Posts Tagged ‘campfire’


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!”

campfire45Here is a story for your next troop campfire. I do not know who wrote it, or even remember where I picked it up, but it is a good story. Iy is a story about a promise made by two Eagle Scouts who were best friends and even worked at summer camp together. There is even a bit of a ghost story involved. How far would you go to keep your promises?

“Tom and Paul were best friends. They went to the same schools, right from kindergarten. They were best friends right from the beginning. Tom was a little bigger, not afraid of anything. Paul was smart, inquisitive, and ready to try whatever Tom came up with.

Their families got used to seeing them together, more like brothers than friends. They were Cub Scouts in the same Den, and they both got their Arrow of Light at the same ceremony and crossed over into Boy Scouts together. They joined Troop 17, it met at the Methodist Church and had a reputation as a Troop that did a lot of camping.

They were active Scouts, picked up rank, went on almost all the camp outs. Tom was a Patrol Leader when he made Star, and Senior Patrol Leader as a Life Scout. Paul was Quartermaster the same year, 1965.

They weren’t just Scouts, of course. They had school and girlfriends, family, part time jobs. Tom worked summers on his grandfather’s farm. Paul lifeguarded at the community pool. The summer they graduated from high school, class of 1966, they both decided to work at Scout Camp. Tom got assigned to the Camp Quartermaster, drove the camp truck and worked maintenance jobs. Paul had his Red Cross certifications, and he worked at the waterfront.

They had a great summer, and promised each other they would come back the following year. Well, more than promised, really. They swore an oath, on their honor, that they would come back to camp together, that nothing, not girlfriends or jobs or anything, would prevent them from coming back to camp.

Promises like that are hard to keep.

Paul went to college in the fall, he had decided to study engineering, and joined Navy ROTC. It would help pay for school, and in those years, it meant he had a sure deferment from the draft.

Tom got drafted. He went to Army basic training and shipped out to Vietnam. He wrote letters home, even sent a couple to Paul. He had been there eight months, and his unit had seen a lot of action, when he sent on a patrol as part of a larger operation. His platoon got ambushed. The after action reports pretty much told the tale, they got hit hard, and in the effort to set up a defense and bring in the wounded, Tom had gone out under fire three times. On the way back that last time he was shot and fatally wounded.

There was a military funeral, and a small collection of ribbons, including a Silver Star. Paul spoke at the funeral, and told everyone of the promise they had made and how now it could not be kept, of their adventures, and the trouble they got into now and then, and what it was like to have a friend like Tom.

Paul graduated from college in 1970. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy, and selected for flight school.

He wanted to be a fighter pilot, just like everyone who goes to flight school, and he came close, but didn’t make the cut. He was assigned to A-6 Intruders, and excelled at that. He qualified for carriers, joined up with a Squadron and went to war. The Vietnam War was in it’s final years, but there was still a lot of air support missions being flown, and his carrier was off the coast of Vietnam most of his first year at sea.

He was on a close air support mission, trying to protect South Vietnamese troops and their American advisors when his plane was hit. He came up off the target, but before he regained control, his plane crashed into the jungle. The plane burned, he and his copilot were never recovered.

Now that’s just a sad story from the past, I suppose, two good men, two Eagle Scouts, both lost in the Vietnam War, but there’s some more to this story. Because they had made a promise, an oath, on their honor, to spend at least one more summer at this camp, and they didn’t give themselves an out just because they died.

The first I heard of it was in the 80′s, an 8 year old Cub Scout on a family overnight got lost on the trail out to the Wilderness area. All the Scout troops in camp and the local Sheriff’s department had started a search. A Scoutmaster found him walking out of the woods up on the hill by the horse barns. The kid said 2 adults in Scout uniforms had walked him up there, only when they asked him to describe what they looked like, he described the old green uniforms that were used in the 60s.

The next time was a Scout on wilderness survival overnight on the ridge. He had built his shelter and was bedded down when he saw 2 Scouts walking along together. Same description, young adults in old time uniforms. They looked over at him, but didn’t stop, just continued their hike out on the ridge trail. He was pretty spooked by it, being alone overnight and trying to tell his Scoutmaster the next morning. That time the word got around and it turned out some of the Staff at camp said that they had seen them too.

Now, I never saw them, but the camp ranger says he did, winter before last, right after that big snow in February. He had walked into camp late in the day, going to the dining hall and the bath house to check the pipes. He said they were in front of him on the main trail, in those same uniforms, walking along like it was a summer day. He was bundled up against the cold, crunching through the snow, and started to speed up to catch them. He said he wasn’t thinking about it too clearly, just wanted to know who the heck was in camp when they weren’t supposed to be.

