Posts Tagged ‘history’


socratesA scoutmaster took out his phone at the roundtable Tuesday night to show me something that was written many centuries ago about the younger generation, but seemed to be written about many of today’s youth. After reading it I had him email it to me so that I could share it with all of you.

Socrates wrote. . . “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt fot authority; they show disrepsect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

But, Plato in the Republic argued that youth should learn the cardinal virtues of wisdom, bravery, temperance and justice through adversity and adventure, and that young people could learn lessons about virtue best by impelling them into adventurous situations that demanded that virtues be exercised.

Was Plato talking about Scouting before Scouting existed? Uncanny, isn’t it?

The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 took their May 7 meeting night to have a field trip. They gathered at the Melrose Area Historical Museum for a tour of the facility which worked into their monthly theme of Historical Places. One of the museum curators, Roger Paschke, lead the Boy Scouts through the rooms while explaining several of the more interesting of the exhibits. The Scouts learned a little about the founders of Melrose, Minnesota. Mr. Paschke stopped the troop at the Charles Lindberg display for a short explanation of his famous plane trip and his links to Melrose. The boys enjoyed the “war room”, but quickly passed by the religious displays in the “chapel” for some reason. Other popular areas of the museum included the prohibition (moonshine and stills) area, the old printing press, the railroad displays, and the case with the old Scouting memorabilia.  The troop plans to go back to the museum later this month for a scavenger hunt.

Here are a few pictures from the field trip.

 The Boy Scouts learn about the ties Charles Lindberg had to Melrose, Minnesota.

 

 

 

 

 

 This is part of the Scouting display found at the museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 The group photo was taken in front of some of the old farming machinery found in the museum.

Cooking on a Boy Scout camping trip can be an interesting experience, especially with young inexperienced campers. I have seen many burned pancakes, half raw hamburgers, and overturned pots during my days as a scoutmaster. When I am eating something crunchy that really should not be crunchy I am reminded of a camping trip from my days as a youth…

My troop was attending a district camporee one weekend when I was in my early teens. We were sitting around the campfire ring about to eat our meal. Our scoutmaster, Dr. Scanlan, was sitting next to me. There was a small amount of dirt on my food. I do not remember how it got there, if the patrol cook had done something during preparing the meal, or if I had kicked some dirt onto the plate somehow. I do remember I was not interested in eating this food with its “natural” seasoning. I was a very picky eater and this was not helping the situation.

I made a fuss and commented that I was not going to eat this stuff. My scoutmaster heard me and replied that a little dirt would not kill me. Then he added something that I will never forget. He said, “A person will eat an average of seven pounds of dirt during his lifetime.”

I am not ashamed to say that I was surprised and shocked by the statement. I did not know if he was telling the truth, or if he had just made it up. He was a doctor, after all. He would know about these things.  I do recall my reply to him. I looked at him, and at my food, and said, “I don’t want to add to that seven pounds.”

I do not remember if I ate the food that day or not. I probably did because I was hungry. I have since come to the conclusion though that if you are a scoutmaster you will eat a lot more than seven pounds of dirt in your lifetime.

On this Memorabilia Monday I would like to present four books of my collection that share a theme of Scouting History.

The first book is The Boy Scouts: An American Adventure, written by Robert W. Peterson, and published in 1984. It was a book printed for the 75th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. The book is broken down into four parts: 1900-1915, 1915-1935, 1935-1970, and 1970-present (1984). The book is full of black and white and color pictures covering the decades of Scouting. One of my favorite parts of the book shows how to build a tree house designed by Dan Beard.

Scouting With Baden-Powell, written by Russell Freedman in 1967, is a biography of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement. The book does a good job of covering his life. You need to get through two thirds of the book before it starts talking about Scouting. I received this book for free. The librarian of the junior high school library gave it to me when they were discarding old books they did not feel they needed any longer.

The Boy’s Life Treasury, printed in 1958 by the Boy Scouts of America, is a great book to have in any collection. This 480 page book features  a selection of the best stories and articles from Boy’s Life magazine.My copy of this book is in excellent condition, even if the book jacket is beat up a bit. Amazingly, this book retailed for only $4.95 when it was released. I also own The Best Of Boy’s Life which was published in 2010 for the B.S.A.’s 100th anniversary.

The pride of my Scout history collection is The History of the Boy Scouts of America. It was written by William D. Murray in 1937. This 574 page volume is rich in Scouting history to that point in time, and contains a lot of photographs and sketches. The first photo in the book features William Murray presenting the 5,000,000th handbook to President F.D. Roosevelt. Four Eagle Scouts stand behind the President. I was lucky enough to find a copy of this book that is in excellent condition. If you really want to know the details about the first thirty years of the Boy Scouts of America, this is the book for you.

Do you have any books about Scouting history? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

100 Days of Scouting: Day 14.

In addition to reciting the Scout Oath, Scout Law, or the Outdoor code as an opening for their troop meetings, the patrol leader council of Troop 68 has looked toward other ways to start their meetings. One code that seemed to make its way into a meeting every month or two is a little thing found in the ninth edition of the Boy Scout Handbook. If you have a copy of the book turn to page 42 and you will find something called the Knight’s Code.

