Posts Tagged ‘games’


The carnival came to Melrose during the weekend of September 8-9. It was not brought to town by the Chamber of Commerce or any local service groups. It was brought to town by a group of of people in town who felt Melrose needed a fall event to bring its citizens together for a weekend of fun and excitement. The two day event also included several vendor booths, live music, and a classic car show.

The parents of one of the Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 were two of the people who organized this event. They asked the troop to assist with one of the activities in which children could purchase a ticket for 50 cents to play one of several games to win a prize. The money raised would go to the local food shelf. It looked like it would be a fun service project for the Boy Scouts.

There were five games the Scouts would be in charge of running. One was a Hot Wheels toy car race track. The other games were bottle ring toss, a bean bag toss, a bottle set up challenge, and a disc golf putting challenge. Early on it appeared that we may have trouble finding enough Scouts to work the games but when the day arrived we had plenty of help, along with a few parents.

The games were only open for four hours Saturday afternoon but they did very well. The Scouts had fun along with the children who played the games. Even a few parents got into the spirit of trying their skills. Over $120 was raised for the local food shelf. It was a pretty good, and pretty fun service project.

lbp002I have been more active with Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 during the last few months as our new scoutmaster gets comfortable with his new position. I have invited the Patrol Leaders Council to once again hold their meetings at my house which has given me the opportunity to assist in their training and answer any questions of the new scoutmaster.

As the Boy Scouts planned their monthly agenda, I encouraged them to plan a different game for each of the weekly troop meetings. I also asked them to only use one game from the previous month. This adds for variety during the meetings and forces the youth leadership to think a bit more when they do their planning.

When the Scouts were planning their November meetings during the October patrol leader council meeting they were coming up short on game time ideas as they tried to follow my suggestion. I mentioned a game I have not seen the troop play in a few years. I gave them a brief summary of the games rules and the boys quickly added it to the meeting plan for November 21st.

The meeting arrived. It was time to play the game. I soon discovered that not one of the Scouts attending the meeting had played this game. I thought that a few of the older boys had played it when they were younger but I was wrong. I was surprised that it had been a few years since the troop had used this game during a meeting.

I explained the rules of the game, and also told them it was a game that they would probably never play in school because it can be a pretty rough and tumble game. I had them take off their uniform shirts to prevent any damage, and told the boys who were wearing boots to remove them. We did not want anyone getting hurt after all.

It was time to begin. The Scouts had a blast! They also had quite the workout. Most of them were breathing hard by the end of the game. I have a feeling this game will start getting used more often in the upcoming months.

Have you guessed what the game is yet? It is called British Bulldog, a game played by Boy Scouts since the start of the program in the early 1900’s. I would bet Lord Baden-Powell watched a few games of this being played. This old game had become new again to another group of Boy Scouts in central Minnesota.

Does your troop play British Bulldogs? Does the game wear them out?

SeptRoundtableLast night was the first Tuesday of September. That means the Scenic District roundtables have started once again! I must have done something right last year as the assistant roundtable commissioner because Commissioner Al asked me back for a second year. I was not sure if I really wanted to do it for another year, but I forgot how to say “no” so I guess I have the position again. I had fun last year so I have a feeling I will have fun again this year.

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by announcements of upcoming events and meetings. Then we hit the main course of the session: New Parents and what to do with them. We discussed the first parent meeting and what should be covered with them. We also discussed leadership recruitment and first training, such as Youth Protection. We even touched on the problem of those parents who treat Scouting as a daycare service. Fourteen Boy Scout leaders from across the district were in attendance and many of them entered into the discussion. It was a roundtable in the full sense of the word.

Shortly after the halfway point of the evening we divided the group into teams and went outside to play Ultimate Frisbee. Some of the men had already played the game within their troops, but a few had not so we took just a couple minutes to give the short rules. It was a bit confusing at first once the game began, not so much because people did not understand the rules, but because there were too many Scout uniforms, It was hard to keep track of who was on who’s team. After a few minutes we got that figured out and everyone began to get into the spirit of the sport. We played for about 10 or 15 minutes before going back inside for the rest of the meeting.

Once we sat back at the tables and everyone caught their breath, Al lead a discussion on what was learned during the game. What could we have done better? What leadership skills were needed? Organizational skills? Was there any sort of team building? That lead to a larger discussion of how we can use games within our troop meetings and activities to teach Scouts various skills that will help them through their time in Scouting.

The meeting ended with the Outdoor Code. I noticed a few small groups of leaders talking to each other after the roundtable. Let the mini-roundtables begin!

