Monthly Archives: July 2008

Character in Leadership

If you want to see Character.. or at least hear it…
You MUST listen to this.

This is Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, United States Surgeon General speaking at the National meetings of the Boy Scouts of America.

CLICK HERE to Listen

This is a great talk about success and drive.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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ScoutParents.org

Last night I was listening to the live podcast An Hour A Week with Cubmaster Chris. Chris is a great guy and a partner of mine in the PTC media podcast. He brought up the topic of Scoutparents.org.
Scoutparents.org is a program designed to engage Parents, especially those new to Scouting, getting them to be active participants within the units their son participates in.
As the conversation went on I was called in to talk about a comment I made in the chat room that shadows the show.
The comment had something to do with the fact that we need the Scoutparents.org site and program because units do not do it right to start with.
“Do it right”?
Yes, Do it right. IF units (COMMITTEES) were fully staffed and executed the program correctly, they would already be engaging parents and soliciting from them the much needed help that often find ourselves in need of.
IF unit committees were defining the jobs of the committee and seeking qualified help to fill vacant positions, or ask for help in subcommittees, or fundraising drives, or providing program help. Then we would not need the materials from Scoutparents.org.
But as it is… units have not been doing right and so Scoutparents.org came to the rescue.
Scoutparents.org started in Georgia by a Scouter named Gerald Lawhorn.

“All parents of Scouts should be encouraged to be a volunteer and make it known that they desire to participate, help and enjoy Scouting with their child. Those that choose to will be the ones who become ScoutParents or other Dedicated Scouting volunteers.” One of Scoutmaster Mr. g’s quotes: “Scouts of ‘drop off’ parents generally drop out!”

The BSA adopted the ScoutParents.org program after a pilot session in the Central region. Councils now have ScoutParent coordinators and after some training, the program is surely going to raise retention rates and increase participation.
Out of the necessity of units not doing it right ScoutParents.org was born. Not according to Gerald Lawhorn, according to me. Some units have been doing this sort of thing in the course of their annual programs. ScoutParents.org put it all together in a neat package that is worth every penny.
Remember that the program is not about Parents, or Scout leaders.. its about those boys.
And anything that we can do to provide a better program, retain young men, and grow Scouting we need to put our effort into it.
ScoutParents.org is a great program and is going to have a lasting impact on units and Scouts.
Visit their site at http://www.scoutparents.org/ and get involved at the unit level by becoming a ScoutParent mentor, unit coordinator, or be a part of the ScoutParent family team. You can get details at their website, or check with your Council office.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


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Picture of the Week

Sunset at Willow Creek
After a great day of Climbing, nothing can beat the view of
Mt. Jefferson peaking over the campsite.

This picture was taken by Debbie Miller, a parent of one of the Scouts in our Troop.

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Trustworthy

This last weekend we learned a little more about Trustworthy.
Trustworthy often is interpreted as telling the truth and being able to be trusted in a truthful kind of way.
Trustworthy is extended in ourselves also in trusting each other not only being truthful, but physically too.
We learned to trust each other on belay this weekend, literally putting your safety in the hands of another. We learned to trust our knots and gear. We snapped a caribiner on a rope and onto our harness and walked off a cliff. That takes trust. You have got to be able to trust the folks that set up the climbing area. Did they hook everything up right?
So trustworthy does not stop at telling the truth. It extends to our inner trust of others and of things we use.
There are people in our lives that will never have the level of trust that our Scouts learned this weekend, and they will be better for it forever.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Happy Belated Anniversary

What happens when you do not pay attention.. you miss something.
I am not sure how significant it is, and I truly do not stay awake at night thinking of this, but on the 18th of July 2007, this Blog was started.
226 posts and 10854 visitors later, oh and a Podcast that is listened to by one or two folks, this thing might just work.

I enjoy doing the Blog and Podcasts, and it is because of the emails and comments I get that I will keep it going.

So Happy Anniversary to the Scoutmaster minute!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Patrols

In 1920, Baden Powell wrote in his book “Aids to Scoutmastership“:

The Patrol System
The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organisations, and where the System is properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success. It cannot help itself!

The formation of the boys into Patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units each under its own responsible leader is the key to a good Troop.

The Patrol is the unit of Scouting always, whether for work or for play, for discipline or for duty. An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on to the individual. This is immediately gained in appointing a Patrol Leader to responsible command of his Patrol. It is up to him to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each boy in his Patrol. It sounds a big order, but in practice it works. Then, through emulation and competition between Patrols, you produce a Patrol spirit which is eminently satisfactory, since it raises the tone among the boys and develops a higher standard of efficiency all round. Each boy in the Patrol realises that he is in himself a responsible unit and that the honour of his group depends in some degree on his own ability in playing the game.

