Monthly Archives: March 2011

Who are you waiting for?

Tonight before I left work I popped into the restroom to clean up, wash my hands etc…  I opened the door to find a sink over flowing and about 6 inches of water on the floor.  One of the sinks had been plugged with paper towel and the sink left on.  I thought to myself “who would do this?”  I turned off the water, rolled up my sleeves and started digging out the paper towels that were jammed into the drain.  Another employee walked in and saw me elbow deep in the sink and standing in the water.  He asked “What are you doing?”.. ” You don’t need to do that, some one else will clean that up.”  I looked at him and asked him who?  And why would I leave it alone.  Just because someone else showed a lack of respect, does not mean that we should.
You see this all comes down to respect.  Someone did not have enough respect for our company and thought it would be funny to be disrespectful.  Waste of water, paper towels, and someone elses time cleaning up the mess is a total lack of respect.
We don’t run in camp, why?  Because you can trip on a guy line and break someone else’s tent.. that is a sign of disrespect.  We see trash all over our town.. a lack of respect.. but then again.. some one else will clean it up.. right?
So who are we waiting for?  Who is it that cleans up our mess?  Who is it that turns off the water?  Who is it that repairs the broken tent?  Who is that pays for waste and abuse?
One act of disrespect causes a wave of “Some one else” having to react.  Some one else cleaning a mess.  Some one else… well you get the point.
Scouts and Scouters.  The word Respect is not in the Scout oath or Law.. or is it.  Don’t you think Every word in the Law has an element of Respect in it?  I do.
So who are you waiting for?
One word… RESPECT.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, respect, Values | Tags: | 2 Comments

Rainy days and Sundays…

Well not exactly the title to that song.. but its raining here in the great NW and I want to get out and work with my new Hennessy Hammock.  My oldest son and I bought Hennessy Hammocks yesterday.  For those of you that went to Jambo.. you saw them there.  Hennessy Hammocks had a nice display set up all week.  There was even a Troop that used them for the entire Jamboree.  You can read about that here.  A replacement to our conventional tents and a great alternative when trying to leave no trace.  Hammocks leave absolutely no footprint, and with the tree huggers that are provided, there is no damage to the trees.
As with all my gear, I probably over research things and check as many reviews as possible to find just the right brand and type of gear.  We came to the conclusion that breaking into the world of Hammock Camping (a great addition to the Backpack), the Hennessy was the way to go.  We purchased the Hennessy Expedition.  My son bought the standard, velcro bottom entry, while I decided on the A-sym zip.  That is a full zipper entry into the hammock.  I like this style as it is more tent like and easier for my old body to get in and out of.. and it makes a great camp chair for lounging before its time to hit the rack.
Here are things that I really like about the hammock.  Keep in mind I have yet to sleep in it.. but all reviews say it is the best nights sleep you will ever have camping.  And consistent sleep too, the same hang every time, no matter where you are.  Anyway.  I like the no see’um mess bug net.  Totally encloses the hammock for a bug free zone.  I love that when you lay in it.. you are flat.  I was concerned that you would wake up looking like a banana.  I like the rain fly or canopy.  Light weight and plenty big.  I like that when you lay in the hammock there are no pressure points.  You can role and lay on your side, stomach, or back.. I like to kind of ball up when I sleep.  Couple my Big Agnes sleeping bag and the hammock, and I am looking at some great sleeping out in the woods.
My wife asked about what to if there are no trees.  Well up here, we don’t have that problem.  But even in central Oregon when we are Rock climbing, I can using climbing rigging to hang the hammock.. or put in on the ground like a tent, using my trekking poles to elevate the ends.
There is a built in ridge line inside the hammock for storage and it maintains the hammock’s shape as it hangs.  There is no drooping of the bug net or rain fly with the ridge line.
All in I am excited about getting out in the woods with it.  Yesterday we set it up in the backyard, but the rain started and I took it down, I did get to lay in it for a few minutes.  Enough to tease me into wanting more.
So today its raining (again)…  so we are tweeking the hammocks a bit.  The way it comes is good, but a few tweeks here and there make everything better.  For example.  The recommended set up is using the tree huggers and tying a series of knots to hang the hammock.  I modified the huggers using a carabiner and rappel rings.  I saw it online and it works great.  We also bought some 550 cord (paracord) to add an additional ridge line specifically for the rain fly.  This will allow us to hang the rain fly a little higher than designed.  I think this will be advantageous when dealing with condensation.
I will do a full review after I get a night sleep in it.  It will going into the pack for many nights of use stating at the April camp out with my Troop.
Today for #100daysofscouting..
I worked on my camping gear.
Shot out some emails, one to the Troop historian and a few others.
Talked on the phone with a Scouter from the Silver Beaver nominating committee (can’t tell).
Worked on the blog.
Recorded a new ad for PTC (excited about this one).

