Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’


That time of year has arrived! Hallmark has released their holiday ornaments for 2017 and yes, there is another Beagle Scout Snoopy to add to the collection!

This year’s ornament features Snoopy, Woodstock, and friends folding the United States Flag. Written on the Hallmark website: Known as the Beagle Scouts in the long-running Peanuts® comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, troop leader Snoopy and his small yellow bird friends show their patriotism. Scout families will really “flock” to this Christmas ornament that shows the lovable characters in the middle of a flag-folding ceremony.

As you know, if you have been reading this blog over the years, I collect these ornaments. I think they have nicely captured bits of the Scouting program. I plan to pick up at least two of the ornaments, one for the tree, and one to store away. Maybe I will even buy another one or two to give as gifts.

One little extra note this year is that Hallmark will donate $1.00 to Toys For Tots for each of these ornaments purchased this year. A win-win situation!

It can be found online at  http://www.hallmark.com/ornaments/keepsake-ornaments/peanuts-snoopy-flag-folding-ceremony-ornament-1595QXI3295.html  or at your local Hallmark store.

Boy Scouts love a good story told around the campfire. I do not mind telling one, or reading one, if the opportunity presents itself. Of course, the Boy Scouts love the scarier tales as they sit in the darkness with only the reddish light of the campfire embers.

This year was my first chance to tell Cub Scouts a story around a campfire. The first time was to the Bears and Webelos in the spring. The second time was for the new Bears in the fall. Both times I told the story of The Purple Gorilla, a suspenseful and long story about a traveling salesman that has a comical twist at the end of the tale. The Cub Scouts and the adults loved it.

As I planned the Pack’s Christmas party earlier this month I decided it was time for the boys to hear the story of The Christmas Scout. The story is about a young Boy Scout who recently lost his older brother in a car accident and wonders if he can ever be happy at Christmas time again. It does get a bit emotional toward the end but it has a great ending and moral lesson. It is one of my favorite stories.

As the Pack’s Christmas party neared its end I picked up the paper copy of The Christmas Scout, raised my hand in the Scout sign, and asked for the boy’s attention. A few boys were still chatting as I began reading but by the second or third paragraph all 41 of the Cub Scouts, and their parents, were listening quietly. It was my largest ever Cub Scout audience.

The story ends on a serious note so instead of signing a jolly Christmas carol to end the meeting I invited everyone to join me in signing the hymn Silent Night. The evening ended with juice and Christmas treats for all. Later on, I was talking to the Pack committee chairman. He complimented me on my storytelling skills and commented on how I had the attention of all the boys. He was a bit impressed. I was just happy that the Cub Scouts and the adults enjoyed the story.

If you would like to read the story of The Christmas Scout go to this The Scoutmasters Blog POST from December 2007.

2016holidayFor the last few years I, along with many other Scouters and Scouts, have been buying the Scouting Village collection pieces. Last year my village filled an area larger than two foot by four foot. That was without all the 2015 pieces as part of the display. It would be a fair size larger this year. The Villa Philmonte piece, which is the larger piece of the collection, takes a good chuck of real-estate by itself.

I have been waiting for the B.S.A.’s holiday mailer to arrive to see what this year’s pieces would add to the collection. The mailer has arrived. Disappointment has arrived with it. There are no new pieces shown in the flyer. I always wondered how long there would be new “buildings” to add to a Scouting village. After all, the village seemed to be based on a summer camp theme. There are only so many buildings found at a summer camp. While last year’s Villa Philmonte building was nice, it really did not fit well with the rest of the collection.

So, did the people in charge of the collection finally run out of ideas? Or did last year’s collection not go over very well. (I know the Villa piece was rather expensive.) Is the collection done, or could there be more pieces next year?

It got me thinking. What other pieces could be added to the Scouting Village collection? Here are a few suggestions. How about a nature center, or a handicrafts lodge? A first aid/health lodge would be a good fit. A climbing tower, with climbers , would be something I would buy. How about a sauna for the beach area? We already have some larger wall tents, but how about some smaller backpacking tents? A summer camp needs an administration building. How about a horse stable and corral? Gosh, there are enough ideas for any other two or four years worth of buildings! And don’t forget the Scouts and leaders figurines.

Maybe it is a good thing for this to come to an end. The village would just start taking up too much room in the house if it kept going. But then, I could really just change things up from year to year. The are no rules saying I have to put up all the buildings up every year, but knowing me I would have to try. My house is not that large which means a fair portion of my living room would get used.