To quote the handbook – “Baden-Powell got the Scout Motto and developed the Scout Law from the code of the knights of old.” This code is:

Be always ready with your armor on, except when you are taking your rest at night.
Defend the poor, and help them that cannot defend themselves.
Do nothing to hurt or offend anyone else.

Be prepared to fight in the defense of your country.

At whatever you are working, try to win honor and a name for honesty.

Never break your promise.

Maintain the honor of your country with your life.

Rather die honest than live shamelessly.

Chivalry require that youth should be trained to perform the most laborious and humble offices with cheerfulness and grace; and to do good onto others.

I think this is a pretty good code to even live by in today’s world. Other then wearing that heavy armor, that is.

August 1, 1907 – Lord Robert Baden-Powell, author of the book Scouting For Boys, took a group of boys to Brownsea Island for a camping event. Thus, the Scouting program was born.

February 8, 1910 – William Boyce incorporated the BSA, and was later granted a charter by the United States Congress. Thus, the Boy Scouts of America was born.

March 9, 1911 – Mr. Dale of St. Paul, the northwest organizer of the Boy Scouts, arrived in town to talk to community leaders. Thus, Scouting began in Melrose, Minnesota.

The Boy Scout program has come and gone many times over the decades in Melrose. I was a Boy Scout during the early to mid 1970′s, but after three and one half years the troop folded due to lack of adult leadership. People have told me there were also Melrose Boy Scout troops in the 1960′s, the 1950′s, and the 1940′s. Each troop lasted for a few, or several, years and then died out.

Recently, Herman Lensing, a reporter for our local newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, was looking through some early editions of the newspaper as he did research for a sports article. He came across two articles from March 1911 editions which describe the formation of two Boy Scouts troops in Melrose. He took a couple pictures of one of the articles and emailed them to me.

I was shocked and surprised when I read the article. I had thought the 1940′s was the earliest that Scouting had begun in Melrose. Here was proof that the program came to town in 1911, only thirteen months after the formation of the Boy Scouts of America.

The articles also included the names of the adult leadership and the boys who would form the two new troops. One troop was sponsored by the high school. The other was sponsored by St. Boniface Church. The two troops had a combined total of ten patrols. Each patrol had five to eight members. The patrols of the St. Boniface troop were named Blazing Arrow, Lion, Pathfinder, Stag, Red Raiders, and Wolf. The patrols of the high school troop were named Stag, Pathfinder, Young Mohawk, and Blazing Arrow. One difference between today’s Scouting program and Scouting of 1911 is that instead of the current Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader offices, the boy leaders were called Leaders and Corporals, according to the article.

I called my district executive to ask him how far back the council kept records. He asked me why I wanted to know and I told him about the two articles. He surprised me when he told me the council was created in 1918 or 1919. The Melrose troops were formed before there was a Central Minnesota Council!

The timing of this historical find could not have been timed much better. The year of celebrating the BSA’s 100th anniversary comes to an end this month. December is also the 31st anniversary of the formation of the current troop in Melrose. (It hardly seems like 31 years have already gone by.) To tell the truth, I think it would be fun to do a little more digging and put together a better history of the Boy Scout program in Melrose, Minnesota.

You may have read about the Boy Scouts Tom Slade and Pee Wee Harris, but have you read any about their friend Roy Blakeley’s adventures? Roy was another character created by Percy Keese Fitzhugh as he wrote fictional novels about Boy Scouts in the early 1900′s. These books are now in the public domain and can be found on some epub book sites. Here are a couple of books about Roy to introduce you to his Scouting stories:

Download – Roy Blakeley
Download – Roy Blakeley, his story
Download – Roy Blakely, Pathfinder

Do you enjoy reading these books? Would you like me to continue posting links to this blog?

It is a new month so it is time for a new electronic (epub) book. In fact, this month, let’s make it two books. After all, these old Scouting novels from nearly 100 years ago do not take long to read. It is kinda fun to go back in time and see what things were like (at least in fiction) in the early part of the last century.

Everyone in Scouting knows Pee Wee Harris. He has been featured in a comic in Boy’s Life magazine for several decades. But did you know that Pee Wee got his start as a character in a series of fictional novels written by Percy Keese Fitzhugh in early 1900′s? Yep, Tom, Roy, Westy, and Pee Wee all got their start back then. Fitzhugh wrote quite a few novels about Scouting, introducing us to a wide range of characters.

I have collected a few hard bound books about these stories for my Scouting collection so I was pleased when I was able to find more of them available as electronic books (in the epub format). Most of these books are now found in the public domain. So…

How about two books to introduce you to the original Pee Wee? These were the first two books with Pee Wee as the lead character. Both were written in 1922. The first is simply titled Pee Wee Harris. The second is Pee Wee Harris on the Trail. I hope you enjoy them.

Download Pee Wee Harris.
Download Pee Wee Harris on the Trail.