During this episode the guys talk about the new year and look back at 2009. Scoutmaster Steve begins the new year by reciting some quotes from Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, and then reads a story about setting goals to fly with the eagles. After a song from The Scout Zone, Buttons tries to learn the Cub Scout Promise from Michael the Cub Scout, and then reads some feedback from our listeners. The show ends with a scoutmaster minute about being friendly and a thank you to you, our listeners.
Posts Tagged ‘campfire’
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The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have been performing a little skit/song called Star Trekking since the mid-eighties. (See blog post from August 2, 2006) It has been quite popular with most campfire audiences. In 1990 (wow, eighteen years ago) the troop performed this skit on a local television station station. This video was taped by one of the parents, luckily. Two and a half years ago I placed the video online at YouTube for the world to see. Since then, the video has received over 39,000 views, and averages somewhere around 50-60 views per day.
Well, it seems that several of this year’s Buckskin staff at Many Point Scout Camp has seen the video. Some more then once. One Friday, the last full day of camp, our camp commissioner visited our campsite and asked me if I was the one in the video that was on YouTube. I said I was and gave him a quick explanation how that all came about. He was grinning from ear to ear when he asked me to sign his cap, and then asked me if I would perform the skit with some of the camp’s staff during the Friday night closing campfire program. I agreed, but wondered when we would have time to practice. After all, the staff would be busy all day. He replied that I should meet them at the camp lodge at 9:00 that evening.
The campfire was scheduled to start at 9:30 pm. Not much time to practice.
I was at the lodge at 9:00, which was a one minute walk from our troop’s campsite. Only half of the staff that were to be a part of the skit were there. The rest showed up as they arrived from their program areas. Unfortunately, we did not really have much time to practice. In fact, all we had time to do was to choose who would play what roles, go over each person’s lines once, and practice the refrain. We did not even get to run through the song one time. This could be interesting, I thought to myself as I walked back to my campsite. Luckily, most of the participants had viewed the skit on YouTube and had a good idea how it was done.
I brought my camcorder along to the campfire program and was able to find another staff member to record the skit. When the time came, I left my seat in the audience to join the staff at the side. As we walked out to center stage I could not help but think of the possibility of the train wreck that was about to occur. After all, we really had not practiced together.
I did not have to worry. The staff came through with flying colors. And better yet, the hundreds of Scouts and adult leaders in the audience loved it. The cheering at the end of the skit was overwhelming. We had pulled it off, and pulled it off well.
Once I returned home from summer camp I had a problem with the camcorder. It began eating my tapes. One of the tapes it tried eating was the one that had the footage of Star Trekking. I had promised the staff that I would put this video online for them to see. I needed that footage. I bought a new camcorder, and luckily was able to retrieve the video from the campfire program. In fact, I should be able to get a few podcasts from the footage. Unfortunately, the footage is pretty dark since it was filmed after sunset.
So here is that video of Star Trekking, performed at the Many Point Scout Camp closing campfire program on July 18, 2008. This video is dedicated to the 2008 Buckskin camp staff, and to the camp’s Ranger Scott, who appears in that YouTube video.
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The idea was first discussed in the fall of 1994 (I think). The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 had decided it was time to do a campfire-style program for the local community. The troop had become known in the council for performing at campfire programs. The boys thought it would be a good idea to show people outside of Scouting what they could do.
The school auditorium was reserved for a Saturday in late January, 1995. A few of the boys got together in December to plan an agenda for the program. Various ideas for songs and skits were discussed. The boys chose many of their favorites, but also added several they had not done before. After the songs and skits were chosen the boys decided the order of the performances. They also talked about how to advertise the program. It was decided to place posters around town and in school, and get some coverage in the local newspaper and the local public access television station.
By the time they finished their planning, the troop had a show that would be nearly two hours long. That included a ten minute intermission.
The decision was made not to charge admission. However, people would be asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the local food shelf. Thus, the show was named “Laughs For Lunch”. The audience would provide the lunch for the needy in exchange for the Boy Scouts providing the laughs. Hopefully.
Our three meetings in January were used to practice for the show. The meetings were lengthened from our usually one and a half hours to two hours long. Since many of the songs and skits we had already performed at campfires we just needed to practice them a little to polish them up. However, the new skits needed a little more work.
I, the scoutmaster, became the director of the show. After our three practices I began to wonder if we could really pull this off well. I was thinking we could use another couple of meetings to get the kinks worked out. Alas, we were out of time.
Saturday night had arrived. It was time for the show. Approximately one hundred people were sitting in the audience. The boys were excited, and a little nervous. I have to admit, I was too. I was the master of ceremonies. I would also be performing with the Scouts in a few of the songs and skits.
The curtain opened. The show began. And so did the laughs. The audience had a great time. So did the Scouts. The show was a success!
This year we held our tenth “Laughs For Lunch Show”. We now hold four practices instead of three. People still enjoy coming to the shows, and we have had a lot of fun doing them. The boys receive a lot of compliments after the shows. I think the best part of the show is seeing the smiles on the Scouts when they realize they have done well.
Some of the skits from the Laughs For Lunch Show can be scene on this troop’s website at http://www.melrosetroop68.org/campfirestuff.html
In the mid-1980’s one of the Boy Scouts from Troop 68 happened to record a radio program called Dr. Demento. One of the songs on the tape was called “Star Trekking”. He knew I enjoyed Star Trek so he brought it over so I could listen to it. I thought it was a great spoof of the television show.
