Archive for February, 2009

Trip to Alaska! Klondike Derby 2009

February 27, 2009

Klondike Derby 2009 Patch

Buffalo Ridge District Boy Scouts took a trip to Alaska in February for the 2009 Klondike Derby. Well, we stopped at Hole in the Mountain Park in Lake Benton, Minnesota, since it was good, snowy and cold enough right there in the middle of our district.

Cub Scouts cycled inside and out to foil the wind & frigid temps, taking part in:

  • Fishing for mouse traps
  • Alaska flag craft
  • Slingshot shoot (led by BSA-trained Scouter)
  • Leather kneckerchief slide craft
  • Snow soccer

Boy Scouts & Venturers were outside for the duration.  A Troop from Marshall, MN, even camped out (Polar Points for all!).  Scouts hauled neccesary gear on sleds of their own manufacture to six different stations:

  • Tent building
  • Animal tracks
  • Fire starting
  • Knot tying
  • First aid
  • Snow catapult

Our district has been fortunate to receive assistance running stations for the older guys from parks & rec students at South Dakota State University at Brookings.  A couple of my Scouts remarked that they didn’t have enough to do during a couple stations—that’s good experience for the college kids before they get out and run summer rec programs, as well as good experience for our Scouts to make sure they’re dressed warm enough not to freeze during downtime.

The Klondike Derby finishes up with a great race after lunch, when the Boy Scouts & Venturers line up and race dogsled fashion across the park to the cheers (and jeers) of the Cubs and Scouters assembled.  Our Troop won a couple years back and we had a good team this year.  We had great buffalo chili for lunch and  I believe I can say that a good time was had by all.


Resources on Native American Culture in Southwest Minnesota

February 18, 2009

Southwest Minnesota has a rich heritage reaching back centuries before statehood.  Respect for our natural environment and those who lived here before us is an important part of Scouting.  With a little thought, we can help our Scouts discover the fascinating heritage of Native American culture in our part of the world.

Coteau des Prairies, or Buffalo Ridge

There is archeological evidence of human habitation along the Coteau des Prairies reaching back thousands of years.  On Minnesota’s leading edge of the Coteau, also known as Buffalo Ridge, Jeffers Petroglyphs State Historic Site is located three miles east of US71 in Cottonwood County.  This site preserves ancient art carved in red rock outcroppings, some of which may date 5,000 years into the past, on easily accessible walking paths.  The Minnesota State Historical Society has a small museum with interpretive programs during the summer.  (The multi-media program has loud noises that might scare younger Cubs.)  Blue Mounds State Park north of Luverne also shows evidence of pre-historic use.  Blue Mound has natural prairie trails and a modern campground-the trails can be muddy when wet-along with a nearby herd of roaming bison.

The Cheyenne and the Ioway tribes lived in the area around the quarries at Pipestone and along the Des Moines River when the first first Europeans and Anglo-Americans traveled across the Ridge.  Eventually, eastern settlement pushed tribes further west.  The Ashinabe (Ojibwa or Chippewa) gained control of northern Minnesota, pushing the Sioux Nation south and west into this area.  Two hundred years ago, fur traders established posts at the Great Oasis in Murray County and later at what is now Camden State Park along the Redwood River in Lyon County.  For added interest in this era, Lake Benton hosts an annual Mountain Man Rendezvous at Hole in the Mountain County Park each August.

Depot Pipestone

The quarries at Pipestone National Monument are mined to this day for the namestake stone.  According to the Monument, “carvers prized this durable yet relatively soft stone, which ranged from mottled pink to brick red.”  The monument has an nature trail to the waterfall which is an easy hike in most any weather except when icy.  The museum has somewhat dated displays;  however, with advance notice rangers or volunteers will provide first-hand accounts and hands-on demonstrations for youth visitors.  The Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers organization also has a museum in an old train depot between the Monument and downtown, offering a variety of programs throughout the year.

