Posts Tagged ‘summer camp’


I did not go along with the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 when they left for their weeklong stay at Many Point Scout Camp on Sunday, July 8th. The boys and the camp were on my mind all week though. I sort of missed being up there with the troop during their summer camp adventure so on Friday, July 13th, I took a day of vacation from work and spent it at MPSC.

I left home at about 8:00 in the morning. I planned to arrive at camp while the Scouts were at their merit badge sessions. I would join them for lunch and their afternoon activities. I even thought about staying long enough to watch the closing campfire in the evening. I did not plan to stay overnight. I purposely left my sleeping bag and cot at home so I would not be tempted.

I arrived at MPSC shortly after 10:00 am. By 10:30 I walked into the Seton campsite of the Buckskin Camp to find assistant scoutmaster Eymard busy in the screen porch reading a novel he had brought along. I took a few pictures around the campsite and sat down for an update of how the week was going. We were the only two people in camp. It was very peaceful.

I had noticed a new building under construction across the road from our campsite. We got up from our chairs and Eymard lead the way to what would be the new Buckskin Handicrafts Lodge. The shell of the building was complete but it still needed siding, screening, and interior finishing. The new building was somewhat larger than the old building which was located about about four or five hundred yards south of the new site. This new lodge also had a basement which could be used as a storm shelter during inclement weather.

Eymard and I took a short walk to the Buckskin Lodge. I was shocked and surprised to see the two buildings (the lodge and the nearby trading post) had been remodeled into one large building. The lodge interior had been totally redesigned to create a larger meeting room, new staff office, and separate staff kitchen/dining room. I think I stood their for a moment with my mouth open as I walked into the lodge. It was no longer the building I had known for the last 25 years, but I liked the way they had remodeled the area. I had know about the new Handicrafts building, but the lodge was a complete surprise.

One new feature of the Buckskin Lodge caught my attention almost immediately and brought home how our lifestyles have changed over the last decade. The small mail cubicles for each campsite had been replaced by new larger cubicles, each having its own electrical outlet for adult leaders to plug in their cell phone chargers and other electronic devices. I was told this was a suggestion from Granny, the camp’s chief cook, who had seen a lot of devices plugged in at the dining hall over the last few years. She thought there must be a better way, so the staff came up with a great solution.

One of the troop’s Boy Scouts was at the trading post when Eymard and I walked in. Eymard decided to go back to the campsite so Alex said he would take me to the other new addition to Buckskin Camp.

A few years ago Many Point closed the old conservation lodge so it could be used for a new purpose. A yurt was erected in Buckskin to serve as the Nature Center. A new permanent nature lodge is now under construction near the yurt. It looks like this new building will also have a basement that will be able to serve as a storm shelter. The yurt may become a small zoo of local critters found in the area.

These new changes have me already thinking that I will need to pay the troop a visit next year when they attend Many Point Scout Camp. I want to see how everything turns out and what, if any, new programs will be provided.

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Leadership is the theme of Around The Scouting Campfire, show #17. Scoutmaster Steve and Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, begin the show by discussing Steve’s list of ten reasons to become a Scout leader. Steve tells us a story about a high school twerp who would become a scoutmaster. The Many Point Scout Camp staff tells us about the legend of Boots Hanson, the original caretaker of the camp. Buttons compares leadership styles to the rides at Disney World. We hear the second of three radio spots produced by the Bot Scouts of America. The show ends with a scoutmaster minute about being brave and a little feedback from our listeners.

Steve and Buttons thank PTC Media (http://www.ptcmedia.net) for allowing this program to be a part of the family of Scouting related podcasts. We also thank the Boy Scout Store (http://boyscoutstore.com) for sponsoring this show. Be sure to take a moment to check out their website. Finally, we would like to thank you, our listeners, for downloading Around The Scouting Campfire.

