Monthly Archives: December 2010

Local Scout property making National News

Got this from the Scouting News Blog

Partnership Will Protect Boy Scouts Land in Happy Valley
Posted on 11 December 2010 by Press Release


A beloved Boy Scouts property overlooking Happy Valley will be protected as a public natural area with new trails, picnic tables and restrooms, thanks to a partnership including Metro, the City of Happy Valley and the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District.
Metro is under contract to purchase 70 acres from the Boy Scouts of America’s Cascade Pacific Council, investing funds from the region’s voter-approved 2006 natural areas bond measure.
Under an agreement approved this month by all the parties, Metro will oversee restoration and improvements at the forested property. Happy Valley will pay for the upgrades with its remaining $380,000 of local allocation from the bond. And the parks district will manage the future Scouter Mountain Natural Area, which could open as early as summer 2012.
“This partnership will ensure that future generations connect with nature in a fast-growing part of the region,” said Metro Councilor Rod Park, who represents the eastern suburbs in District 1. “Voters were thinking of places like Scouter Mountain when they asked Metro to protect our best remaining land in the Portland metropolitan area.”
Rising more than 700 feet above the valley floor, Scouter Mountain is part of the Boring Lava Field. The future natural area is part of a larger property owned by the Boy Scouts, who will retain about 110 acres.
Scouter Mountain Natural Area will honor the Boy Scouts’ legacy on the site – not only by promoting outdoor exploration, but also by salvaging pieces of a deteriorating lodge to incorporate in the new picnic shelter. An independent study determined that it would cost more than $8 million to restore Chief Obie Lodge, which has been closed since 2004 due to fire safety issues. The Scouts will deconstruct the 22,000-square-foot building prior to the property sale, which is expected to be finalized this spring.
“Like so many others, I have very fond memories of camping and other activities on Scouter Mountain with my children and as a young Scoutmaster,” said the Scouts’ council president, Gene Grant, a former mayor of Happy Valley. “While we all were disappointed to find the cost of preserving the lodge was too high, the new trails, restrooms and picnic shelter that will replace and reuse the lodge materials will be a welcome amenity we will all put to good use. I am truly excited to help create the Scouter Mountain nature park with these new facilities.”
The Scouts plan to invest proceeds from the sale at their 17 camping properties in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. More than 15,000 youth and volunteers attend overnight or day-camping programs every summer, and another 30,000 Scouts camp independently throughout the year.
At the Scouter Mountain site surrounding the future natural area, for example, the Scouts host more than 2,000 campers every summer. Now, those campers will share part of the mountain with fellow nature-lovers.
“The City of Happy Valley is thrilled to have access to another 70 acres of natural area to enhance our city’s green spaces,” said Happy Valley Mayor Rob Wheeler. “As a result of this outstanding acquisition, our residents will have direct access to trails for recreation and education within our natural environment. This is a great asset for the city and the region.”
Happy Valley citizens voted to join the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District in 2006. The district covers 36 square miles, stretching from Happy Valley west to the Willamette River, south to the Clackamas River and north to the Multnomah County line. The new natural area on Scouter Mountain – which was identified as a long-term priority for the district – will be added to a roster of 60 parks and facilities.
“It’s a wonderful resource, which we’re happy to see preserved for people to use,” said Michelle Healy, parks district manager. “It fits well into what we’re trying to do.”
Scouter Mountain Natural Area showcases Metro’s natural areas bond measure at its best, said Metro Council President Carlotta Collette.
“Voters have allowed us to leverage this region’s passion for the outdoors,” she said. “No one party in this collaboration could have done it alone. But working together, a community group, a city, a park district and the regional government are protecting Scouter Mountain for future generations.”
Metro’s voter-approved Natural Areas Program protects land in 27 key areas across the region. To learn more, visit www.oregonmetro.gov/naturalareas.
Source: Oregon Metro News Release

OK.. Now my opinion.
I love Chief Obie Lodge and wish we still had access to it, but as the article said.. we have not been in it for a very long time and have done fine without it.  The way I see it, the CPC and the Scout units therein are loosing nothing and gaining much needed funds to improve the 17 other camps that we use on a regular basis.
I know in our area that this issue has tugged at the heart strings of many scouters (the scouts can really care less).  But I personally think the council has done the right thing here.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Citizenship