Essentially what BP summised was that Boys will naturally lead, they will naturally compete, and they have a desire to be successful.
The Patrol is the place where that happens.
I can not appreciate enough the part in which he states that the Patrol is the key to a good Troop. Not a good Troop is key to good Patrols. The foundation that is built with Patrols will stand as strong as granite that a Troop can build on.
Constantly, we need to build up our Patrols by teaching, coaching, and mentoring the Patrol leaders. Being great examples of the values of Scouting and skilled in the methods.

You can read the full book “Aids to Scoutmastership” here.

Another good resource for learning more about the Patrol Method is at the White Stag web site.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Credibility

The age old story of the boy that cried wolf is timeless and speaks to us regarding credibility, it essentially goes like this:

A young boy in a small village felt that he never received attention. So one day as he was tending to the sheep, he cried out that a wolf was nearing the herd. This alarmed the village and they ran to the aid of the boy and the herd.
Upon arriving, the villagers found no wolf, just the boy and the sheep. They asked if there was a wolf, the boy replied that, no… not really, he thought he may have seen a wolf.. but there was no wolf.
The next day, the same scenario played out in the fields just outside of the village. The young boy again, tending to the flock cried out WOLF…WOLF… and again the people of the village came to the aid of the young boy and the flock of sheep.
Again they found no wolf, no harmed sheep, and the young boy alone. They asked the boy where the wolf was and again he replied that there really was no wolf.
The third day as the young boy watched over the sheep, a wolf appeared and began to attack the flock. The young boy in a panic yelled WOLF..WOLF!!.. no one came. The wolf continued to wreck havoc on the flock and the boy continued to yell.. WOLF… WOLF!!! Still no one from the village came to the rescue.
The wolf took the sheep it wanted and left the boy and flock. The young boy returned to the village with the remainder of the sheep. The owner inquired as to why there were missing sheep. To which the young boy told the story of the wolf that attacked the herd. The young boy asked why no one came when he cried Wolf?
The old man who owned the sheep replied that they did not believe the boy. That for two days the boy cried wolf when there was none. The boy had lost the trust of the villagers. On the third day when the wolf actually came, the people of the village did not want to waste their time running to a emergency that was not real.
The young boy has lost credibility with the people of the town.

We too can loose our credibility when we are not living the Scout Oath and Law. When we are not Trustworthy and Loyal. When we fail to be Courteous and Kind. When we are not Thrifty and Reverent.
These parts of the Scout law are visible to others and demonstrate to others how we live our lives. They build credibility. We loose that credibility when we stray from the values of the Oath and Law.

It takes a lot to earn credibility and Trust… it can vanish in a minute.
Be careful with yours, you may need it when the wolves of our lives attack and we need help.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Health and Safety

As we are beginning the process of the 2010 National Jamboree, I am learning a lot about more about just how much the BSA is concerned about Health and Safety. For obvious reasons, it is a good thing to be concerned about.
But here is what I find almost shocking. The restrictions and “Suggestions” of the BSA regarding the participants at National Jamboree.
Now before I go any further… I have to say that I agree in total with the decisions made by the BSA. While I never want to exclude a Scout or Scouter from any activity, I think it is right to protect those folks that have medical conditions or are not physically fit to function in a certain environment.
Just like the standard for participating at one of the BSA’s High adventure Bases, like Philmont. The Boy Scouts of America has outlined what participants at the National Jamboree should maintain as their health and safety guidelines.
Starting with weight, when we interviewed for the Scoutmaster positions, the panel clearly outlined the weight requirements. Scouts and Scouters that exceed the maximum weight for their height will not be permitted to attend. I can see this. Being overweight may bring with it many other conditions. Most folks that I know that are what would be considered “Obese” also have diabetes problems, trouble breathing, asthma, and other conditions that would not be conducive to warm Virgina Summers.
Heart trouble and other physical issues can also lead to a very troublesome Jambo experience.
After the 2005 National Jamboree, I think the BSA had an eye opener when Adult leaders had medical issues and the heat ran rough shot throughout the encampment.
The BSA program teaches us to be “physically strong”. This is subjective at best as the BSA also just wants us to “Do our Best” but! When you are at a National Program I believe that the BSA wants a bit more. We set our Scouts up for success, and we need to remember that keeping them safe and providing a healthy environment is part of our obligation to the Scouts.
Setting guidelines and rules regarding Health and safety are good things for the BSA.
Those that would like to participate should seek the necessary help in meeting the standard. If they can not achieve that, they should understand that it is in their best interest to obtain from the activity. The last thing anyone wants to see is a Scout or Scouter get hurt, extremely sick, or even killed due to a lack of fitness or health issue.
You can learn more about the National Jamboree standard and guidelines by checking out this site.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Jamboree | 3 Comments

Aims, Methods, and …Fun!

