Monthly Archives: March 2009

Backpacking Tip of the Week

This Backpacking tip of the week is from my good buddie Gary J.
He sends a tip about the ever so famous “Sham Wow!”

Carry a large ShamWow towel and use it as a clothes wringer. Wash out your t shirt, sox, etc. Roll ‘em up in your handy dandy ShamWow and wring it out. Unroll The articles of clean clothing are nearly already dry! Hang in the sun for a bit or tie to backpack and voila.
Learn more about Sham Wow at their site.

Thanks Gary.

Try this one. It may be one more thing in your pack, but it is a multi use item so it works for me!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Auto renew and the PCT

It looks like the “AUTO RENEW” feature from Blogger is less than effective.
The statements says it was renewed, but the site failed to do so.
So… it looks like I will be using the old format for at least a while till it is fixed.

IN THE MEAN TIME…

I just got home from the Pacific Crest Trail Trail Fest!!
Whooo Hooo. Man, what a great time we had. Class’s, vendors, and hanging out with back packers all day!
Glen Van Peski from Gossamer Gear gave a fantastic presentation on lightening up your pack. His ultra light methods are a little much for me right now, but his tips on reducing by planning and thinking ahead were something that I will get in my routine starting now.
Sarah Kirkconnell from Trail cooking & the Outdoors blog also did a great presentation on cooking options on the trail. We got to chat with all the vendors in a real comfortable setting. I had a ball… and came away with a bag full of Swag!
Leave No Trace was there and had a neat demo on impact, and of course the PCT Association and other “Trail Friends” groups were there. It is nice to see the dedication to our wilderness areas and to this long trail.
It was a great time and I encourage all of you to go to similar events when they are near you. You come out motivated to hit the trail, you learn, and you get a greater appreciation for the trail.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Something seems to be wrong

For some reason www.thescoutmasterminute.com is not working properly.
I am working on getting this fixed.
Please be patient and we will get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Scout What we are

http://youtube.com/v/XsrnREOO43c

Just because… this is worth the time to watch. What and who we are.

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Plan Ahead and Prepare

“Wilderness is a necessity…a fountain of life… thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people who are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
—John Muir

Plan Ahead and Prepare is the first principle of Leave no Trace.
Planning sets your trip up for success. A failure to plan well will lead to a trip that does not.
What I mean by that is simply that we need to plan for Leave no trace.
That is not to say that we can’t have fun. Rather it is to say that we need to consider the wilderness areas when we enter them.
We need to ask our selves how much trash do I need to produce?
How much impact on the ground are we going to leave?
Where is my waste going? How do I get it all in and out?
What are the goals of the trip?

When we ask ourselves these questions, we start to better understand leave no trace. Some people will have you believe that Leave no trace is a philosophy to to keep you out of the wilderness. That is the farthest from the Truth. Leave no trace is designed around impact and leaving wilderness areas so that we all can enjoy them for years and years to come.
So we start by planning for less impact.
We start by looking at the goals of the trip. When we enter wilderness area we need to be aware of the rules. Travel in smaller groups, spread out camp areas. For Scout units that can be challenging, but really cool too. You won’t be able to camp as a big troop in the wilderness, but what a fantastic opportunity for Patrols to camp together.
Which brings up meals. Planning our meals is perhaps that single biggest issue of impact. And that is all about trash. We generate trash with cooking. SO preparation is the name of that game.
Reduce trash by repackaging. Do not take wrappers, boxes and cans with you. Reduce the trash at home. Repackage your meals in ziplock bags or other resealable containers that can easily be carried out, used as litter bags, and take up less space.
Think about the meals you are cooking and what you need to do that. Canister stoves are efficient and allow for quick boil times for water. They are pretty light and take up less space. But you need to plan for the amount of fuel you will consume. This reduces impact and trash. And lightens the load in your pack. But you have to plan. Waste fuel and you will end up short.

Look at your tents, tarps, or what ever shelter you are planning on using. Free standing tents leave less impact. What color tent do you have. Hot pink in the wilderness takes away from other peoples enjoyment. Do you need to stake it down? If not..then don’t.

Where are you getting water? How much can you carry? Purifying or packing? These are planning questions that need to be considered.

So the bottom line is that Planning Ahead and Preparing for your next adventure is the first and most important part of a trip that leaves no trace. No matter where you go, or what your goals are, you should always keep in mind that there will be people coming to the wilderness after you and you want to give them the same opportunity to experience it’s pristine beauty as you are.

Plan and prepare.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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A recent find… we could learn a lot from!