It can be misleading to refer to a singular “Sioux Nation.”  They are a group of related tribes who speak related languages.  One could say this is similar to the Scandinavians, composed of several nations which have changed and grown unique identities over time.  The Lakota moved farthest west and were among the first tribes to adopt the horse culture following the herds of bison on the Great Plains.  Nakota-Yanktons and Yankoni-occupied the plains on the western edge of the Buffalo Ridge up into the Red River Valley.   The Dakota, or Santee were the last of the Sioux to leave northern Minnesota, and lived along the Minnesota River Valley when the United States negotiated treaties to open lands for settlement.

Cabin at Shetek State Park

In the 1850s, the Dakota were left with small reservations on either side of the Minnesota River Valley.  Lower Sioux Agency was established south of what is now Redwood Falls, and Upper Sioux Agency was established near Granite Falls.  As the United States entered the Civil War, a combination of crop failure, broken promises and misunderstandings lead to the Dakota Conflict of 1862 (also known as the US-Dakota War).  Lakota warriors led by Chief Little Crow attacked the Agencies and settlers in the area, including at Lake Shetek in Murray County.  After several weeks of fighting, the conflict ended with mass arrests and deportation of most Dakota to reservations in South Dakota and Nebraska.  The Lower Sioux Community was later established with lands purchased by tribal members who returned to the area.  The Minnesota Historical Society has a modern museum at the Lower Sioux Agency site with hands-on displays appropriate for young Scouts.  There are interpretive tours of the site during the summer, including a restored stone warehouse.

Local Resources

These are just a few of the many local resources for Cub Scout leaders to help our Scouts understand the people who lived here before us.  Check your local library for books that can show Native American history visually.  For example, Eyewitness North American Indian from DK Publishing, is often available at the Scout Shop.  Also, Charles Eastman, a Dakota Indian from Lower Sioux Agency, wrote first hand accounts of his life for Boys Life 100 years ago.  His books, such as Indian Scout Craft and Lore, would be of interest to older Scouts.

In addition to books, parks and museums, be sure to ask people in your own community.  For example, a long-time Lakota resident of Marshall has offered to talk to Scout groups about the tribes, their history and customs.  Who knows, one of your own Scout parents may be your best resource, so be sure to ask.


Minnesota DNR
Blue Mounds State Park:
Camden State Park:
Shetek State Park:

Minnesota Historical Society
Jeffers Petroglyphs:
Lower Sioux Agency:
Pipestone National Monument:
Junior Ranger Program:

John Shepard, Wood Badge Ticket, August 2008

Turtle Audio

February 17, 2009

Audio for Turtle (A Lakota Legend): Trying out the WordPress audio link.  No guarantees.

Turtle Island

February 16, 2009
Turtle Island

Turtle Island

There was another world before this one.  But the people of that world did not behave themselves.  Displeased, Creator set out to make a new world.  He sang several songs to bring rain, which poured stronger with each song.

As he sang the fourth song, the earth split apart and water gushed up through the many cracks, causing a flood. By the time the rain stopped, all of the people and nearly all of the animals had drowned. Only Crow survived.

Crow pleaded with Creator to make him a new place to rest. So Creator decided the time had come to make his new world.  From his huge pipe bag, which contained all types of animals and birds, Creator selected four animals known for their ability to remain under water for a long time.  He sent each in turn to retrieve a lump of mud from beneath the flood waters.

First Loon dove deep into the dark waters, but he was unable to reach the bottom.  Otter, even with his strong webbed feet, also failed.  Next, Beaver used his large flat tail to propel itself deep under the water, but he too brought nothing back. 

Finally, Creator took Turtle from his pipe bag and urged him to bring back some mud.  Turtle stayed under the water for so long that everyone was sure it had drowned.  Then, with a splash, Turtle broke the water’s surface!  Mud filled his feet and claws and the cracks between his upper and lower shells.

Singing, Creator shaped the mud in his hands and spread it on the water, where it was just big enough for himself and Crow. He then shook two long eagle wing feathers over the mud until earth spread wide and varied, overcoming the waters.  Feeling sadness for the dry land, Creator cried tears that became oceans, streams, and lakes.  He named the new land Turtle Island in honor of the turtle who provided the mud from which it was formed.

Creator then took many animals and birds from his great pipe bag and spread them across the earth.  From red, white, black, and yellow earth, he made men and women. Creator gave the people his sacred pipe and told them to live by it.  He warned them about the fate of the people who came before them.  He promised all would be well if all living things learned to live in harmony.  But the world would be destroyed again if they made it bad and ugly.