While we constantly talk about the Aims and Methods of Scouting, I think it is important never to forget FUN!
Even though it is not listed as a specific Goal… if you are not having fun then you are not doing right.
I’ve been doing some Scoutmaster reflection lately and came to the understanding that 12 year old boys are 12 year old boys. By and large they joined Scouting to get out in the woods and do nothing but have fun. The leadership stuff develops as they grow and the values creep in as we teach, but at the end of the hike it was all about fun… not citizenship, being a good steward of the land, or development of character. While they got all of that, when you are 12 you just have fun.

I think BP said it best when he talked about “the game with a purpose”. It’s just a game, how we, the adult leaders, develop the values in the Scouts is less important to the Scouts than having fun. We need to do it throughout the program, but never loose sight of the 12 year mind. He’s thinking fun.

Last night at the Troop meeting, I took and informal poll. Sort of a Troop reflection. I did not require an answer, but if any Scout wished to speak up he was welcome.
I asked two questions: First. Since you have joined the Troop, have you learned anything?
That is a broad questions, but I wanted to give them plenty of room.
And second. Are you having fun? Pretty simple.
The answers were refreshing. More than half of the Troop raised their hands to comment. To a Scout they all answered Yes and Yes… most adding phrases like, Learned a ton!!! Some of the older Scouts talked about skills, some of the younger Scouts talked about doing something for the first time. I was glad to hear that they all were having fun. And to me that means we are doing it right. Learning while having fun.

The Aims and Methods of Scouting are great tools to guide you and your Troop to developing strong young men, leaders, future Dads and citizens. When they look back on their days in Scouting and all they have achieved in life, I want them to remember how much fun they had.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Scouting, Scouts, Values | 2 Comments

Ask Andy

One of my favorite web sites/blogs is the Ask Andy site.
I love the Q&A format and I often agree with what Andy has to say. He answers the questions with clear and concise answers.
What I like about Andy is his committment to the Boy Scout program as outlined by the BSA.

I would like to share a recent post from the Ask Andy site.

Dear Andy,
I went on my first camping trip with my son’s troop this weekend and I had no idea there were so many rules for the trip. He was not allowed to sit by me or eat the food that I had brought with me. Is there a guide that I can get that would show me all the rules for camping with your Scout? (Name Withheld, North Florida Council)

This is one terrific question and the short answer is:
In Boy Scouts, parents don’t camp with their sons. This is not “Webelos III”!
Here’s the longer answer…One of the main purposes of Cub Scouting is to strengthen the natural bond between a boy and his parents. Thus, many activities (all of them at the Tiger level, in fact) are of the boy-and-parent type, and up through Bear rank and arrow points, the parent is “Akela”! Only at the Webelos level — the transitional program — do parents begin to take a background role and the Den Leader comes to the fore, but even then camping is still of the “family” variety and boys do not camp without a parent. This is because, across the ages of Cub Scouting, boys are still largely in the “dependent” mode of their maturation.
By Boy Scout age, however, boys will naturally begin to seek more independence — this is a normal progression of the maturation process through which they will ultimately become productive adults. Recognizing this need for independence and individuation from one’s own parents, the Boy Scout program is geared differently from Cub Scouting. In Boy Scouting, the focus is on independent choices and actions, boys leading boys, peer relationships, and minimal parental contact, especially while on hikes and camping trips. This minimizing of parental contact is neither arbitrary nor accidental; it is deliberate and purposeful, based on studies of the male maturation process by the BSA over the past 98 years.
Your son’s troop seems to be following the proper format quite well. Parents, if they attend campouts with the troop, are definitely to be kept separate from the Scouts. If they aren’t kept separate, there’s simply no Boy Scouting going on — It devolves to “Cub Scouts in tan shirts.” The more a troop keeps parents and their sons from interacting while camping, the better the troop is in delivering the Boy Scout program.
If you like “family camping,” by all means please do this! It’s fun, and it’s a nice thing to do with your son, because you give him the opportunity to “show off” how much he’s learning in Boy Scouts! I heartily encourage you to continue camping with your son! But, when it comes to his troop, and camping as a Boy Scout, the greatest gift you can give your son is to wish him well, give him a big hug, wave to him as he goes off on another new adventure with his troop, and then welcome him home again with a big hug when he returns!

Thanks Andy for that great answer. I know the parents and leaders of my Troop have heard that before.
If you would like to contact Andy here is his email (given with permission)AskAndyBSA@Yahoo.Com

Have a great Scouting Day!

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