Hole #3.

Hole #3.

If you have been keeping up with this blog you know that both I and the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 like to play disc golf. I usually go to a nearby town to play since Melrose does not have a disc golf course. I like to get out at least once per week. Gotta keep that throwing arm a bit loose, you know?

Today, Sergio, who is an alumni of Troop 68, and I tried a course at Rivers Edge Park in Waite Park that I knew of but had never played. Playing a course for the first time can be a bit of a challenge if the course is not marked well, and this one fit into that category. It took us a few minutes to discover where the course started (found out we parked in the wrong parking lot), and then where the tee off points and baskets were located.

The course was only nine baskets, which was fine with us for the afternoon. None of the holes contained any long distance throwing, like the Albany course, but the course was a fair test of our skills. The fairways were mostly flat but some were narrow between the trees. There were a lot of trees. The Sauk River bordered three or four holes, and a few of the baskets were hidden within or behind groups of trees. Like I said, challenging, but fun.

According to the DG Course Review website, the course has a par of 27. That means each hole is a par three. They gave it a rating of 2.73 out of five. I think I would have rated it a bit higher, except the course does need a little bit of maintenance.

By the time we finished the ninth hole I thought I was losing by one throw. Sergio thought he was losing by one. We added up the scores and discovered a tie at 36. We had not made par, but we were both happy with our scores so we did not play another nine. We had a good time and that is what really counted.

Now I have a new course to introduce the Boy Scouts to. They will have fun on it but will have to watch out for wild throws, or they may find themselves swimming in the river to retrieve their discs. (See picture.)

Roundtable StaffLast Tuesday was my second meeting as a member of the roundtable staff once again. I have to admit, I am having fun. And I think the Scouters who have been attending have discovered my method of roundtable training is a bit different then other peoples’ methods. I do not like to just stand there and talk. I like to move around, change up my voice tone, and even get everyone up on the feet to do things. I think the roundtable commissioner likes what I have brought to the table. At least I hope he has. Here is a review of things we both covered at this month’s Scenic District roundtable.

This year we start our roundtables with a two part opening, one part patriotic and one part Scouting related, and we plan to change it up for each monthly meeting. For this month we began with the American Creed and the Scout Law.

We would usually go into skill development next but since it gets dark early this time of year we switched things up and went outside for our game. Yes, you read that correctly. We played a game. The goal is to introduce troop leaders to possibly new games they can bring back to their troop to play. This month’s game was Tip, played with a frisbee. The two teams tossed the disc to each other. Team members would try to “tip” the disc to other team members and then have someone catch it. The team scores one point for each successful tip, but only if the disc is caught at the end of the tipping. The Scouters had a blast playing the game and really got into it. I believe a few grass stains may have been taken home.

Back inside the meeting room, Al and I conducted a brief uniform inspection and talked about the uniform being one of the methods of the Scout program. I opened a discussion of this month’s Jamboree On The Air and the Jamboree On The Internet. Many of the Scouters had not heard of these events. Al lead a discussion about the duties of a troop’s junior leaders.

Before the meeting I had set up a table display of my patch collections, including OA lodge patches, council shoulder patches, and patches from the 2001 National Jamboree. I also had several old Scouting themed books set out to view. We talked about the fun of patch trading, who trades with who, and about B.S.A. policy regarding trading.

Al finished the day’s skill development by discussing how to plan a troop meeting, or I should say, how the troop’s junior leaders should plan a troop meeting. A few Scouters were eager to share their thoughts on this subject. We closed the roundtable with Scout Vespers.

After the meeting, I caught up with a Scouter who is a fairly new scoutmaster and asked him if he had been finding this year’s meetings helpful. He said that he has been learning quite a bit and is discovering good ideas to bring back home to his troop. I walked to my car with a grin on my face. I guess Al and I are doing a good job so far.

I was a twenty-three year old scoutmaster when I attended a week of training at the Philmont Training Center in 1984. One evening, the staff brought out a reel to reel movie projector and we watched a movie from Disney titled Follow Me Boys. I really enjoyed the movie, as did everyone else in the dining hall that night.

One of the things that stood out from the movie in my mind was that Lem Siddons’ Boy Scout troop had a building to call its home. A club house, if you will. I thought it would be great for my troop to have a place to call home, but alas, it was not to be for Troop 68 of Melrose. Even after thirty years we still have no place to call home. Not even a meeting room of our own.

