was to tell a story around the campfire before they turned in for the night. The story I chose? The Purple Gorilla story. It is a good story for that age group. Even the adults enjoyed it. As the story’s suspense reached its peak toward the end of the tale, I had everyone’s full attention. In fact, at one point I think everyone one of the boys jumped, and maybe even a couple adults. As I finished the tale with its interesting twist, the Scouts laughed and the adults smiled.

It may have been a quite suspenseful story, but it really is not a scary story. In fact, one of the fathers told me the next day that the Scouts fell asleep very quickly once the turned in for the night. No nightmares were to be had. Let’s face it, the boys were worn out. The night did get a bit chilly though. It temperature dropped into the upper thirties Sunday morning. The young Scouts did not seem to mind very much. It was just another part of their weekend adventure!

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?

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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carly-rae-jepsen-call-me-maybeI admit it. Once in awhile I get bored. And when I do strange things sometime happen. Like the other week for example.

I was listening to the Carly Rae Jepsen song, Call Me Maybe, when other words started popping into my head. For some reason I saw a Boy Scout at summer camp walking up to his merit badge councilor, hand him his blue card and ask, “But here’s my blue card, so sign it maybe?”

Hmmm. Could this be the start of a campfire song? I soon had pencil and paper out and was writing down words for a new version of the song. A couple lyrics gave me a spot of trouble, but I think I have it. Here is what I came up with:

Scoutmaster gave me a list,
Merit badges with a twist
My hand turned into a fist,
Nervousness in my way

Summer camp is coming soon,
Packed my clothes, shoes, food, and a broom
What is this feeling of doom?
Nervousness in my way

Your stare was holdin’,
My head, eyes are rolling
Hot night, wind was blowin’
Where do I think I’m going, baby?

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!
It’s hard to earn one
When you are lazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!
And all the other boys,
Are really lazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!

You took your time with the crew,
I did not know what I knew
You gave all lots to do,
But still, you’re my councilor
I beg, and borrow and steal
My need for this badge is real
I didn’t know I would feel,
Like it’s some Indian Lore

Your stare was holdin’,
Beads of sweat were showin’
Hot night, wind was blowin’
Should I cry like a baby?

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!
It’s hard to earn one
When you are lazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!
And all the other boys,
Are really lazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!

This merit badge I need for Life
I need it so bad
I need it so bad
I need it so, so bad
This merit badge I need for Life
I need it so bad
And you should know that
I need it so, so bad (bad, bad)

It’s hard to earn one
When you are lazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!
Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!

And all the other boys,
Are really lazy,
But here’s my Blue Card,
So sign it, maybe!
This merit badge I need for Life
I need it so bad
I need it so bad
I need it so, so bad
Tenderfoot, First Class, and Life
I need it so bad
And you should know that
So sign it, maybe!

Your goal is now to have your Boy Scouts sing this during the evening campfire at summer camp and send me the video!

books01The phone call surprised me Saturday night. The disc golf Tri-O was completed and the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 had left my house for their overnight camping trip. I was sitting at home watching television, thinking about going out to the campsite for a little while. The phone call was from from the acting senior patrol leader for the weekend. He was wondering if I would be joining them for supper, and if I would bring the book with the ghost stories. The Scouts wanted to hear a story or two while sitting around the campfire.

I knew which book to which he was referring. It was a collection of true ghost stories, Haunted Heartland, by Beth Scott and Michael Norman. I had mentioned this book on an outing earlier this year. Since this weekend was the weekend before Halloween I guessed the Scouts were in the mood for a couple stories of the supernatural variety.

I decided to grab two books when I left the house. In addition to the Haunted Heartland I also grabbed The Grasshopper Trap by Patrick F. McManus which is a collection of humorous stories. I thought it might be best to add a comical story or two between the scary ones since there were a few young new Boy Scouts on the campout.

The two stories I read from The Grasshopper Trap were Mean Tents and First Knife. During Mean Tents we followed a history of tents used by McManus during his camping activities, including a tent he and a childhood friend made from old gunny sacks. The Boy Scouts got a good laugh from that one. They also chuckled through the story about his First Knife that he received from his parents on his eighth birthday.

The first story from the Haunted Heartland was The Phantom Miner, a story about a terrible mining accident that happened on the Minnesota Iron Range, and how one of the victim’s ghost stopped the mine from reopening. The second story was Windego Of The North, a tale of a mythical humanoid creature occasionally seen in northern Minnesota. A sighting of the Windego foretold of a death that was soon to follow.