From the Chief Scout Yarns
January 24, 1920

THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SCOUTS
The story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is really an old Arab tale, and was first written in Bagdad.
The Boy Scouts of Bagdad recently got up the play of Ali Baba. As you know, we have Scouts of every form of religion under the sun, and at Bagdad there are Chaldeans, Moslems, Jews, and Christians.
In that country the difference in a man’s religion makes a big difference in his dealings with other people, and it was considered a most wonderful thing by the onlookers when, in the performance of the play, Christian boys danced hand in hand with Moslems.
The older men have been asking: “What sort of spirit is this that the British have brought to us? Those boys, instead of being continually at war with one another, according to the religion they followed, are now like a band of brothers together!”
Such is the brotherhood of the Scouts. We can respect another fellow’s religion, and not think any the worse of him because he is not exactly the same as ourselves.

ROBERT BADEN-POWELL
CHIEF SCOUT

A man before his time… or timeless man.. BP, what a guy!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Wow, it’s been a week

Its been a real busy week for me, as you can tell, it’s been a week since I last posted.
So today I thought I’d drop a note and give a little recap about whats going on with me and Scouting.
The great news is that Scouting is doing great. Yesterday 4 more Scouts crossed over into our troop. Welcome additions all.
Monday, the troop started training on the Leave no trace principles. We are getting ready for back to back backpacking treks, starting with a nice weekend in April on a great section of the PCT.
In my next few podcasts I will be discussing Leave no trace in detail, so watch for that.
We are looking at packing the right gear and what is in each of the Scouts backpacks. Pairing down gear, and looking at multi use gear. Our focus for this year is on “Developing an appreciation for the Our doors”.
We are doing this by getting out there and renewing our commitment to the Out door code and practicing leave no trace.
It certainly is not all work and no play. Taking the Scouts out into the wilderness proves to be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to fun and relaxation.
Once of the hardest things to work on is developing an understanding that sometimes its ok to just sit and listen to the trees, birds, and have quiet conversations.
Sometimes it’s ok not to work on knots, but to play cards and sit by the fire.
Sometimes it’s ok no to try to get as many requirements done for rank or merit badges, but admiring a water fall or the rushing of the river.
A change in philosophy to basic skills and appreciation of our wilderness area is the order of the day in our Troop. The advancement progress and other requirements will come.

Here’s what I have found. It all comes together when the Scouts are enjoying themselves. Developing that appreciation for the outdoors, using the tools of the Outdoor code and the Leave no trace principles help to facilitate that.

So, it’s been a real busy week. Scouting, family, work have all taken it’s toll on the Scoutmaster this week, but at the end of the day… life is good.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Super Hero

This weekend we attended the Rendezvous of the Order for our Order of the Arrow Lodge.
The theme of the weekend was “SUPER HEROS”. The Scouts dressed up like their favorite super hero’s and played games that had the Scouts leaping tall buildings, dawning “Iron Man” uniforms, and testing their skills of Super heroism.
In short in was a fantastic weekend and a good time was had by all.

The Lodge Advisor gave an Advisor minute at the end of the annual banquet right before those that have been selected for the Vigil Honor were called out. He talked about Super heroes…
I am going to Paraphrase and add to his minute.

SUPER HEROES.
By definition the common traits of a Super Hero (according to Wikipedia) is:
ONE THAT HAS-
Extraordinary powers and abilities, relevant skills, and/or advanced equipment.
A strong moral code, including a willingness to risk one’s own safety in the service of good without expectation of reward.
A motivation, such as a sense of responsibility.
A distinctive costume.
A supporting cast of recurring characters.
A back story that explains the circumstances by which the character acquired his or her abilities as well as his or her motivation for becoming a superhero. Many origin stories involve tragic elements and/or freak accidents that result in the development of the hero’s abilities.

So lets look at these traits or characteristics as it applies to real Superheroes.
Lets see… Scouts have extraordinary powers and abilities, they have positive attitudes and the ability to lead, learn, and the skills to perform anything. They are Prepared, it is their motto. These Scouts have skills and advanced equipment, NYLT, the Order of the Arrow, and Troop JLT teaches them well so they can perform their special skills of doing a Good turn daily.

They have a Strong Moral code. It is found in the Oath and Law and the obligations they take as Honored Scouts. Scouts start with a base set of Values. Those values drive our lives and the decisions we make.

A strong sense of responsibility. We understand that others needs should come before our own. We take responsibility for our actions and dedicate energy at making the team better, all the while understanding that there are things in our lives, goals and dreams, that we want to see through. We take responsibility for our goals and set a course to achieve that.