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, camp skills, Camping, gear, Skills | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

The Scoutmasterminute Blog has a new home

If you are reading this.. well then you have properly been directed to the new home of The SMMBlog.
I moved the domain to wordpress for various reasons, but the bottom line is it is working.
Much of the “old stuff” is moved, but please be patient while I play with themes and widgets and work to making this a blog worth reading.  As is this blog.. I too am a work in progress.
Thanks for your continued support of the SMMBlog and podcast.  I hope you like the new format.  Stay tuned for more great content.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | Tags: | 1 Comment

>You can do it!

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I was listening to a podcast the other day, it was pretty political in nature, but the guest on the show said something that I thought was pretty interesting.
Now, I am not going to get into politics here.  This is NOT a political Blog.  I have personal feelings about politics and this is not the forum for it.  And the context of the original comment really has nothing to do with how I took and processed it in my mind.
What he said was that “a person (individual) can either be anything, or they can be nothing”.
Here is how I processed that, and by the way it is pretty much in line with what he was saying (take the politics out of it).
A person that apply’s them self, works hard, and gives 100% can be anything in this country.  I feel that is true no matter what race, creed, or demographic you find yourself in.  There are stories every day about rising from the bottom and making something out of themselves.  We see it in TV shows like the “Biggest Looser” where a person that is motivated to do better will.  They take advantage of a program that will help them, but at the end of the day.. it is their personal drive and will that makes them stay on track and find success.
We can apply that in every part of our lives.  I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and can honestly say that I have never went without.  Why?  Because my parents and their parents were hard workers.  They believed that they had a responsibility to take care of their families.  My Dad worked multiple jobs and lots of over time so our family could have the things that we wanted.  That work ethic carried from generation to generation and I have it too.  My parents and their parents never took and hand out or asked the government for anything.  They made a comfortable life for themselves by working hard.
I have never not had a job.  When I was a teen ager, I walked dogs, mowed lawns, shoveled snow, house sat, baby sat, raked leaves, and rolled newspapers for delivery.  I joined the Army after High School to see the world and have fun.  That I did.  When I got out of the Army, I sold jeans, worked as a handyman, cut trail, repaired Mountain Bikes, and drive a Truck for UPS.  I have not had a day that I was unemployed.
I see so many young people.. and older folks alike that walk away from work and then complain that unemployment is too high.  Where I work, they hired 22 new full time employees.  All but 2 quit, when asked why they would turn away an $80,000 a year job with full benefits they said the work was to hard.
They do not have what it takes to be successful.
We can be whatever we want, if we apply ourselves.  We see it in the papers every day.. there are private companies all over our area that are screaming for employees.  And yet we have 10% unemployment.
I am compassionate, but have a hard time feeling sorry for someone that will not work.
We can be anything.. or nothing.  It is a choice.  Are there exceptions?  Sure there are.  There are people with real disabilities that can not work.  But then again, there are many people taking advantage of the system.  Fully able to work and make something out of there lives.. but they make a choice.
This has nothing to do with race, religion, or economic back ground.
Did you know that after the civil war there were two “freed slaves” that became Millionaires?  Yes it is true.. how.. they worked hard and made smart choices.  I love a good rags to riches story.. and when you break them down, it was not the lottery or a hand out that made them what they are.  It always comes down to hard work.
Now, it may seem that I am being harsh and insensitive.. and maybe I am.  But when it comes to teaching Scouts to be good men, men of Character, good citizens, and fit.  I think it is important that they all develop a strong will and work ethic.  We have programs in Scouting that can reinforce that.  But we must make it happen.
Youth leadership, the merit badge program, adventure and the list goes on.
We need to believe that our Scouts can be anything, more important.. they need to believe that they can be anything.. or they can be nothing.  Their choice.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | 1 Comment

