Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’


I bought my first digital camera in 2004. I was going to Philmont Scout Ranch with the troop and thought this would be a good trip to start using digital photography. I have been using a digital camera ever since that trip.

I soon began using the digital photos to make slideshows of the troop events and activities. It was fairly easy to create a slideshow using the programs of the Mac Pro computer I owned. The next step was to burn the slideshows to a DVD so I could watch them on the television.

As Christmas approached I decided to copy the pictures to a compact disc and print one for each of the Boy Scouts in the troop. The slideshow DVDs soon followed. The Boy Scouts and their families seem to enjoy watching the shows so I kept doing it each Christmas.

It is now the year 2018. I have finished this year’s annual DVDs. Once again there will be a DVD of the slideshows, but the yearly photo collection has grown too large to put on CDs anymore. I take thousands of photos each year so the collection is now burned as a data DVD. This year’s photo collection was over 3 GB, and that does not include the photos of the trip to the Summit high adventure base. The data DVD does include some short videos taken during some of the monthly events.

I hope the Boy Scouts and their families enjoy watching the slideshows and looking at the pictures. It does take several evenings to create the DVD package each year. But I think it is well worth it.

PS: after posting this article and viewing the picture I noticed a mistake on the DVDs. Do you see it?

I have been collecting the Boy Scouts of America Scouting Village series since it began several years ago. I even have a lighted Scouting building set sold by Walmart a few years ago that fits pretty well with the B.S.A. pieces. I was a little disappointed last year when there were not any new village pieces sold by the Scout Shop. In fact, I wondered if the new yearly pieces had come to an end. Oh well, I would save money for other things if it had ended.

Well, I guess I was wrong. They are not done yet.

A new piece was added to the collection for 2017. (Yes, just one piece.) The item is the “Lighted Scouting Village Climbing Tower.” This means we can add a summer camp activity to our “summer camp village” of lodges and tents. The size of the tower is listed as 5″ x 5″ x 19 3/4″, which will make it the tallest piece of the set so far. Unfortunately, it is out of proportion to the the people pieces and tents released a few years ago so I will probably place the tower to the back of the layout to try to keep it looking a little more in perspective to the rest of the village.

I noticed the tower on the scoutstuff.com website a month ago but it was listed as not available until September 27. I called the local Scout Shop today to check if they had received any yet. They have not, but my name is on the list to purchase one when they do arrive. I guess I have to wait a little longer to add one to my collection.

The Lighted Climbing Tower can be seen and purchased at
http://www.scoutstuff.org/house-lighted-climbing-tower.html#.Wc58MDVrwdU

Do you plan to add a tower to your Scouting Village?

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?

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