Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas at Philmont

If you have been on a Philmont trek that included the northern and central portions of the ranch, then chances are good that you have hiked through Santa Claus Camp. The camp is located in Santa Claus Canyon, north of Bear Canyon and southeast of Head of Dean Camp.

I have been through Santa Claus Camp a few times on my Philmont treks. Usually, it was an unstaffed camp, but in 1992 I was surprised to discover that it had become a staffed camp, complete with a volleyball court for the day and a telescope for the evening. The crew had a great time there.

The 1992 staff invited campers to write a story about how Santa Claus Camp received its name. A few members of my crew took the challenge. Al, one of our crew advisers, wrote a great story about the history of the site. Since it is the Christmas season I would like to share it with you.

There was a lot of snow that winter of 1853, too much for the horses and tired people moving through the mountains of northern New Mexico. They had left in a train of wagons on the Santa Fe Trail, but were down to one wagon for two families; and they were lost. The wagon master, who knew the way to Cimarron, had died of typhoid on the plains of eastern Colorado. Now, they were nearing exhaustion as they searched through the canyons for human life.

It was December 24, and there were tears in the eyes of the parents as they kissed their children good night, for there was a chance that some of them would never wake up.

The sky was clear, with uncountable millions of stars, but the beauty of the night was swallowed by the intense cold. The Borgerdings and the Hansons were typical pioneer families, and they were near to meeting the fate that so many others met on the Westward march.

It took a few minutes before they realized that there was a stranger at the fire, before their cold-numbed senses could react. He was an old mountain man that the Utes called White Cheeks due to the soft white beard on his face. He had on snow shoes and a pack which was full of freshly butchered mountain lion.
Asking no questions, he stepped up to the fire and cooked his lion steaks for everyone. After eating he led them up to his cabin and safety.

Of course the children called him Santa Claus, and since he offered no other name, the parents joined in. The mountain man stayed with them through that long winter, teaching them the skills they needed to survive in the mountains.
In the spring, he loaded his beaver pelts in his pack and headed for the Taos Rendezvous. The Borgerdings and Hansons followed the clearly given directions to Cimarron where they told the story of Santa Claus to its inhabitants.

White Cheeks never got to Taos, nor was he ever again seen alive. The people who come to his canyon on Christmas Eve know that there is an old white faced mountain man sitting over a fire, and even though no lion has lived here for many years, there are always plenty of lion steaks for everyone. If you ask him, he’ll tell you about the winter of 1853, and the families that called him Santa Claus.

Do you have any Christmas stories about your Scouts? Share them with us and leave a comment.

Boy Scouts disc golfI have been giving the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 a small Christmas present each year for 30 years. It is not a very big present, just something to make the season a little more fun, and to give the Scouts a little something to look forward to during our troop Christmas party. Gifts in the past have included balls, fire starters, water bottles, and small lunch coolers. It is easier to find things these years with a small troop. It was tough finding something when we had forty members in the troop. Have you ever tried to find 40 of something in a store? You should see the look on a checkout person’s face when you bring two shopping carts full of red four-square balls to the counter.

This year I had to push my gift giving up a couple months, to last night’s troop meeting. You see, the gift is something the Scouts can use at this weekend’s troop outing. On Saturday, the troop will be traveling to three different cities to play one of their favorite games, disc golf. Many of the Scouts did not own a disc made for the game so that became this year’s Christmas gift from me.

I came up with the idea when I noticed on the website that there was a closeout going on of the leftover 2013 National Jamboree merchandise. Disc golf discs were going for 50% off the regular price which brought to price down to $4.98 per disc. That is the cheapest price I have ever seen on discs. And they were discs made by Innova, one of the main manufacturers of supplies for the sport, so they were not some cheap unknown brand name discs. I ordered three sets for myself and one midrange disc for each of the Scouts.

The Boy Scouts seemed to like the gift. There was various colors to chose from so instead of having a free-for-all and stampede to see who would get what color I started with the newest member of the troop and worked my way up to the Scout with the longest membership. Seniority did not count this time. I also told the boys to write their names on their discs in case that get lost on the course, and so that we know whose disc is whose when we play a game.

Saturday is the big tournament day. The troop will start at the Albany disc golf course, move to St. Joseph for the second game, and end at Riverside Park in St. Cloud. It is going to be a long day. There is going to be a lot of throws. And I would bet there is going to be a lot of very tired Boy Scouts crawling into their sleeping bags Saturday night.