>SMMPodcast show #80

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Show number 80 is out and ready for your ear buds.
In this show we discuss the questions we posted in the Serve to Lead entry.  Join me as we open up the questions and talk about how they make every leader a success.
We also answer a listener email on forming Patrols and wrap up with a great discussion by Baden Powell on how we Scoutmaster need to be mindful of the example we set.
Leave feedback here.. on iTunes, or drop me an email.  You can also use the SMMVoice mail box (find that over there on your left).  I really like to hear what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

You can also listen by clicking right here

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>Serve to Lead

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Last Night at our Troop meeting we talked about leadership, among other things.  I shared with the Scouts some questions that they need to ask themselves in the context of leadership.  Now, these questions come from a book called Serve to Lead, by James Strock.  He is an author and speaker on leadership.  I found it interesting, but I guess not to surprising that the questions that Strock asks and answers in the book are essentially principles that I learned early on as a young leader in the Army.
The point is that they set a leader on a path to do the right thing by the ones in his charge.  How does this apply to Boy Scouts?  It all applies as we should be teaching our Scouts the difference between a leader and a boss and that leadership, by design, asks the leader to be a servant to the led.
Here are the questions.  Ask yourself these:
First.  Who are you serving?  It is important for you to know those that you serve.  What are their needs?  How are they motivated?  How do they learn?  What do they like and dislike?
Second.  How can you best serve?  What is your leadership style and how do you use it?  What needs are you are meeting in your leadership?
Third.  Are you making your unique contribution?  What is the legacy you want to leave behind?  What is it about your leadership that people will remember you by?
And finally.  Are you getting better everyday?  This one I think is extremely important.  I do something everyday to better myself.  Learn something new, read, write, or find a better way to teach, coach, train the Scouts of my troop.  You must get better every day or you will not be a better leader.
Now some of that you may be thinking.. you can’t expect an 11 year patrol leader to get.  Hogwash!
They will get it because they are asking it of themselves.  The expectation of an 11 year old will not be that of a 16 year old.  Experience will play a big part in the answers they give themselves.  But planting the seeds and asking the questions will set them all on the path to effective leadership.
The cornerstone of the Scout led, youth led, boy led, whatever you wish to call it is that Scouts lead.  At every level, we need to allow them the opportunity to seek improvement, learn and develop into leaders.  Each one with his own style and way, but all finding ways to lead.
Older Scouts develop their leadership and pass it on to the younger Scouts by becoming the teachers and coaches of the Troop.  They pass on their skills and attitudes and so it goes within the Troop.  That is how the leadership culture in your troop grows.
Its pretty simple.  The leader needs to understand that he is there to serve.. not to be served.  We have no boss’s in the BSA.
So how can you best serve?  Teach them, Trust them, and let them lead!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | 1 Comment