Troop 68 holds their meetings at the Jaycee Park during the summer months, May through September. During the colder months we meet at St. Mary’s School gym. Both places have worked well for us. We plan our meeting activities and games to fit the place we are meeting that month. The park works well for outdoor skills and open air games. The gym is large enough to break into various groups for skill development and is a natural area for indoor competitions.

Unfortunately, neither place is really a “home” for the troop. We cannot leave troop gear at either place. We cannot leave troop photos, awards, or advancement charts hanging on the walls. We do not have a place to store the troop library or the flags and stands.

The closest thing to a troop home is my house. The troop gear is stored in a shed in my backyard. The group photos hang on the walls of my stairway and recreation room. One wall is dedicated to the Troop 68 Eagle Scouts. The troop library currently has a spot in a closet. The troop flags and stands are kept in the garage or the trunk of the scoutmaster’s vehicle. My rec room has been the site of patrol leader council and committee meetings for the last fourteen years.

It would be nice to have a meeting place of our own, or a club house like Lem’s troop. But then, we would also probably have monthly heating, electrical, and water bills. We would have building maintenance costs. We would need to carry property insurance. In other words, we would probably need another yearly fundraiser or two just to pay for this place.

Yes, it might be nice to have a place to call home, but we have done well with the places we do use. The boys enjoy their meetings (usually). If we had a different meeting place they may not be able to play the rough and tumble games they are so found of. What would a meeting be if the Scouts could not hurl balls at each other during some point of the evening?

The Boy Scouts of America has a new merit badge. Chess anyone? That is correct. You may now earn the Chess Merit Badge as of Saturday, September 10. According to the B.S.A. Supply Line, “The USCF (United States Chess Federation) provided the primary contributing writers for the Merit Badge pamphlet. They will be helping to promote the badge through communications with the Chess delegate teams (similar to BSA’s National Committees and Boards) and e-mail blasts, plus website and “tournament news” announcements.”

When I first heard about this new merit badge, I was a little skeptical about what it could include for requirements. Maybe some history of the game. A little about strategies. And of course, how to play a game of chess. Now that the merit badge requirements have been posted (see http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Chess ) I have come to the conclusion that this could be a great merit badge for those Boy Scouts who enjoy playing the game, and may be a good tool to introduce new boys to the game.

I think any Boy Scout who earns this merit badge will have to spend some time learning more about chess. A Scout will not only have to know how to play but will also need to know history, terminology, strategies, and how to score. I would have to do some studying to earn this badge myself, and I have played the game since I was a kid. I have thought about becoming a councilor, but I would have to get a merit badge book and read it before working with any Scouts.

Take a look at the requirements at the link posted earlier in the post, and let me know what you think of the Chess Merit badge.

(This is part 2 of an article about the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 and the role playing game of Dungeons and Dragons.)

To many of the Boy Scouts who have played Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) in my fictional world of Tenne the countries of Givemea, Acirema, and Minta are almost as real as Brazil, Germany, and Egypt. They know the cities of Givemea, Pleasantville, and Dogrum almost as well as Sauk Centre, St. Cloud, or Duluth. Games have been played in the forest, the desert, the plains, and the mountains.

When a new player begins playing I will usually start him out with a human character. Once he has joined in several games and learned the basics of the game he may chose to create another character of a different race. Elves and half-elves have been the most popular, but there have been dwarves, halflings, and gnomes. There have even been a couple half-orcs. My world is based on the first edition books so there are probably fewer races available to players then the current fourth edition books.

One feature of Dungeons and Dragons that I like as both a gamemaster and a scoutmaster is that the boys usually have to work together as a team to accomplish the game’s objective. They have to help each other battle the monsters. They have to brainstorm ideas to solve the riddles and traps. They need to protect each other through many situations.

Sometimes I like to add a special theme to a game to see how the boys will react in different circumstances. Some of those topics have included racism, chauvinism, homeless children, and slavery. It has been interesting to see how they handle these topics.

It has been fun to watch the development of villains in my world. Most of them only last for one game, but two villains have become legendary. Brutus, the human, and Gary, the green dragon, are villains that were designed to be in only one game but somehow became bigger, badder, and more villainous. Each became so powerful through various games that each were around for nearly a year’s worth of games before they were finally defeated.

Several of the boys have taken the time to write stories based on their character’s adventures. Those stories have been posted to a subsection of our troop’s website and to a special forum that has recently been created so the boys can post the stories themselves. The stories can be found HERE (site) or HERE (forum). Take a moment to read them. The boys have written them from their characters point of view.