Monthly Archives: November 2007

The Point is…

I received a comment re: You are who you are
An Anonymous reader says:
“dude, Your analogy does not work at all on Sean, rewrite it for Vic the Dog Killer. THAT guy was bad and hanging with creeps. We don’t know who broke in Sean’s house, it could be a crazy stalker he didn’t even know.
The reason you don’t hear about scout master’s home being broken in is because #1 they are not famous/celebrity #2 It just is not part of the story because it happens at home, not while the person is acting in capacity as a scout leader. “

Well Dude, you missed the point. The point is not Sean Taylor, or Mike Vic, or anyone else. It is about who we are and how we get there.
You can not deny Sean Taylor’s past as being one of misdeeds and ok… “Being in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Lets see.. He has his car shot up by a thug with an AK 47. His “Friends” tell him to leave Miami. Has his house stalked and entered, a knife placed on his bed. And now he is dead.
This is not random and it does not happen to often. I would suggest, and keep in mind this is my opinion… I am no Matlock… but the folks Taylor and Vic and Pacman and the like hang with are NO GOOD. And therefore it places them in positions like this.

The point about Scoutmasters (and Scouts) is that we don’t put ourselves in those positions. That simple. Its not about the money and the fame.. its about Character and Values.

You simply missed the point. I am not bashing on Sean Taylor. I am a Redskin fan and loved to watch him play. It truly is a tragedy and I wish it had not happened… but We are who we are and how we get there is formed in large part by the associations we keep.

Anonymous..thanks for your comment.

Happy Scouting!

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You are who you are…

But how do you get there?
Have you ever heard the term “Guilt by association”? In short it means you become like those you hang with. Or you shape yourself by the values and virtues that those around you live.

The last two days we have been bombarded with the news of Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskin safety that was shot in his home and later died.
While this is a tragedy, we need to look at the conditions that lead to the shooting.
Now I am just using a little common sense here, and I hope that I am wrong, but when you put 2 and 2 together, typically you get 4.

Sean Taylor, like many of our pro athletes, have a tendency to draw themselves to a crowd that is less than desirable. He went the University of Miami, yet another factor. It seems that a trouble cloud seems to follow U of M athletes.
Taylor did not come from a bad home, he went to a private school, dad is a Police officer, but he found himself gravitating to a bad element, an element that became both his life style and the style of his death. It is reported that since the birth of his daughter, he was turning his life around, and I applaud him for that. Unfortunately that does not mean that those that he hung around with were changing their lives around.
2 + Last week his house was entered and a knife was left on his bed. Nothing was taken.
2 + This week someone entered his house. Went to his bed room and shot him. Nothing was taken and his girl friend and child were not harmed.
= 4. This bad element defined him and later took his life.

SO HERE IS THE EASY FIX.
Stay out of bad elements. Hang around with those that will lift you up and not drag you down.
Join a gang called the Boy Scouts and develop character and values.
Live the Scout Law and Oath and you will never and I mean never end up in a situation like Sean Taylor. Surround yourself with those that are Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. People that understand Duty and Service.
People that love and appreciate the outdoors, like to compete for the sake of competition and good sportsmanship. People that respect one another and those things around them.

Yes, I said it is an easy fix. Some would argue that these athletes that get mixed up in bad crowds are creatures of their upbringing, that they can not get out or break the cycle. This is all they know. No, that to me is a cop out. Any athlete that is making that much money, that can afford the life style of the rich an famous, can surely find themselves a path out. The alternative is to stay in and end up a victim. One of my favorite radio talk show hosts always says “Nothing good ever happens at 2 in the morning”. So why put yourself in that position. The National Football league has a “Player Assistance Service” program that is available to help those that need it.
Now it is up to the player to use it… as much as it is up to the Scout to learn and live the Scout Oath and Law. It is up to individuals to be accountable for their actions.
If one truly wants to turn their around they can. It all starts with the Character of the person.

As Scouts we know what right looks like. We have our compass to guide us on our path. Always true, the Scout Oath and Law guide us down a path to success in life. Your “Assistance Program” is called the Patrol method. Your mentor program is called the Scoutmaster conference. Your life skills are developed in the advancement program and you get to taste the great things life has to offer in the Merit Badge Program. What more can one ask for? Everything to make you a good person, a man of Character. Physically Fit and able to make ethical decisions.

When was the last time a Scoutmaster had his door kicked in and was shot? Thank goodness it is not to often, if ever.