The Boy Scouts enjoyed the stories but I think I should have only read two, or maybe three at the most. The boys were getting a little antsy by the end of the last story.

Seven years ago I posted an article to this blog referring to campfire stories as “television of the mind”. Saturday night’s story time once again proved my theory. Even teenagers enjoy hearing a good tale told by fire light.
http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=43

Both books referred to in this article can be found on Amazon or maybe even at your local book store. Check them out. Your Scouts will enjoy them.

Birch Lake State Forest 2013I walked into my house shortly after nine o’clock tonight and I smelled it almost immediately. Smoke! No, it was not the house on fire or anything like that. It was me. More specifically, my clothes. You see, I stopped by the Birch Lake State Forest campground tonight to visit the nine Boy Scouts of Troop 68 who were camping this weekend. And as is so common when standing around a campfire, the smoke seemed to follow me no matter where I stood around the ring.

When the Scouts left for the campground last night (Friday) the weather was wonderful. The sun was shining. It was just cool enough to wear a jacket or not, depending on how warm blooded you were. It was going to be a cool but clear night, great for camping.

But this afternoon (Saturday) a low front moved into the area and the rain began. I kept thinking about the Scouts as I sat in my warm, dry living room at home. Four of the nine Scouts had just joined the troop. This was their first Scout overnight weekend camping experience. I wondered if they had brought raingear. Were they having a good time or were they miserable and wanting to go home?

I was invited to my parents for supper. It was still raining slightly when I left their home, but instead of turning to the left I turned to the right and headed out of town to Birch Lake State Forest to pay the Scout troop a quick visit. The park was less than ten miles from town. It was raining lightly when I arrived at their campsite. Only four of the nine Scouts were there to greet me. The other five had gone fishing. I soon discovered that all the boys were having a good time, even though they were damp. I did not hear any of them say a word about going home.

As darkness fell the Scouts wanted me to tell a story, but not a scary one. We decided on a story with suspense, not too scary, since there were first time campers among us. The story chosen was the Purple Gorilla. Yes, it was a long story that took place out in the middle of nowhere, during a terrible thunderstorm, that brought the main character of our story to a lonely old rundown looking farm place with no cell phone coverage. The new Scouts were listening to every word. Even the Boy Scouts who heard the story last spring paid attention to hear how I changed up the story a bit. This was the first time that cell phone became a major prop in the story.

After the story, and the end of the rain, we left the shelter of the tarp we were sitting under, and stood around the campfire. As the fire died and the coals glowed bright, it was time for me to teach the boys a couple campfire songs. The first was a song I learned as a Boy Scout at summer camp in the mid 1970’s, “The Hole in the Ground Song”. The second song I learned at Many Point Scout Camp in the 1980’s, “Vista!” Both are “repeat after me” type songs that get faster as the song goes on. I think the boys had fun signing them. I know my voice was just about shot when I was done. It was time for me to go home.

Sunday morning, after breakfast and one last time fishing, the Scouts will came back to town and end their camping trip. I have a feeling they all will be counting this trip as one for the good memories mental scrapbook. I was only there for two hours and I can tell you I added it to mine.

As I continue a campfire theme this week, I thought it would be fun to post at least one skit that would be easy for two Boy Scouts to learn for your next weekend camping trip. The only prop needed is a flashlight.

Two Scouts meet, and the first scout begins to brag he can climb anything.
Scout 2 “I can climb anything!”
Scout 1 “Can you climb that tree?”
Scout 2 “Sure I’ve done it lots of times.”
Scout 1 “Can you climb the steep hill over there?”
Scout 2 “No sweat, no problem for me.”
Scout 1 “How about the Empire State Building?”
Scout 2 “Done it, Did it.”
Scout 1 “How about Mount Everest?”
Scout 2 “Boy that was I cold day, I’ve done that too. I told you I am the world’s greatest climber, I can climb anything.
Scout 1 “I’ll bet you ten bucks I can show you something that you can’t climb.”
Scout 2 “Your on!”
Scout 1 pulls out a flashlight and shines the beam up into the sky. “All right climb that!”
Scout 2 “Are you crazy? No Way!”
Scout 1 “I knew you would back out, now pay up!”
Scout 2 “I won’t pay because its not fair. I know you, I’d start climbing and I’d get half way and you’d turn the flashlight off!”