Without getting to wrapped up in politics, flag waving, and humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic while draped in a flag, I want to talk a bit about citizenship in Scouting.
Today, I sat in the back of our meeting place while 8 of our Scouts took advantage of a merit badge counselor’s day of instruction.  Three of the Scouts of our Troop wanted to work on the Citizenship merit badges, they contacted the counselor and set up a day that the three of them would meet with him.  Well, word got out and then a few more guys wanted to work on the merit badges, so they contacted me and asked if they could all meet in the Knights Hall where the Troop meets.  I agreed to open it up, get the heat on, and make the room available for the group to work with the counselor.
Eight Scouts showed up today to work the Citizenship in the Community, Nation, and World merit badges, what I got was a civics lesson unlike I have seen or heard since I was in the sixth grade.
The counselor taught these young men what it means to be a Scout and a citizen.  I was so impressed with the class, the scouts, and happy that we, in the Scouting movement provide this opportunity.
Baden Powell’s goal for Scouting was to produce good citizens.  In the book Aids to Scoutmastership, BP says; “…the Scout and Guide movement has the following possibilities;- the making of the individual into an efficient and happy citizen.  The harnessing of the individual to work for the community… the promotion of the International goodwill, and through its brotherhood, as a practical step towards permant peace.”
These merit badges do just that, especially when they are not just rushed through.  In 4 hours, eight Scouts learned more about being a citizen than most kids will learn throughout their years of schooling.  In this game with a purpose, these Scouts will serve their communities through food drives, flag placements, bike rodeos, Good will ~ Good Turn events and countless other service opportunities.  They will grow up with the knowledge of responsible citizenship, understanding the weighty task of voting and staying active within their communities.
I sat quietly for four hours today.. a remarkable feat in and of itself and watched Scouts learn and grow in a fun and interactive program.  I am sure the word will get out and more and more of the Scouts of our troop will jump into this.  Regardless, I had a remarkable time today watching this part of the Scouting game.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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The Lucky ones

Saturday morning started out like many other Saturdays in our sleepy little town.. wake up, shave, shower, put on Scout uniform…
But this last Saturday was special, it was our annual Scouting for Food Saturday, a day that the Scouts not only provide a service to the community, but a day that they really see the impact of their good turn.
Our Troop has assisted the St. Vincent DePaul food Pantry for the past 5 years now.  We collect our food, just like every other Scouting unit, but rather than just drop it off at the collection point, we are there to collect the food as units drop it off.  We help weigh it, sort it, box it, and put it away.  The whole process is witnessed as the scouts take action to help feed the most in need of our community.
Each year we take a minute to reflect on just how good we have it.  You see, as we are collecting the food and getting it all into the St. Vincent DePaul food pipe line, there are folks at the back door where the food is distributed.  They are not Scouts or volunteers, they are there to receive the gifts of the community.  They are men and women, families with their children, they come with bags and carts and cars that barely run, they are humble and embarrassed, and grateful.  Our Scouts greet them with smiles and a comforting hand and watch as they disappear into the cold morning.
There is an amazing transformation, for that moment in time our young men get it.  They understand that they are lucky to have parents, scout leaders, teachers, pastors, family that care for them and make sure that they have everything for a blessed life.  They are the lucky ones that have never spent a night in a cold house with an empty belly.  They are the lucky ones that have never spent a night in darkness wondering if tomorrow will be better.
Our Scouts come from every social, economic, and religious background our community has to offer, they are not rich, they are not poor, they are not abused, they are not unhappy.  This weekend they realized that they are the lucky ones.
I wish we never had to do another Scouting for Food drive or hand out food, clothing, and basic needs to those less fortunate, but that is not the world we live in.  Thank God for the Boy Scouts and the great work they do.
It was Will Rogers that once said “The only problem with the Boy Scouts…there’s not enough of them!”
Thank you Troop 664.. and Packs, Troops, and Crews everywhere that are the lucky ones and share it through your Good Turns every day.. especially when it comes to Scouting for Food!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Follow up on "The Leadership Challenge"

There is a Scouter out there named Larry, he is insightful and knows his stuff.  I love to hear from him and see what his point of view is on various topics.  Larry frequents Clarke Green’s Blog and Podcast also, so I get to hear a lot of what Larry thinks.
Larry recently sent a comment about the “Leadership challenge” post.
Unfortunately, it is hard to “thread” comments and so I wanted to post his comment (again) and make an attempt at maybe shedding some more light regarding the post from my point of view.
Again, I do not proclaim to be the end all be all authority on Scouting.  Green Bar Bill I certainly an not.  All I can and will ever do is try to help.  Use the the tools that I know work and share them.  The goal is to help deliver the promise of Scouting.. we all have our ways.. this blog and my podcast are just my way of sharing what I know… and believe me, I’m still learning.
So here is Larry’s comment.. the text in ‘Blue’ are my comments or counter points.
Thanks Larry.. and keep the comments coming.

That’s nice. Sounds good. It is a good analogy in some cases.