Adapted from:

Wolf Elective 10a. American Indian Lore: Read a book or tell a story about American Indians, past or present.

Twelfth-Point Minute

February 8, 2009

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Image

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Image

Today is the last day of Scout week, recognized as Scout Sunday by some churches.

Many of you are members of a large, organized religion.  You might be Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jewish, or any one of a number of others.  As you know, part of being a Boy Scout is having a belief in God.  Every time you repeat the Scout Oath or Law, you reconfirm that you will do your duty to God, and that you are reverent.

Keep in mind that some members of your troop might not belong to a regular church group.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in a higher power.  Many Native Americans believe that the Great Spirit is the life force that flows through all living things and controls the wind, fire and the Earth.  You might think of the Great Spirit as Mother Nature.  Nature has created a world for its creatures that allows them to live and prosper, from the lowest insects to the mighty eagle.  To me, that sounds like a higher power at work.

It doesn’t matter how you believe in God-whether you attend church every week or simply respect the power of nature as Native Americans do.

(Adapted from BSA Troop Program Resources, p.18. )

Scout Week Poster

February 4, 2009

Cub Scout Salute

Cub Scouts do activities and play games

Cub Scouts go camping

Cub Scouts race Pinewood Derby cars

Cub Scouts go fishing

Cub Scouts race Raingutter Regatta boats

Cub Scouts pick up litter

Cub Scouts build model rockets

Cub Scouts can shoot BB Guns & archery at camp

Cub Scouts collect food

Cub Scouts earn ranks, belt loops & patches

Cub Scouts have fun!

Brian C., Wolf Cub, Pack25

Third Law of the Pinewood Derby

February 3, 2009

Pinewood09 Drill Baby Drill

JohnScout’s Third Law of the Pinewood Derby:

Akela will ignore the Second Law of the Pinewood Derby.  This is why we run an Open Class race after the Cub Scout feature event.  Prizes will be awarded.

The Third Law is manifest in business, arts, & entertainment.

Second Law of the Pinewood Derby

February 2, 2009

JohnScout’s Second Law of the Pinewood Derby:

The less Akela touches the Pinewood Derby Kit, the better the Cub Scout does in the big race.

First Law of the Pinewood Derby

February 1, 2009

JohnScout’s First Law of the Pinewood Derby:

No matter how early one acquires the BSA Official Pinewood Derby kit blank, we will still be sanding the weekend before the big race.

Scout Sunday

February 1, 2009

The 12th point of the Scout Law is ‘A Scout is Reverent’.  “He is reverent toward God.  He is faithful in his religious duties.  He respects the beliefs of others.”

Scout Sunday falls on the first day of February this year.  Boy Scouts of America celebrate Scout Week the week of 8 February–the anniversary of the founding of Scouting in the United States.  We observe Scout Sunday on the Sunday before 8 Feb, although some churches such as United Methodist and Presbyterian (USA) observe Scout Sunday on the second Sunday in February, at the end of Scout Week this year.

Scout Sunday is an opportunity for Scouts to demonstrate their commitment to their faith and community.  BSA suggests that Scout Sunday is also “the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting.”  For example, this is a great time to present recognition for Scouts earning the PRAY religious emblems.  Many Cub Scout packs hold their Blue & Gold Banquet in February, also in celebration of a long tradition of Scouting in America and around the world.

From Keep It Simple Make It Fun blog

Our Council gives Scouts an opportunity to earn recognition for participating in 2009 Scout Anniversary Week.  Requirements paraphrased include:

  1. Attend Scout Sunday or Sabbath in uniform.  (Preferably at your charter organization if your unit is sponsored by a religious group)
  2. Do two of the following

a. Help promote Scouting, set up a window display or poster.
b. Wear your uniform to school on your meeting day.
c. Participate in a service project at least one hour.
d. Bring a friend to a Pack, Den, Troop or Crew meeting.
e. Write an article for the newspaper or letter to the editor.

How am I observing Scout Sunday?  I’ll be taking the family to a pancake breakfast fundraiser for the Troop next door.  My 13th point of the Scout Law: A Scout is Always Hungry!