A couple of years later I was with the troop at summer camp. We needed a “new” song or skit for the campfire program. Our troop had become known for its “original” songs by this time. For some reason I thought of the song “Star Trekking”. I thought we could work it out where each person would take one verse and we would all sing along on the refrain. We came up with actions for each character, and added a verse for Chekov.
It took time to practice and get it just right. The hardest thing to do was to keep a serious expression throughout the song. I thought it would be funnier if we did not smile or laugh during the performance.
We invited several members of the camp staff to our campsite one evening to see the new skit. One staff member, Paul, and old scouting friend of mine, was a big Star Trek fan. I thought he would really enjoy the skit. Unfortunately, Paul was not able to come to our site that evening. The staff that did attend really liked the new skit. They told us to follow them as they led us to were Paul and other staff members were preparing for a campwide activity. We performed the skit again. Paul and the staff roared with laughter. It was then decided that we would do the skit during the Friday night closing campfire for the whole camp.
We practiced hard over the next two days. It had discovered that it was tough to keep a straight face while other people laughed at us.
The campers loved the skit Friday night. Hearing the laughter of a couple hundred boys and their leaders was fantastic. The standing ovation we received at the end of the skit really made the boys and I feel great.
The “Star Trekking” skit became Troop 68’s most popular skit. We performed it at summer camps, district and council camporees, and our own Laughs For Lunch Shows. After a few years we knew it had reached “cult” status when another troop spoofed us and the skit during a campfire at a district camporee.
Those Scouts of the 80’s and early 90’s have all moved on with their lives. The current Scouts still do the skit once in a while. I know I will never forget the fun we had performing it through the years.
In 1990, the Scouts and I performed the skit during a local television show. You can view this performance on our troop’s website at:
But not everything always goes as planned….
We travel back in time to the mid 1980’s….
We arrive at Crow Wing Scout Camp in Minnesota. It is Wednesday night and the area campfire programs have begun. A young patrol from Troop 68 walks to the front of the campfire to perform the song “I Wish I Was A Boy Scout.” They have practiced. They are ready to perform.
The patrol starts singing the refrain, and then things begin to fall apart. As the boys act out the song one Scout forgets his lines. The Scout next to him tries to whisper to him to help him out but the whisper is loud enough for everyone to hear. Another Scout does the wrong actions to his verse. One Scout starts to sing off beat to the rest of the patrol. Before the song reaches the fourth of the six verses the skit is beyond saving.
But the Scouts and leaders watching the performance are laughing hysterically. The harder the young Scouts try to do things right, the more they screw up, and the funnier the song becomes. The laughter drowns out the other sounds around the campfire ring.
The boys of the young patrol are feeling terrible as the sit down with their troop. How could they have messed up that badly? But guess what, the best was yet to come.
One song or skit from each of the three area campfires held that night will be chosen to be a part of the Friday night closing campfire program. The Scout campers of this area laughed so hard during the “I Wish I Was A Boy Scout” song that they chose the young Troop 68 patrol to be in the Friday night program.
During the next two days the young Scouts work hard to perfect the song and actions. It actually looks pretty good Friday afternoon.
Friday night has arrived. The young patrol is ready. They are called down to perform their song…
and it is Wednesday night all over again…
and once again the audience roars with its laughter.
The young patrol members feel bad about screwing up for the second time. But you know what? Who cares? The Scouts from the various troops and the camp’s staff enjoyed the song, the patrol members did their best, and everyone goes back to their campsites with a smile on their face.
The Scout Oath states, “On my honor, I will do my best…” That’s all anyone can ever ask of you. And sometimes, your best might even be better then perfection could ever be.
I think it all began during the troop’s first week of summer camp at Crow Wing Scout Reservation in 1981. “When all what began?” you ask. When the Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 became known for performing at campfire programs, that’s what.
I can I can take some of the blame for getting things started. I was the assistant scoutmaster at the time and I had taken my tenor guitar to summer camp. There was an afternoon in the middle of the week that we did not have much to do so we started singing some songs around the campfire.
We started changing the words to some songs, you know, just playing around with them. One song, a country song called Running Bear, was a song about two Native Americans who fell in love. Unfortunately, they were part of two tribes who did not get along well. We changed a few words to the song and suddenly it was about two members of the camp staff falling in love.
I think it was sometime during the week that we performed the new Running Bear song to a couple of staff members. Before we knew it, we were asked to perform it during the Friday night closing campfire program.
The whole troop marched down to the front of the campfire circle when it was out turn to sing. The two members of the staff, who we were about to sing about, were in attendance. I do not think they knew what we were about to sing about. By the end of the song the male staff member was blushing and hiding in the trees. The female staff member thought it was funny and was laughing with the rest of the staff and campers.
Thus, the Scouts of Troop 68 and myself discovered the joy of performing for an audience, and the thrill of the audience enjoying a good performance.
Since that first campfire the Scouts of Troop 68 have performed in many summer camp and camporee campfire programs. We have even hosted a couple of them. The troop has also done ten yearly campfire-style programs for our community. (More about this in another article.)
We have had a lot of fun hamming it for the crowds over the years. I would suggest that all troops give it a try and enjoy the trill that comes with entertaining other Scouts and leaders.