He stopped when they turned around. Because when he saw their faces, well, the camp ranger used to be a Boy Scout, too. A Boy Scout in Troop 17, and when he made First Class in 1965, his Senior Patrol Leader was named Tom and his Quartermaster was named Paul. He still had Troop pictures, but he wouldn’t have forgotten what they looked liked, especially in their summer uniforms. He said they smiled, and Tom waved, and then they turned and hiked down the trail toward the waterfront like they were on patrol.

The night the ranger told me this, he didn’t expect me to believe any of it, and I don’t expect you to believe me, either. But he stood there for a few minutes as dusk gathered, and when he looked down, there weren’t any tracks in the snow. He looked back and his footprints were right there in the snow, but only his, and none on the trail in front of him.

He told me he believed that they had kept their oath. That they were here in camp, and that they were content, that they had come back to the camp they had loved.

So when you’re out on the trail in the evening tonight, or on an overnight somewhere remote in the Wilderness, remember those two Scouts and their promise, and how maybe, just maybe, they managed to keep it after all.

Good Night, Scouts.”

flint and steelCamp Watchamagumee was the place to be for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 during the weekend of May 17-19. The six Scouts, including four new members, and two adult leaders may have got a bit damp during the evening hours but they had a lot of fun during the day.

Friday night was a pretty laid back schedule. The troop left Melrose about 6:30 pm. The boys spent the evening setting up camp, reviewing fire safety rules, and enjoyed sitting around the campfire until the first drops of rain send them running for the safety of their tents.

The Scouts had a busy Saturday schedule. After breakfast they worked on their advancement and began building their primitive shelters that would would sleep in that night. It did not take long to discover that the boys did not bring along enough tarps and plastic sheets to build what they wished to build. After a lunch of baked beans and hot dogs roasted over an open fire the troop played a round of nine holes of disc golf.

Saturday afternoon was time for the annual Egg Drop Competition. Each of the Scouts received a raw egg. Their challenge was to create a package for their egg using other natural materials found around the campsite. These packages would than be dropped from higher and higher distances until only one egg remained. Daniel Klassen was this year’s Egg Drop Competition winner. He took home a Boy Scout campfire cooking grille as his prize.

The next event tested the Boy Scouts fire making skills. Each boy was to start a fire and keep it going long enough to burn through a string seven inches above the ground. Matches were not allowed for this contest. The Scouts needed to start their fires using flint and steel. A strong wind turned out to be the villain of this event. Even though the Scouts created hundreds of sparks, the wind blew out many of the flames the boys were hoping to use to start their fires. Alex Engelmeyer was the troop’s winner of this competition.

The boys finished the afternoon by finishing their primitive shelters, playing a couple of games, and making a great supper of fried potatoes and spaghetti and meat sauce. There was not much food left over. The boys had worked up quite an appetite.

A short chapel service was held at 7:30 that evening. This was followed with the boys moving their sleeping bags and pads into their primitive shelters for the night. As the Scouts gathered for the evening campfire they learned a troop song about Camp Watchamagumee, heard the story of the Purple Gorilla, and learned how to protect themselves from a wolfen attack.

Half of the Scouts discovered that their primitive shelters did not do a sufficient job of keeping them dry once the rain showers moved in overnight, but a couple did stay in their shelter for the entire night. Important lessons were learned which will be used the next time they build a shelter, which could be as soon as their June weekend outing.

Attending the Watchamagumee outing were Boy Scouts Alex, Daniel, Zack, Adrian, Sam, and Macoy. Adult leaders for the weekend were Scoutmaster Jim and assistant scoutmaster Eymard. Committee member Steve provided program assistance. The troop would also like to thank Melvin and Vern Klassen for allowing them to use their land for the outing.

More pictures of this outing can be found on the troop’s website.
http://melrosetroop68.org/yearlygalleries/yh13.html#Camp_Watchamagumee .

Sudsy DudsyWe all know that Boy Scouts can get quite dirty when they are on a camping trip. Sometimes they become filthy. Once and awhile, at the end of a week of summer camp, their clothes may stand up on their own. Even the adult leaders clothes can become grimy by the end of a weekend. That is why you need a good clothes cleaning detergent when you arrive back home. What detergent should you use? Really, there is only one choice for cleaning up after a Boy Scout outing. You need Sudsy Dudsy.

What? You have never heard of Sudsy Dudsy? Really? Where have you been? It is the best soap ever invented by mankind. It can clean everything, and every stain. In fact, let me show you. This video post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast features a member of our troop demonstrating the cleaning power of Sudsy Dudsy during our Laughs For Lunch Show in the year 2000. You will see for yourself that this product is simply amazing.

Actually, this is an easy skit for your Boy Scouts to perform. You only need one Scout, a bucket, a few dirty clothes items, and a few identical clean items. Of course, it helps if your Scout is quite a showman. This is a short skit in which he can really ham it up a bit, as the Boy Scout in this video does.

Has your troop ever done this skit? What type of items did Sudsy Dudsy clean in your demonstration?

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