Posts Tagged ‘Scouting’

During the my last year of tech college my classmates and I would discuss what we wanted to do with our lives once we were out on our own. What kind of job did we hope to get? What kind of community would we like to settle down in? What organizations would we get involved with, if any?

I was a Boy Scout for three years so I made the comment that it might be fun to find a troop and get involved again. When I think about that comment now I have to stop and ask myself, why did I say that? I really did not accomplish much as a Boy Scout. Yes, I went to the meetings, and the occasional weekend camping trip, and three week long summer camps, but I do not remember much about them. I only earned four merit badges. I only got as far as Second Class Rank. I do not remember a single court of honor. Unfortunately, and I hate to say it, my time as a Boy Scout was pretty uneventful.
I must have had enough fun in Scouting though to make a comment like that in college. I may have realized that the Scout program was a great program to help young boys grow into men of strong character. I guess I wanted a chance to be a part of that process. But there was one more reason to reconnect with Scouting. A personal one. I always felt bad that I did not remember much about my time as a Scout, and that I did not accomplish much in the program. I thought that maybe I could help some other boys have a great time in Scouting and do the things I never had the chance to do.
As luck would have it, I found a job and settled back in my hometown. Within two months I discovered they had restarted the troop which had been disbanded about five years earlier. I walked up to the scoutmaster one night and asked him if he could use some help. That was nearly thirty years ago. I think I can honestly say that I have helped to make a positive impact on the Scout program in this community.
How long will I continue to be with the program? I do not know. I had never planned to be with it for three decades. Unfortunately, this community may make the decision for me. Membership in the troop has dropped to only seven Boy Scouts, down from nearly forty Scouts ten years ago. I discovered today that the Cub Pack currently has only three boys. One of the Pack’s problems is that parents do not want to take on any of the leadership roles. This has been going on for the last five years or longer. Thus, the Pack’s program has suffered, and the boys are not joining like they once did.
Let’s face it, parents need to get involved, at least at the Cub Scout level, for the program to succeed. Do today’s parents not understand the great benefits of the Scouting program, both to them and their sons?
Get involved with Scouting? Too tell the truth, I can think of few programs that are better worth your time and effort.

I am sure that you may have heard by now that the United States Mint will be issuing a commemorative coin in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. As authorized by the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, the United States Mint will produce silver dollar coins in proof and uncirculated qualities. The United States Mint website now has a page devoted explaining the design of this special coin. The site states:

“The obverse (heads side) design depicts a Cub Scout in the foreground with a Boy Scout and female Venturer in the background saluting. Inscriptions are CONTINUING THE JOURNEY, 1910, 2010, IN GOD WE TRUST and LIBERTY. This design represents the Boy Scouts of America of today, as the organization has recognized the need to include other programs for younger boys (cub scouts) and older boys and girls (venturers), reflecting the great diversity of our nation. It is a dramatic representation of how the Boy Scouts of America has evolved over the past century to form a strong foundation of leadership, service, and community for all the youth of America.

The reverse (tails) design features the Boy Scouts of America’s universal emblem. Inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, BE PREPARED, E PLURIBUS UNUM and ONE DOLLAR.”

I plan to purchase some coins when they become available in the spring. There will only be 350,000 of them made. So I suppose I better buy one, two, or three hundred of them. Oh, wait. These one dollar coins will cost more than one dollar won’t they?

I recently scanned the pictures I have as a Boy Scout of Melrose Troop 68 in the 1970’s. Then I uploaded them to my Flickr account so that I could make a slideshow to share with you. The pictures are of Scout Sunday in 1975, my photo story for the photography merit badge that I never quite completed, and pictures from summer camp at Parker Scout Reservation in 1976 and 1977. Don’t laugh too hard when you notice the clothing worn back then.

Happy Birthday Scouting (BSA)!

Wow, has it been 98 years already? It seems like just a few years ago when that unknown Boy Scout in England helped William Boyce find his way in the fog of London. And look what the BSA has accomplished since then. Ten of millions of boys have been involved with Scouting. Hundreds of millions of hours of community service has been done around the country. And look at all the boys who earned Scoutings highest award, the rank of Eagle Scout. I ask, has there been any other youth group in the history of this great country that has accomplished as much as the Boy Scouts of America?

And to think, it all begin in the USA because of the good turn of one Boy Scout in England! It just goes to show that you never know what that daily good turn could lead to, do you?

And do not forget to watch the videos on Youtube that were listed in a previous blog entry. Let’s see if we can get something shown on the front page today.

Yes, I was a Boy Scout. For three and one half years I was a member of Troop 68 in Melrose, Minnesota. The troop had about a dozen members or so, divided into two patrols, the Falcons and the Cougars.

I am the oldest of three brothers. My brothers were Cub Scouts. Unfortunately, when I was Cub Scout age there was not an active pack in town. However, I did get to participate in a couple Webelos den activities with my brother Dan. At the time I wished I could be a Scout.

About the time when Dan’s den was ready to graduate into Boy Scouting a troop was formed in town. I joined the troop right away. I started out as the oldest member of the troop at 13 years old. The rest of the troop members were 11 or 12 years old. It did not take long for me to become the senior patrol leader, a position I held for most of the years I was in Scouting.

I have forgotten more about my time as a Scout then I remember. I am sure there are a few things best left unremembered. But there are also a few things I will never forget.

I remember going to summer camp for three years at Parker Scout Reservation. Two of those years were spent at the Bear Skin campsite. We (all the campers) would sing songs before supper in the dining hall. I earned pioneering merit badge although I had a lot of trouble trying to learn how to splice ropes. I saw a skunk and it’s little ones for the first time as it crossed the trail on my way back to the campsite. I remember one afternoon when my fellow troop members and I sat in a tent and discussed things that were important to us at the time, including the existence of God. I remember one patrol event which involved getting the patrol up into a tree as fast as possible. Friday night campfires were great, and my troop even performed a skit at one which involved Dracula, the werewolf, the mummy, and Frankenstein’s monster, but I don’t remember what it was about anymore. In other words, I had fun at summer camp.

One year my scoutmaster wanted everyone to wear his uniform to school for Scout Day. At the time, I was the only student in the high school who was a Boy Scout. I knew I would be the only boy in school wearing that uniform, but I wore it because I was proud to be a Boy Scout.

I prepared myself for the snide comments I expected to receive in school, but they never came. No one made fun of me and my uniform, at least not to my face. In fact, I had people asking me about the patches on my shirt and what they represented.

As the scoutmaster of that same troop today, I do not ask the boys to wear their uniform to school. Society has changed somewhat during the last 30 years. But you know, when you stop and think about it, Scouting is as much fun today as it was back then. Don’t cha think?