Send us your emails. You can contact Buttons at buttonst68@yahoo.com. You may contact Scoutmaster Steve at stevejb68@yahoo.com. Please rate the show and/or leave a comment at the iTunes store. You can also follow the hosts on Twitter at twitter.com/stevejb68 or twitter.com/buttonst68
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Download episode #17 by clicking HERE.
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This podcast is found on iTunes at
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=307979159.
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Show notes:
Ten Reasons to be an a Scout Leader – http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=1014
The Twerp Who Would Become Scoutmaster – http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=429
The Legend of Boots Hanson (video) – http://www.ptcmedia.net/podpress_trac/web/1668/0/BootsHanson.m4v
Which Ride Are You? – http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=407

I was listening to some music at work this afternoon when the Village People’s Y.M.C.A. was played. Suddenly, I was transported back to summer camp several years ago. Troop 68 liked taking songs, changing the words, and making a new campfire song. Y.M.C.A. happened to be one of those songs.

We had attended Many Point Scout Camp for several years and I thought we might be able to change Y.M.C.A. to M.P.S.C.  We worked on the lyrics and it did not take long to come up with a new song and actions to go along with it. When we performed it at the Friday night closing campfire it became a hit. The staff joined us onstage for the refrain and the campers and leaders joined us in the actions. We have performed the song several times since then. If I find a decent video of the troop’s performance I will be sure to get it online. Until then, here are the words to our version of M.P.S.C. -

1)  Young man, When you need to get out,
I said, young man, get away from the crowds.
I said, young man, don’t just sit there and pout.
Get up and camp with the Boy Scouts.

That’s where, you can shoot 22′s.
I said, that’s where, there’s always something to do.
I said, that’s where, you can eats lots of stew,
get belly aches and turn shades of blue.

(Refrain)
It’s fun to go to the M.P.S.C.  You’ve got to go to the M.P.S.C.
You can tie a few knots, you can cook your own meal,
You can do whatever you feel.

M.P.S.C.  You’ve got to go to the M.P.S.C.
Young man, young man, don’t just sit on your tail.
Young man, young man, get yourself on the trail.

2)  Voyagers, is the place you should be
if you want to, cook your food as you please.
Then there’s Ten Chiefs, out among all the trees,
with no shower facility.

Buck Skin, is the camp where you call
patrol members, to eat in the dining hall.
Project Cope is, the place where you do it all
even experience free fall.

3)  Young man, the bathrooms are quite unique.
I said, young man, wait till you get a peek.
I said, young man, it’s the place that you seek
When you can’t wait any longer.

Then there’s, the bedroom facilities
Where you can get, a bit caught up on your zz’s
Where the canvas, let’s in all the bugs and fleas
Unless you’ve got mosquito netting.

Boots Hanson was the first caretaker of Many Point Scout Camp. In fact, he and the other council leaders created a new style summer camp in which Boy Scouts would camp together with members of their own troop. His hard work and great love of the outdoors and Scouting brought this new idea to reality. According to the Many Point Alumni website (http://mpalumni.nsbsa.org/lanternslight/SU1991.pdf):

As the Chief Ranger, Boots came to have a unique and uncommon understanding of the function and purpose of a Scout Camp. This he fathomed better than most and even better than many Professional Scouters. He recognized that the purpose of a Scout Camp was much more than badges and awards, swim meets and canoe trips, campfires and ceremonies. He understood, in his quiet way, that the primary purpose of a Boy Scout Camp was to offer the troop and its leaders an experience in the daily chores, cares and joys of shared Troop Community living which would prepare them for an even richer Scouting experience in the Troop Room back home. From this Scouts would glean the skills and values needed for contributing citizens as adults. Every nail pounded, every campsite cleared, every trail and road built was done with this in mind.
Every week at Many Point Scout Camp, during the opening campfire, the camp director tells the story of Boots Hanson and the meaning of the red lantern, an icon at camp. In this 2007 video Kevin, the director of the Buckskin Camp, tells the story to the new campers in the dining hall. (It was raining that evening.)




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Earlier this year I heard about a new documentary about a Boy Scout troop from Harlem. The film followed four Boy Scouts from Troop 759 as they went to summer camp. The film centers on Keith, the newest Scout as he attends his first long week of camp out in the woods.

I looked forward to seeing this film coming out in theaters, but soon discovered that it was only being shown in special screening around the country. There were rumors that the film would be shown on PBS stations in 2010 so I though I may have to wait until then to see it, or buy the dvd which became available this fall.