Unfortunately Sean Taylor had to die. It is a tragedy and my heart goes out to his family, especially his little girl. I am sorry it came to this, but I can’t help but think it could have been avoided. Simply by not being Guilty of association.. association with a bad element.

Say a prayer for his family, and ask God to guide those that need help getting right… the help is there.. we meet every Monday night and camp once a month!
We get high…. on Mountains!
We travel in gangs… called Patrols!
We shoot rifles… on ranges!
We Chill… in snow caves!
We are up the creek… with two paddles and a canoe!

Happy Scouting!

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A Game of Character

This Saturday perhaps the very best game of the year will be televised.
As you all know I am a huge Football fan. And I love to use analogies using sports to relate back to Scouting.
So this weekend is the absolute perfect example of everything that is GOOD about Sports and Athletes.

We spend too much time on the negative, drugs, shootings, dog fighting etc. Well we get one year that we do not have to worry about the headlines reading something negative or full of controversy.
This weekend is the 108th match up between Army and Navy.

These young men will meet on the gridiron with no hopes of NFL careers, no dreams of a Nike contract, no idea of mansion and a posse.

No these student athletes are playing for honor, pride, tradition, and each other. For the seniors this will be the last time they every play in a football game. For the seniors their mansion will be a sun shade in Iraq next year, their contract will be 8 years in the Army or Navy, their branding will be Kevlar, Beretta, and sucking water from a Camel Back.
This is the last true sporting event in America. It is not about anything other than the love of the game and playing your heart out for one day.

For 108 years these to Academies have slugged it out for pride and the honor of bragging it up for a year. Army has won 49 times, Navy has won 52 times and they have called it a draw in 7 games.

The men that meet on the playing field are men of Character, you wont see brawls or smack talk, you won’t see a high flying offensive attack, you will see the wish bone and the option.
You will see two lines collide and move the ball yards at a time, fighting for each step.
This is a game of Character, where all that matters is that they gave it 100% and played with honor. Consistent with the lives that these men have chosen to live every day.

Watch this game this weekend and celebrate Character… you won’t get it on any other channel this weekend. You won’t see it on any other playing field. And you will not see on Sunday.

Happy Scouting!

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and on the heals of….

My last post regarding Eagle Scouts.

Tonight I had the pleasure of sitting and having three Scoutmaster Conferences.
The first two were young men that are completing the Arrow of Light. They came to our Troop meeting tonight to ask for a conference.
Both of these young men were very knowledgeable and had obviously done their homework.
They were a breath of fresh Scouting air… Polite, dressed in their full uniforms, and absolutely versed in the requirements for completion of the AOL…
So I thought I’d throw them a small curve ball. After they recited the Scout Law for me, I asked them which one they needed to work on to be a better person.
After thoughtful consideration both of them came up with answers that really showed me they knew what the Law meant, at least to them. Good for them.
They will be fine additions to the Troop.

Then I sat with a young man that is working the trail to First Class. He is a motivated lad and works hard. At the outset I told him, he needed to do better than the two Webelos Scouts, he chuckled and said to me that I shouldn’t expect less. After I regained my composure we talked about his skills and he demonstrated a few first aid requirements for me. We had a nice talk about what the Law meant to him and we finished with some words of encouragement, a hand shake, a job well done… I know that he is ready for Second Class, and one day will become an Eagle.

Thought provoking questions, and answers that match, a good night for Scouting as three young men showed that they do take it serious and want to become Eagle Scouts, but they want to Earn it.

Happy Scouting!

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Aims, Methods, and Eagles…

I recently had a discussion with another Scouter that boasted about the amount of Eagle Scouts their Troop had produced. I could not help but think… great but are they really Eagle Scouts?
Well then I started to feel bad, what do I mean are they really Eagle Scouts.. they met all the requirements after all… A Scoutmaster held a conference and gave the boys his blessing… of course they are Eagle Scouts.
Then I see a Troop that recently held a Eagle Court of Honor, for 6.. count ‘em 6 Eagle Scouts.. all in the same Patrol. Congratulations!!! These guys have done well.
Then the cynic in me says… Wait a minute. They must have had one heck of a Den Mother. Eagle Scouts or Webelos Badges?
But then again.. I am sure they all completed the requirements. So good for them.

