Posts Tagged ‘games’


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.

I was nineteen when I was introduced to a roll playing game called Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). A couple of my high school friends and I would get together on weekend when we were home from college and play a game at Chuck’s house. He had been introduced to the game by his college friends and he was eager to introduce this world of fantasy role play to Neil and me. We had a great time hanging out with each other during those games.

After I became an adult leader of Boy Scout Troop 68 I wondered if the Scouts would be interested in playing D&D. I talked to a few of them and they thought it sounded like fun, so I learned how to be a dungeon master (game master) and began to create dungeons and a world they could explore.

I will never forget the first game I hosted. Two of the Boy Scouts played. We created their characters and began the game, which only lasted for fifteen minutes before those characters were killed by monsters. I learned a lot about being a game master during that short time. I had managed the game by the rule books. I needed to use the books more as guidelines and fit them to the gameplay. Once I began doing that the games lasted longer and they were more fun. More boys wanted to get in on the action. Nearly 100 boys have played in my world during the last thirty years.

The realm of Tenne, the world of my D&D games, has grown to have quite a history. While many games are the simple explore the dungeon variety, there have been quite a few quests and other types of adventures. Villains have come and gone, giants fought, and dragons killed. There have even been wars between countries and gods. Some of the player’s characters have become legendary. Some of the games have become a part of the lore of Tenne, passed down from one group of players to the next.

To this day I am still amazed at how the boys, and sometimes myself, can get caught up in the game. They become very attached to their characters. They can recall events from past games that I have completely forgotten. When the guys who played in the 1980′s get together, they talk about their games with such clarity that it almost seems like it was a Scout camping trip they attended. Many of them still have their character sheets just in case they get the call to play again when they come back to town.

Most of the D&D games I host begin at 6:30 in the evening and end near midnight. Of course, there have been shorter games and some that last quite long. The longest game was a twelve hour marathon. We all got so caught up in the adventure that no one was watching the time.

Sometimes I have to remind the Boy Scouts that D&D is not a part of the Scouting program, but I have been known to use the promise of a game as incentive to get the patrol or troop to earn advancement or complete a project well. There have been many times while sitting around a campfire that the boys have discussed past games and strategies for future games.

(…to be continued.)

This 78th post to the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast is the final of four videos featuring the open house held by the Central Minnesota Council on September 2, 2009, to celebrate the “A Century Of Values” tour. This video features other activities that were taking place on the grounds of the council office (displays, bottle rockets, fishing, rope making, bouldering wall, etc). You will see that the Cub Scout age boys had a fantastic time participating in all the fun.

More information about the “A Century Of Values” tour can be found on their website athttp://www.acenturyofvalues.org/ Also check out their blog and the post about their visit to the Central Minnesota Council.

Click here to DOWNLOAD this Podcast
Subscribe to Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast through iTunes.
or at the RSS feed:
http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
Check out other great Scouting podcasts at
PTC Media.

There has been a message that has been going around the internet for a few years already. Last week it appears as a column in the local newspaper. You may have already seen this, but I wanted to post it anyway because I grow up during this time period and can relate to it. I have seen it titled “The Things We Survived”. I do not know who originally wrote it but I congratulate them on capturing the spirit of the times.

To all the kids (and Scouters) who survived the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes. Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads. As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight.

Why? Because we were always outside playing, that’s why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. — And, we were okay.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

We had friends, and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and – although we were told it would happen – we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.


If you are one of those born between 1925-1970, congratulations!

So, are you a survivor?