However. Hah, you knew that was coming :-)
It’s a little bit hard, difficult, almost impossible to bring the immediacy of a raging, hormonal, 17 year old in full pads running full tilt right at you and fully prepared to TAKE YOU DOWN! For instance, half way through a rapidly failing Troop meeting there are no crowds cheering, no scholarships and NFL salaries to be inspired by and lots of people trying to chase you down.
Thats right.. like I always tell our parents, leadership at the Scouts level is often an ugly process.  The better part of a Troop meeting though is the coaching, mentoring and teaching that Senior Scouts, Assistant Scoutmasters, and a Scoutmaster offer.  Rapidly failing Troop meetings are the result in part to failing to plan.  The Patrol leaders Council can help in that regard.  I understand what you are saying, but that is when the friendly voice of the Scoutmaster in teaching mode gently taps the SPL on the shoulder and asks him those leading questions on how he thinks things are going.  That conversation then typically transfers to a Patrol leaders huddle and an attempt to get the meeting back on track.
I have seen this go the other way too, where the SPL, just calls the PL’s together and says “that’s it.. we’re done”… circles the troop up for vespers and calls it a night.
“Giving up is never the answer and failure is never an option.” Nice thought. Last week the SPL resigned. Said he was tired of the older guys not helping out and the younger guys are driving him crazy (along with the rest of us!). The motivation to make something happen has dissipated. The younger guys like to get down on the floor and play like a box full of puppies. (we call that “Poodling” in my Troop)Throw stuff. Call each other names. Slap and punch. Sort of like a bunch of pre-schoolers.  This happens to all of us.  That is exactly when the Troop Guides need to be at their best.  Now, I know they don’t want to play baby sitter and yes that behavior gets old real quick, but… and you always know that is coming… BUT.. it is what they do at that age.  Again, that is the leadership challenge and I would ask your SPL (as he is walking out the door).. what was the plan and how can we get back on track.  I have found that when they are bored they get in trouble, act up, and generally Poodle.  So the leadership challenge is to keep the meeting moving.. keep the young guys engaged in a task.. and not drag the meeting out forever.  Do the business and be done.
There is no rule on the length of a Troop meeting.. and if you have parents that gripe about them being done early… well remind them that BSA does not stand for Baby Sitters of America.
Right now it’s a mess. The older, leadership Scouts were doing fine until this group of Webelos came along. They have been good instructors and motivators. There is a small cadre of medium aged guys that get it and have learned well. The lower end!?!? What a mess. The lower end will follow the upper end… that is leadership.  So what happens when the quarterback just walks off the field, hands his helmet to the coach and plops down on the bench? Put in the Second string.. then the third string.. then … you get the point.  Its all in the coaching and mentoring.  The Scoutmasters job is to train the Senior Patrol Leader.  Provide Purpose, Direction, and Motivation to the young man and help him understand that this is all just a challenge for him to over come.  Then all the rest of the players head over to the concession stand for some goodies. The band plays one last tune and heads off to Dairy Queen. Nobody left but the other team and some coaches standing on the side of the field, scratching their heads. (Hint, I’m standing here scratching my head right now :-) ) Head to DQ and get a blizzard (M&M is my favorite) and start over…  Again, Failure is not an option.. its an opportunity to learn, grow, and do better.

Thanks again Larry, I appreciate your comments and the comments of everyone that writes in to the Scoutmaster Minute!  Keep ‘em coming, I enjoy reading them.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Finding the Leadership Challenges

Baden Powell suggested that if you want the Scouts to be responsible you should give them responsibility.  If you want the Scouts to lead than they must be given the opportunity to lead.  What I have found is that most teen aged young men will first look for the “alternative” or easy way out, thus burning energy in a process that will eventually lead them back to doing it right.  Adults stand by gnashing their teeth wondering why the boy just didn’t do it right the first time.  Well Mom and Dad.. he did.  He worked his way around the task in an effort to find the easy way and in the process he learned.  He wins!
As Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Merit Badge counselors, and Committee folks discovering how this young mans mind works is less important than allowing him to discover and learn through the process.  Helping him find the leadership challenges and ways to solve them.
As you know, if you have read the blog for any amount of time, I love the football analogy.  Quarterbacks take a play into the huddle, a play that was called from the coach on the sideline.  He calls the play and expects his team mates to execute.  But the left tackle slips and the defensive end comes crashing down on the play caller…  Scramble to the right, look down field, and try to get the play off.. if not.. run!  Quick problem solving, literally on the run.  And so it is with our Patrol leaders and Senior Patrol leaders.  They have coaches standing all around them.  Advice comes in or is offered, but when a member of the patrol ‘slips’ it is then up to the leader to find and react to the leadership challenge.
So lets go back to the “alternative” way that he is going to immediately look for.  Time and experience will cure him of that, but in the mean time, patients and coaching will keep him ‘looking down field’ for either the play (answer) or another plan that accomplishes the same goal.
Giving up is never the answer and failure is never an option.  Our Scouts do not fail when learning about leadership, first aid, map reading, or citizenship.  They win when they learn and grow.  That my friends is the path to finding the leadership challenge.
More later.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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