Which begs the question? Is the goal or Aim of Boy Scouts to produce Eagle Scouts?
See, I thought “The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated to provide a program for community organizations that offers effective character, citizenship, and personal fitness training for youth.
Specifically, the BSA endeavors to develop American citizens who are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit; have a high degree of self-reliance as evidenced in such qualities as initiative, courage, and resourcefulness; have personal values based on religious concepts; have the desire and skills to help others; understand the principles of the American social, economic, and governmental systems; are knowledgeable about and take pride in their American heritage and understand our nation’s role in the world; have a keen respect for the basic rights of all people; and are prepared to participate in and give leadership to American society.”

Advancement or “Getting Rank” being only one of the Goals to achieve the AIM.
I have said it before, my biggest pet peeve in the World is the term “EAGLE OUT”. So a young man completes all the requirements… is he an Eagle Scout?
Growing up as a Scout I always admired those that had become Eagles. I held the rank in high regard… and you know… I still do. And that is why it upsets me to see Eagle Scouts that can not tie a Clove Hitch, Eagle Scouts that can not lead a 2 man patrol, Eagle Scouts that Scout leaders hide from the public, because they are afraid of goofing around and horse play.

Well, Not in my Troop. I will not with hold advancement from any Scout that completes all the requirements. But I will not sign my name on a Scoutmaster conference for Eagle for a Scout that has not demonstrated all the Scout Skills, Leadership, Service, and a life centered around the Scout Oath and Law. It is just that simple.
It is not every Scout that joins the Troops right to be an Eagle Scout. They all have the equal opportunity to become one, what they do with that opportunity is up to them. Not Mom and Dad, not a Coach, or Pastor, not anyone but them.

I think it would do well for Scout leaders to understand the Aims and Methods of Scouting. I think it is also important that Scout leaders understand how special the Rank of Eagle is and hold it in high regard. Make it special again.

Congratulations to any Scout that has EARNED the rank of Eagle. I am proud of you.

Happy Scouting!

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A great time to serve

Yesterday I spent 6 hours with 5 Scouts at the Portland International Airport. Horizon Airlines sent a plea for help during what was to be a pretty busy day at PDX with all the holiday travelers heading home.
Horizon Airlines wanted to provide an opportunity for the Scouts to “Do a Good Turn”, and the plan worked.
We assisted passengers that needed help with wheel chairs, young children, and other special needs. It turned out to be a good day for the Boy Scouts of America.
Dressed in our full uniforms we pushed wheel chairs with grateful passengers to baggage claim, helped them up the stairs into the aircraft, and even kept a few children flying unaccompanied entertained for a few hours. I am sure they will remember the time spent with a few Scouts that made their travel a little easier.
At the end of the day we all felt like we had done a good thing, it was not hard work, but it was work that really helped other people.

I have traveled a lot, and luckily I have never needed assistants, but seeing the folks that needed it yesterday, I can appreciate the difficulty of those travelers with needs.
Simple things like getting from one flight to the next in a wheel chair now becomes a task. A task that required coordination, planning, communication, and then someone to assist.

Horizon Airlines really provides a great service to those with special needs, we saw that in their plan yesterday. I am glad that we could help them out.

During this holiday season, lets not forget those that have extra or special needs. Something as simple as holding a door open could make the day of someone else.

Remember.. DO A GOOD TURN DAILY… that’s EVERY DAY.. not just days you are in your Scout uniform.

Happy Scouting!

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Thanksgiving 2007

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, spend time with those you appreciate and love.
Today, give thanks for all you have, our harvest has been bountiful.
Today, give thanks for those have cleared the trail and set an easier path for us.

Say a prayer today, for those less fortunate, say a prayer for our soldiers away from home, give thanks that we can sit at a table with our families and celebrate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For Food
For Raiment
For Life
For Opportunity
For Friendship
For Fellowship
We thank Thee, O Lord.
Amen.

Happy Scouting!

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A day for giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a day to remember that we have so much to be thankful for. I can imagine the first thanksgiving celebration in the colonies. How much those people must have enjoyed the day knowing they had a bountiful harvest, that they were relatively safe, that they could practice their religious beliefs in a new land without persecution.