Does your troop play disc golf?

wood badge ChristmasYes, I know it is not even Halloween yet, but Christmas commercials are already on television and the stores have already begun decorating for the season, so I thought now would be a great time to tell those of you who have completed their Wood Badge training to check out the website for this year’s Wood Badge themed Christmas cards. That is correct. There is now a Christmas card featuring all our Wood Badge animal pals as they try to help pull Santa’s toy filled sleigh.

Well, except for the beaver and the fox, who have decided that a snowball is much more fun then helping to spread the joy of Christmas. The owl almost seem poised to join them. And why is the bear riding in the sleigh? Should he not be helping the buffalo to pull it? For some reason the antelope thinks this is funny. At least the eagle is bringing the lights to brighten the way. The bobwhite is were he should be, overlooking everything and trying to be in charge. Note that I said trying.

By the way, in case you have not figured it out yet, I am a member of the Bobwhite Patrol. NC-269.

You can order the Christmas cards at

Cub Scout Gingerbread housesHere it is, the last post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast for the year of 2012. The goal has always been to post at least one video each month, or at least twelve per year. This podcast will keep that twelve per year goal.

When the Cub Scouts of Melrose Pack 68 met for their December pack meeting, they knew it was going to be fun. The parents knew it could get a bit messy. The cubmaster knew he had a lot of baking to do. The Cub Scouts, along with help from their parents, were going to make gingerbread houses and decorate them with lots of candies, crackers, and other building accessories. Each one ended up being a masterpiece, but a couple of them did not make it home in one piece. I think they could have used a little more mortar (frosting) to hold them together.

This video post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast includes video of the boys and their parents creating the houses and photos of the Cub Scouts with their finished projects. It is eight minutes long. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe this would be a good project for your Cub Scout Pack next Christmas.

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Those of you that follow Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, on Twitter (@buttonst68) have noticed that he has been posting a Scouting themed Twelve Days of Christmas. The twelve days follow the twelve points of the Scout Law, beginning with trustworthy and ending with reverent on the twelfth day. Here are the twelve verses, in case you missed them.

One the twelfth day of Christmas my Scout Leader gave to me…
Twelve reverent chaplain aides,
Eleven clean mess kits,
Ten brave teddy bears,
Nine thrifty gift cards,
Eight cheerful campfires,
Seven obedient Cub Scouts,
Six kindly Eagles,
Four friendly camp staff,
Three helpful maps,
Two loyal dogs,
and a trustworthy GPS.

Now that you have that song stuck in your head, have a great day!

For those of you who like the poem Twas The Night Before Christmas check out this post from a few years ago:

It is that time of year again. Hallmark is now selling the new Snoopy, the Beagle Scout, 2012 ornament. It is available only at Hallmark stores and is not available for purchase online, although their site does have a page for it at .

This year’s collectable features Beagle Scout (or is it scoutmaster?) Snoopy with Woodstock and a couple friends as they raise the flag of the United States of America one morning on a camping trip. As the Hallmark page states: “Recall wholesome camp mornings with a trio of scouts ready to salute the start of their day. Snoopy’s got the flag on hand, so it’s time to get going on your own winter adventure together.”

I guess I will be making a trip to St. Cloud to purchase a few of these. A couple will be added to my collection (one for the Christmas tree and one to put away) and a couple may find themselves under someone’s tree Christmas morning.

How many do you plan to purchase? How many previous ones do you already own?

Last year, I thought we could have a little fun. I hung the four Hallmark Beagle Scout Snoopy ornaments I own on my Christmas tree. I took a picture of it and posted it online. Then I asked you all to see how fast you could find them. It was a fun 30 second treasure hunt.

Let’s do it again! This year there are five Beagle Scouts hanging on the tree. Try to find Snoopy and his friends as they camp out in their tent, roast marshmallows around the fire, canoe down the rapids, and hike to the top of the mountain. The newest, and fifth ornament, features Snoopy and his troop selling Christmas trees.

Click on the picture for a bigger version. Time yourself and see if you can find them in under 20 seconds. Good luck!

Yes, I realize that it is still July, but it is time to go toward your nearest Hallmark store and buy this year’s Snoopy, the Beagle Scout, Christmas ornament. It features Beagle Scout Snoopy along with a couple of his bird Scouts as they try to sell Christmas trees. Hallmark has named it “Holiday En-tree-preneurs”.  How long will they be in the stores? Keep in mind that these ornaments are available only in the stores, not through online sales.

I have been collecting these ornaments for several years now and always buy two of them, one for the tree and one to store away. Too bad the BSA does not list these in the Scout Stuff store during the holiday shopping season.