A distinctive costume.. well lets call it a uniform. Either way it shows the world who we are and when in that uniform it has the same effect as the red cap and “S” on the chest of Super Man. People have an expectation of us when we are in that uniform.

Our Supporting cast is our Scoutmasters, Committee members, Parents, and Professionals that work to make our program the world class program it is. We need our support to deliver the promise of Scouting.

Our back story is almost 100 years old. It tells a story of values, of adventure, of dedication to our communities and service, Our story is in the millions of young men currently in the program and all of those men that are currently making a contribution to our country.
The back story of Scouting is one that continues to grow and get better. It is the story of American young men that “DO THEIR BEST” to live the Scout Oath and Law to make our country, our world a better place.

Now that is a Super Hero.
The Boy Scouts of America makes Super Hero’s Daily.

“I do hereby promise, on my honor as a Scout,
that I will always and faithfully observe and
preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow,
Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui.

I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow as lasting,
and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit,
even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities,
and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies,
to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.”

Have a Great Scouting Day!
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A Burning Word

Here is a message from Baden Powell from the Chief Scout yarns… from 1919 to today.. timeless message.

April 05, 1919

A BURNING WORD
There was a man named Garnier who wanted to know whether monkeys talked to each other with any meaning when they chatter. So he went and lived in the jungle for a time and took a gramophone with him.
This was a recording one which took down what the monkeys said. He discovered in this way that they used a number of sounds which meant something to them, and there was one word in particular which had a tremendous effect on them.
He learnt it himself, and when he mentioned it in the monkey-house at the Zoo it had just the same effect that it had amongst the wild monkeys in the jungle. The animals went nearly mad with rage.
Well, there is one word in our language which also, in a similar way, has a very strong effect on anyone who is a gentleman and a man of honour. It is the word “liar.”
In the old days if you called a man a liar he would challenge you to a duel with swords or pistols, and would try to kill you for the insult.

Nowadays duels are forbidden, but still the word rankles just as strongly, and a fellow who cares about his honour, if accused of lying, will knock the man down who says it or will ask him to step outside and have the matter out with fists.
A Scout, if he is a Scout and keeps his Promise, is a gentleman; that is, he is chivalrous and helpful to others, and is also a man of honour who can be trusted. So a Scout could not stand being called a liar without putting a stopper upon the man who said it. This alone is a reason why he needs to know how to box, otherwise he has to take the insult “lying down.”
I don’t mean that he is therefore to attack or bully people whenever he gets a chance, but it will make other fellows very careful about calling him a liar when they know that to the Scout this is an insult which is likely to bring a thrashing in its train.
Don’t forget either that just as it is not a word that a Scout likes to hear, so also it is not a word that he should ever use against another fellow without very good cause.
I remember when I first joined the Army an old officer gave me this advice: “Never mention the word lie nor call a man a liar, and never let a man call you one-it is a word or burning disgrace.”

ROBERT BADEN-POWELL
CHIEF SCOUT

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Showing Respect

To get Respect you have to give respect. It really is that simple.

As a Scoutmaster, I think it is important to show how to live by showing the Scouts how I live.
My actions speak louder than my many words. It only takes a snap shot or a small glimpse into my daily activity to know that I try to live the Scout oath and law daily. I share that with the Scouts when ever we get together.

Back to respect.

We talk about treating others as you wish to be treated. Pretty much a rule that is worthy of living don’t you think? When a Scout is disrespectful, I call them on it right way. A simple question of what did I do to deserve this treatment? typically gets a conversation about respect on the table.
If there is one thing that I can not and will not tolerate, that is a lack of respect.
Lack of respect for others space, time, belongings, and the way someone treats others.
This last weekend, we had a situation in which a Scout disrespected his Troop mates. I won’t go into details, but it is fair enough to say that it was something that got my attention. The Scout then turned his back on me when I was trying to talk to him. That was the straw that broke the Scoutmasters back.
Young Scout got a nice little chat on respect.. starting with..”What have I done to show you disrespect?”
“Nothing”
“Then why would you disrespect me by turning your back on me while I am talking to you?”
He did not have an answer.
We have to meet our Scouts where they are. Some are not taught respect at home, our Schools are not really in the mode of teaching it. The culture of what are you doing for me does not require it. It is in Scouting that we are obligated to teach and pass it on.
Respect comes when it is given.
When you show respect to others you get it back in return.
Living the Scout oath and law require that you have and show respect.
To be trustworthy and loyal, helpful and friendly, Courteous and kind, you must show respect.
Respect goes along way in life. When we are camping we practice Leave no Trace. LNT revolves around respect. Respect for the wilderness and our fellow campers.

Give and Get.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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