Lately I have become very interested in my heritage. I have spent time learning more about my family and where they came from and who they were. Fortunately my Dad has done a lot of research on this and is passing it on. This week we discovered something we had not known about our family. We are American Germans from Russia (that we knew). What we did not know was that in the late ’30’s and early ’40’s the Russians rounded up the Germans living in Russia and sent them to Siberia and other “Internment Camps”. We uncovered via the Internet a full listing of the people from the Village of Norka, where my family came from, that were sent to the camps. In that list we found 6 members of our family, direct descendents. We saw that they were all brutally killed in the camps in 1942. For refusing not to denounce their faith and because they were German.

So I think back to the Pilgrims in the new world, how they, like my family, fled a land in which they had rooted their families, raised kids, to come to a new land. A land they knew nothing about, were they had no homes, no jobs, no family. And they made it. They came to America seeking freedom. And they found it. Our family has been in the United States since the late 20’s. Germans from Russia. On Thanksgiving, I am sure they prayed for those left in Russia and gave thanks for the new found freedom in their new land.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be here and to be part of my family.

Happy Thanksgiving…. and Happy Scouting!

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The Merit Badge Program

Here is a nice video put out by the Boy Scouts of America about Merit Badges.
As we prepare for new Scouts to join the Troop in February, this is a nice explanation of what the Merit Badge program is. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

You can learn more about the BSA Merit Badge Program here.

Happy Scouting!

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The Competitive edge

There are those out there that would suggest that competition is bad… Everyone is a winner.. you must make everyone feel like they won the game.
I say HOG WASH!

Those that spout that psycho babble have never been 12 year old boys and live in a bubble.
Boys need to compete.. its what they do.
Competition breeds success and in life, success means everything.
Now lets define that.
Success may mean many things to many different people.
Success may mean a big house and a nice car, it may mean healthy children, it may mean having the ability to backpack across Europe or annual trips to High adventure bases.
Success may mean that you have a modest house, a happy family, strong faith, and valuable relationships.
So success comes in may shapes and sizes. It is up to the individual to define his success, but one thread that remains common to all is Competition. And competition makes us stronger, it makes up better sports, it challenges us to do better, it asks of us to “DO OUR BEST”.
And it also makes for fun times.

This past weekend we went up to Camp Cooper and tried competition of a different sort.
We held our First Annual Champions of the Kamping Kulinary Kraft. We held a cook off.
Patrol v. Patrol in head to head cooking.

The 4 Patrols and the TLC all participated and let me tell you what I learned.
I learned that boys love to compete. In the four years that we have been a Troop I have never seen the boys get so serious about cooking.
They were judged in 4 areas.
1. Preparation. Menus, Keeping the cooking area clean, having menus and duty roster posted etc.
2. Presentation. How the meal looked.

3. Taste and Creativity.
4. Patrol dining. The Patrol had guests and they ate together.

They had to cook Breakfast on Coleman Camp stoves, Lunch using Backpacking stoves and techniques, and Dinner in Dutch ovens. All three meals were judged.

From french toast with gourmet bacon covered in whipped cream and strawberries to perhaps the best pork roast I have ever eaten, the Scouts did a fantastic job and had a blast doing it. They really poured their hearts, skills and minds into the competition and did their very best to win.

In the spirit of competition the patrols were helpful and worked together. When it came to recipes, they were safeguarded and kitchens were “Off Limits” to everyone except the judges.
(Boys rules). They broke out with garnishes on the plates and fancy home made noodles, they really did a nice job.

And at the end of the day.. there is only one winner of the competition, but they all win because they all tried, they all learned, they all developed, and they all know what they need to do better next time.

I do not understand why some folks are dead set against competition, why they think little Johnny’s feeling might get hurt and he will be scared for life. To folks that think that way I am afraid they are setting their kid up to fail.
You do not have to be cut throat to compete. Competition at the heart of it is healthy and drives us to be better. Why is that wrong? In the game of life that is how it is. Why not prepare these young men now for what lay ahead? Are we not here to Develop Character, Citizenship, and physical fitness? Are we not here to teach these Scouts to make ethical decisions? Are we not here to turn these young men into good men?

The Boy Scouts of America encourages Competition. “Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements. At other times they will compete against those same patrols in Scout skills and athletic competitions.” (the Patrol method from the BSA Website) We have inter patrol competitions at meetings and we compete against other Troops and Patrols at Camporee. Competition is healthy, it has been a part of Scouting for almost 100 years and will continue to be a strong part of the Scouting program.

So HOG WASH to those that dislike the competitive edge. I know after this weekend, I love it.. and that amazing pork roast too.

Happy Scouting!

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