I may not set up the village this year. I have volunteered to have the troop’s Christmas party at my house so I think I will need all the room I have for the Scouts to use, especially since the patrol leader council has decided to invite the 5th grade Webelos Scouts to join us. The living room will already be a bit crowded as we gather to watch the movie. I would have to find somewhere else to set up the village if I do set it up.

How do you feel about the lack of new Scouting Village pieces this year? Have you been collecting them?

By the way, if you would like to see my set up from last year I do have the video posted to Youtube. It can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ2_xh_acto .

Clearance-eblastThere was an email last week from the Boy Scouts of America Online Catalog. They had a sale going on. It was the Christmas in July Sale! Well, that is what they were calling it. It was actually a closeout sale. Here is what the email stated:

Think about it. There’s back-to-school, back-to-Scouting, and the actual holidays just around the corner, so a little Christmas in July really couldn’t hurt! 

Our gift to you? A chance to save up to 75% off original price on the best Scout-gear deals you can find… perfect year-round gifting ideas, nice little Christmas add-ons, and great-value gear updates for every Scout you know. 

Check out what’s new in the closeout collection, online, and in-store today. Once items sell out they’re gone, so shop now.

So what did I do? I checked it out. Was there anything the troop or pack could use? Was there any hot bargains I could use as gifts? Christmas is only 6 months away, after all. Was there anything I did not realize I needed or wanted until I saw it on sale?

As it turned out, there was quite that made the list. I found 12 items to add to the cart, several of them in more than a single quantity. I took a screen shot of the list and emailed it to my council Scout Shop. After all, I may as well give them the business if they had any of the items in stock. It turns out they only had four of the items on hand, but those four items (multiple qualities of two of them) would cost me over $80. Two items were for myself, one for the pack, and one to use as gifts. I emailed her a note that I would pick up the in stock items and would let her know about the rest of the list when I arrived to pick them up.

Have you checked out the Christmas in July Sale? Did you find anything you needed, or did not need until you saw it on sale?

This old Scouter would like to wish every Scouting family out there a very Merry Christmas. May you have a great time with your family and friends, and safe journey as you go out to celebrate the holiday.

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P68Christmas - 1I am currently serving as the cubmaster of Melrose Pack 68. I am into my second year of holding this position. While it was not a position I was looking for when I joined the Cub Scout pack committee, I have been having fun. I tell you, Cub Scouts are a lot different than Boy Scouts. And I am not just talking about the size difference.

I wanted to do something a little different for the December Pack Meeting this year. I had bought each of the Cub Scouts a little gift (a Star Wars tote bag and play pack) and wanted to do something more fun than just handing them out. After a couple of days of thinking I came up with a plan to be Scouter Claus!

Scouter Claus would be similar to Santa Claus but not quite the same. I did not want the boys and other children to actually think I was the jolly old man. I bought a red Santa hat and a cheap four dollar beard that I thought would not put me in the league of the real Santa. Instead of a red suit, I would wear my Scouting uniform with my red wool Scout jacket. No one should mistake me for Santa Claus but we should still be able to have fun with it.

The evening began with the Cub Scouts making Christmas cards for the residents of Pine Villa nursing home. Then we began the pack meeting to recognize the Scouts who had earned awards. As the Scouts and families had cookies and juice after the pack meeting, I left the room to become Scouter Claus.

Most of the Cub Scouts recognized me right away as I walk into the room in my costume, but I think a couple of the younger children were not quite sure what was going on for a moment or two. A few of the Scouts wanted to pull my beard but of course, Scouter Claus could not let that happen. The boys enjoyed the Scouter Claus idea. Even the parents where smiling and seemed to be enjoying it.

The Cub Scouts were quite excited to receive the Star Wars items, especially since that little movie had just been released. All eighteen Scouts were in attendance. There were about six different designs on the tote bags so I had handed them out right down the line and told the boys they would swap with each other if they liked, and swapped they did. The boys were having a blast.

Each of the Scouts also received a dvd of slideshows featuring photos from pack meetings and activities during the 2015 year, along with a disc of photos for their computers. I have done this for several years with the Boy Scout troop and decided to also do it for the Pack this year since I had taken a lot of photos during the year. I also gave a box of chocolates to each of the three committee members who have done a great during the year and, with tongue in cheek, told them not to share the candies with the Cub Scouts.

Did your Pack do anything special to celebrate the Christmas season?

P68Christmas - 2

2014 Boy Scout DVDIt is that time of year. Time to add Christmas parties to the schedule. Time to get the gift shopping done. And for me, time to create the yearly Boy Scout Troop 68 dvd’s for each member of the troop.

