Monthly Archives: March 2009

How much can you get on the plate

“The Full Plate” always the go to analogy when talking about how busy our lives are.
We hear the excuses, or the justifications for a life filled with activity, work, and chores that preclude us from participating in one thing or another.

Everyone is busy and everyone has a plate that is full. I hear that, see it, and yeah.. live it too.
But… (ahh come on..you knew that a but was coming)
But…
Your plate is only as full as you want it to be. And that my friends, is the truth.
You see, you get to choose how busy you are. Now I know that there are things in your life that force options on you, School plays, family functions and the like, but by and large you pick and choose what you like, dislike and what you want to fill your 24 hours a day with.

I recently stumbled into a conversation in which a fellow Scouter railed on the expectations of other Scouters that we dedicate time and energy to this program. At first I thought… No Duh. But then I really heard what she was saying. She was saying NO. And that’s ok, but don’t beat around the bush.. just say no.
And in so far as the expectations of certain Scouters to dedicate time and energy. I am one of them.
If you commit to being a Scout leader, then be a Scout leader. An hour a week will not do.. not if you belong to a great and active unit.
You need to dedicate time and energy so that the Scouts of the unit have a remarkable time in Scouting. Not just a good time.

I constantly hear about the competition Scouting faces. I don’t buy it. It is only competitive in that other organizations, sports teams and the like are there. Choices to do one over the other typically are made by a parent that does not see value in our program, or a Scout that is bored in his Troop.
My sons both play sports and are excellent students. They go to the gym almost every day and have reasonable social lives. But they are having fun in Scouting and therefore I never have to drag them kicking a screaming. When they have a track meet or a football game.. they go, they compete, and they still have time to camp and attend troop meetings and functions.
Stepping out from under my campaign hat and slipping on my Dad hat… it means more miles on my truck, it means dinners away from the table, it means phone calls from bleachers and a syncing of planners weekly as a family. It is a commitment we make for our kids.
That same commitment we make to our Scout units. Why should it get short changed.

I am convinced, that there are fantastic Scouters out there. Scouters that want the very best for their Scouts. It takes time and energy but above all commitment.
Sometimes with commitment we put more on our plate. But you know, it’s like a good salad at a buffet, there is always room for bacon and dressing… It’s what we value and want to fill our plate with.

Take a look at your plate, if it is too full for you, evaluate what can be left off. I am sure you will agree Scouting never leaves the plate.. it is tastes too good.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Friends

I recently listened to a podcast about a guy that thru hiked the Continental Divide Trail as a Yo Yo.. that is when you complete the hike, then turn around and do it again, returning to where you began, in one trip. All in all that on the CDT, that would be about 6000 miles.
He did the trek alone and took about a year to hike it from start to finish.

I was amazed as I listened in on the show and heard him describe the preparation, the training, and the gear he used, or didn’t use.
He talked about the wonderful vistas and the wildlife he saw as he navigated down the center of our country. From the Canadian border to Mexico. The varied terrain and encounters with the flora and fauna of our great continent.

In the end he spoke of lessons learned. Things that he would do over again, things he would not. Gear he would take, and gear he would leave at home. He talked of the experience. But the most striking thing he talked about was the solitude. How he loved it at first, but after months on the trail he began to realize that he was lonely. He reflected on the fact that it really started to get to him, but he pushed on. At the completion of this monumental expedition, the most valuable lesson he learned was about friendships.
He values his friends more now than ever before, and says that in the future he won’t hike alone.
He used the hike as a metaphor to illustrate that in our lives we need people. We need friends.

So how does this relate to Scouting? Well in 1907 Baden Powell new that we needed friends and he created the Patrol method. He realized that we have more fun when we do it together. When we play the game of Scouting we challenge one another, we share in the joys of success and we work through the rough times as a Patrol.

I still remember the guys from the Flaming Arrow, Troop 100. My first Patrol! The fun times that we shared, I will cherish for my life time.
Now that I am an adult.. well kinda… I know that I need friends… People to share my life with. I enjoy the solitude of the trail, but its better to hike with a Partner. My wife, my kids, and my friends, as few as they are, they are great friends and I could not get through life without them.

A Scout is Friendly. Remember that. Hold on to your friends and value them. You need them.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Wood Badge thoughts

Yesterday I attended the new Nationally required Trainers EDGE course. It is a requirement for all Scouters that wish to Staff for Wood Badge.

It was just what I needed to get my Scouting Batteries charged and pumped to take another path on Scouting’s amazing trail.

Yes, I have been asked to staff as a Troop Guide for the upcoming Wood Badge course here in my Council. And I am honored for the privilege and opportunity.

So what about Wood Badge? Why is it important? Well I suppose I could write a book about that, but I am sure it has already been written..
But let me give you my short take on it.

First, Wood Badge is in fact a direct connection to our founder, Robert Baden Powell. He started it with a group of Scoutmasters, giving them a bead from the necklace of the Zulu chief.
So we have a connection there to our founder, I think that is significant.
This connection with the founder is also a connection with our Brothers and sisters in Scouting around the world. We all have Wood Badge. The course work may be different, and the ceremonies, songs, and traditions may be a bit different, but it all leads us back to Gilwell!

Second, the Wood badge course its self is perhaps the best money can buy. The instruction you get is second to none and is worth it, not just for your Scouting lives, but your every day life.
Goal setting, understanding and developing a vision for yourself, your family, your Scout troop, living the values of Scouting, and applying all of this in a Scouting setting.

And finally, the friends and connections you make at Wood Badge are the best. Like minded people that are enthusiastic about Scouting and making the program the best it can be.
The people that become your patrol mates are the greatest friends in the world and you know that because they agree with the same oath and law as you. That you can trust.

So Wood Badge..what’s the big deal. Everything! It’s great. If you are a Wood Badger.. Keep working that ticket. If you are not.. Sign up for the next course you can. You won’t regret it… That’s a Scoutmaster Jerry guarantee.

Hear more about Wood Badge on my latest Podcast.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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