I thought is was great that two films about Boy Scouting had been released on dvd this year. The first, Scout Camp: The Movie, had come out on dvd in June. This new film, 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem, came out later this summer. (I guess if you want to include Russell from UP, the new Pixar movie, you could say there were three movies about Scouting released in 2009.)
In September, Cubmaster Chris (of the An Hour A Week and The Leaders Campfire podcasts) and I received an email from our friend Scott at the InsaneScouter website. He wanted to know if we would like to interview one of the directors of 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem, Justin Szlasa, for an episode of The Leaders Campfire. Chris and I had interviewed Garret Batty, the director and writer of Scout Camp: The Movie earlier this summer, and the show had been quite popular. We thought it would be a great idea to interview Mr. Szlasa.
After several weeks of emailing back and forth we were about to set a date to record a show. Mr. Szlasa was a great person to interview. He and his brothers are Eagle Scouts so he knew a lot about the Scouting program. We talked about the special challenges of filming a documentary, the Boy Scouts of Troop 759, and the camp featured in the film. He even had a couple stories to share with us. Chris and I had fun interviewing him, and I think that comes through on the podcast.
The podcast episode ended up being #73 of the Leaders Campfire podcast. It can be found at PTC Media (click here). The podcast can be subscribed through PTC Media or through the iTunes music store (link here). The dvd of 759: Boy Scouts Of Harlem can be ordered through the website at http://www.harlemscouts.com/store.html . I suggest you get a copy. It is an enjoyable film.

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.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have been performing a little skit/song called Star Trekking since the mid-eighties. (See blog post from August 2, 2006) It has been quite popular with most campfire audiences. In 1990 (wow, eighteen years ago) the troop performed this skit on a local television station station. This video was taped by one of the parents, luckily. Two and a half years ago I placed the video online at YouTube for the world to see. Since then, the video has received over 39,000 views, and averages somewhere around 50-60 views per day.

Well, it seems that several of this year’s Buckskin staff at Many Point Scout Camp has seen the video. Some more then once. One Friday, the last full day of camp, our camp commissioner visited our campsite and asked me if I was the one in the video that was on YouTube. I said I was and gave him a quick explanation how that all came about. He was grinning from ear to ear when he asked me to sign his cap, and then asked me if I would perform the skit with some of the camp’s staff during the Friday night closing campfire program. I agreed, but wondered when we would have time to practice. After all, the staff would be busy all day. He replied that I should meet them at the camp lodge at 9:00 that evening.

The campfire was scheduled to start at 9:30 pm. Not much time to practice.

I was at the lodge at 9:00, which was a one minute walk from our troop’s campsite. Only half of the staff that were to be a part of the skit were there. The rest showed up as they arrived from their program areas. Unfortunately, we did not really have much time to practice. In fact, all we had time to do was to choose who would play what roles, go over each person’s lines once, and practice the refrain. We did not even get to run through the song one time. This could be interesting, I thought to myself as I walked back to my campsite. Luckily, most of the participants had viewed the skit on YouTube and had a good idea how it was done.

I brought my camcorder along to the campfire program and was able to find another staff member to record the skit. When the time came, I left my seat in the audience to join the staff at the side. As we walked out to center stage I could not help but think of the possibility of the train wreck that was about to occur. After all, we really had not practiced together.

I did not have to worry. The staff came through with flying colors. And better yet, the hundreds of Scouts and adult leaders in the audience loved it. The cheering at the end of the skit was overwhelming. We had pulled it off, and pulled it off well.

Once I returned home from summer camp I had a problem with the camcorder. It began eating my tapes. One of the tapes it tried eating was the one that had the footage of Star Trekking. I had promised the staff that I would put this video online for them to see. I needed that footage. I bought a new camcorder, and luckily was able to retrieve the video from the campfire program. In fact, I should be able to get a few podcasts from the footage. Unfortunately, the footage is pretty dark since it was filmed after sunset.

So here is that video of Star Trekking, performed at the Many Point Scout Camp closing campfire program on July 18, 2008. This video is dedicated to the 2008 Buckskin camp staff, and to the camp’s Ranger Scott, who appears in that YouTube video.

Please leave a comment here using the link below, at the iTunes Music Store, or at the PTC Media forums. Or drop me an email at webmaster@melrosetroop68.org. It really is great to hear what you think about the podcast videos.

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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?