I began this tradition in 2004, the year I switched to digital photography. I bought a digital still camera early that year to take along on the troop’s trip to Philmont Scout Ranch that summer. I never looked back at film. The new camera allowed me take take hundreds of pictures during the year, several times more than I would have taken with film.

By the end of the year I had quite a collection of digital photos taken during troop meetings, courts of honor, and troop activities. Instead of keeping them to myself, I decided to copy them to compact discs and give a set to each Scouting family. The parents would be able to see what their boys had been up to during the year, and they could print any pictures they would like to add to their photo albums.

I also took the photos and used them to create slideshows of each troop activity, along with music. Using iDVD, I create discs of these slideshows and gave each Boy Scout one for Christmas. They became quite popular with the families. They were also fun to watch with the Scouts during the annual Christmas party.

I have completed creating the dvd+r’s of this year’s photographs. I have also created this year’s slideshows. (Is slideshow even the correct term in this day and age?) This weekend’s project is to create the slideshow dvd’s and cases. If I have enough time I may make a second disc featuring this year’s courts of honor and/or other events.

The year’s slideshow dvd will include nine videos totally about 50 minutes of memories. The picture dvd+r’s will contain about 3 GB of photos. The boys sometimes get annoyed with me during the year when I am taking the pictures but everyone like viewing them at the end of the year. The parents really like seeing them.

I only have about a week to finish this project. The troop’s Christmas party in Saturday evening, December 13th. It will be fun to watch the Scout’s reactions to this year’s videos and see if they approve of the music I used.

Does your troop do anything like this? What do think of this idea?

dining hallI arrived at the Central Minnesota Council office early for Tuesday night’s roundtable so I spent some time checking out the Scout Shop. There was only a couple of us looking around when the clerk asked me if she could help me find anything, like books, awards, Christmas items…

The mention of Christmas items caught my attention immediately. Just last week I had checked the scoutstuff.com website to see if there were any new pieces for the Scouting Village that had began two years ago. I was anxious to see if this village would be continued and what this year’s pieces would be. Unfortunately, I found nothing on the website. So when the Scout Shop clerk mentioned Christmas items I had to ask about the Scouting Village.

She replied that they had received the new pieces that very afternoon and have not had a chance to get them on the shelves yet. Awesome, I thought. I asked if I could see them and followed her into the storage room where she opened the carton. I believe I was the first Scouting volunteer in my council to see the new pieces, and this year’s building grabbed my attention.

The newest building in the series is the Lighted Dining Hall. I thought is was well designed and quite colorful, but a little small in scale for a dining hall. Only one troop would fit in here, I thought. Oh well, it is a village building piece and they are not in the same scale as the people or even other buildings. It is still a pretty cool looking piece and I am anxious to add it to my set up this year. The website states (Yes, it can now be bought online), “A welcome addition to the holiday Scouting Village, this piece enhances any collection. Porcelain rendering of a BSA camp dining hall is beautifully detailed—complete with outdoor picnic tables!”

The next piece that I noticed was the “Tree Sales” Figurine. I like this piece because it reminds me of the years that Boy Scout Troop 68 sold Christmas Trees as a fundraiser. The website says, “Premium-quality accessory adds character and dimension to your Lighted Scouting Village scenes. Polyresin tree figurine features a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Leader hard at work on a Christmas tree sales lot.” I have to agree the the figures do add quite a bit to the Scouting Village scene.

The third and final piece of this year’s collection is the “Popcorn Tree” Figurine. This piece features a Boy Scout and Cub Scout decorating a Christmas Tree. The site says, “There’s nothing more iconic to BSA than popcorn! This polyresin figurine features a Cub Scout and Boy Scout decorating a tree with popcorn garland and ornaments.” I thought this could be a great gift for the unit’s “popcorn kernel”, the chairperson of the popcorn fundraiser.

I bought all three pieces right then. I was not going to wait and have the same thing happen to me that happened two years ago when I waited too long to buy them and missed out on getting the Trading Post. (I still do not have one.) I look forward to late November when I set up my new expanded village. I think this will be the last year I will be able to use that piece of plywood I use for the base.

I was not the only person who bought the set that evening. Within ten minutes of my purchase another set was bought and the Scout Shop was out of the Lighted Dining Halls. Since I am a roundtable commissioner I also took time during the meeting to give a quick shout out for this year’s Scouting Village.

Have you been collecting the buildings and figurines? What do you think of this year’s additions?
http://www.scoutstuff.org/house-lightd-dining-hall.html
http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-tree-sales.html
http://www.scoutstuff.org/figure-villg-popcorn-tree.html

trees for sale
popcorn tree