>The Community of Dedicated Service

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Unlike the Jamboree experience, which yielded a count down to the event (which everyone seemed to love), putting together a great Troop, heading out to the East Coast for tours and a fantastic week of the greatest single Scouting event I have been to, and memories for a life time.  Wood badge has now become a big(ger) part of my life.  Not to fill a void or find more to do, but since I have been asked to participate on staff and ever since we began our staff development sessions I have learned a couple huge things about Wood Badge and Scouting.
Wood Badge is not just a course.  It is a community.  I went to Wood Badge in 2005.  A proud member of the Beaver Patrol WE1-492-1-05.  It was the first time in my Adult Scouting life that I had really stepped outside of the friendly confines of my District.  Yeah, when I was a Cubbie leader, I attended Pow Wow and had gone to resident camp with the Scouts in the Dens and Pack, but Wood Badge was different.  It was bigger in a sense.  I met Scouters from every district, every program area, and many differing skill levels and various levels of leadership.  The Beaver patrol had a Scoutmaster, an Assistant Scoutmaster, a Sea Scout Skipper, a Committee Chair, a Cubmaster, and Committee member in it.  About as diverse a group as you can get.  We gelled immediately and had a great time.  Many of the staffers of our course became good friends too.
After we finished our course and were eventually “beaded” it seemed that the patrol kept in contact and at many council, OA, and community events we seemed to bump into one another, always with laughter and the shared memories of our time together.  Jamboree became a gathering place for Wood Badgers also and the community grew for me.  Conversations would take us back to Gilwell and the time we had even if we were all courses apart and representative of all the critters that grace Gilwell Field.
Now I am a Staffer and the community continues to grow.  Friendships are rekindled and made, experiences are shared, and as our staff becomes a high performance team I am humbled by the group the I find myself a part of.
In 2010 I was awarded the Silver Beaver, an honor I am still not sure I should have, but none the less, becoming a Silver Beaver recipient launched me into another level of my Scouting life.  Now I am not equating the Silver Beaver to higher honors here, but I was recently watching the HBO series “The Pacific”.  There is a scene in the movie were SGT John Basilone is being counseled by LTC “Chesty” Puller about his notification of being awarded the Medal of Honor. Stay with me here.. I know that the Silver Beaver is NOT the Medal of Honor.. my point is coming up here real quick.  John Basilone was know to be quite the partier and had a knack for not so much getting into trouble.. but making it.  After a night of partying, Chesty Puller notified SGT Basilone that he was being awarded the Medal of Honor, an Honor that put him in the company of very few Marines, an honor that would change his life for ever.  Chesty Puller told him that he needed to start acting like it.  And that is my point.. with the honor of being selected, awarded, or recognized to be a part of such company brings with it some responsibility.. and that is to say, we need to act as if we are worthy of such an honor.  Whether that is an act of heroism that is recognized or dedicated service, the recipient should then continue to demonstrate those values that got him there.  Now this may seem a stretch, but this is my blog and in my mind, well this all works out.  What I am trying to say is this.  When I wear my uniform I have a knot on it that is generally recognized by Scouters as the highest award presented by a Council.  That little knot is symbolic of dedicated service.
When I wear my Wood Badge Beads they too are symbols of dedicated service and a willingness to go beyond “regular training” in order to make Scouting better for the youth we serve.
This community enriches my life by association.  The friends that I have through Wood Badge are some of the best people I know.  We were talking the other about the experience that is in the room when Wood Badgers gather.  It only takes a glance to notice all of the Silver Beaver recipients that gather for Wood Badge functions, this tells me that I am in great company.  This group is, and none will admit it publicly, a higher level of Scouting.  Not all have a Silver beaver around their neck, but they will.  They will because of the dedication they put into Scouting.  I am in awe of the dedicated service we as a group have.  100’s of years of collective Scouting.  Everything from Tiger leaders to Council committee folks.  Thousands of nights camping, skills taught, and miles backpacked.  They arrive at training sessions with their “Scout kits”.  Crates, boxes, too many binders to count.  Trinkets, critters, and bags upon bags of Scouting “Stuff”.  They are never shy to help, to serve, to grab your plate after meals.. and you have to fight them out of the kitchen when it comes time to do dishes.  None are shy with a gift and piece of advice.  They are great family people and they are the person that you want to have on speed dial at 2 AM when you need a hand.  They don’t know how to say farewell and just build the time in the parking lot into the meeting plan.  In short, these are my kind of people.  A fantastic community.
I suppose I have known this for some time, but then when I was invited to be on staff I finally got it.
I look forward to receiving my third bead next month.. another symbol of dedicated service to let others know that I am not ashamed to be a servant.
Expand your community.. go to Wood Badge, its never too late.  Serve on a Staff.. you are needed.
By the way.  Learn more about John Basilone.  He is a real hero and his story should be remembered.  I provided that link above to see a quick video.  It never hurts to learn about guys like that.  Another member of the greatest generation, to whom we owe a great deal.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>A moment of your time

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The other day I was out and about and I ended up in the check out line at a local store.  There was an elderly gentleman in line ahead of me waiting patiently as the check out clerk seemed to be struggling a bit.
It was one of the weird situations where no one really talks, let alone makes eye contact.  I was thumbing through some notes on my iPhone when I looked up and there he was.. making eye contact with me, the elderly man was staring at me with a puzzled look on his face.  I smiled and said “Hey, how ya doing?”  He nodded his head and replied “very well, thank you for asking.”  He asked what I had there in my hand and why young people can’t seem to live without “all these devices”?  I told him it was my phone and it really has made my life more organized.  He told me that when he was a young man, he carried a little note book and it did the same thing at a tenth of the cost.  I laughed, as did he and then he asked what was so important that it had my attention in the check out line.  I told him I was reviewing the roster of my Scout Troop for the up coming camp out.  He said “Really?  You can do that?  I told him “Sure, would you like to see?”  We moved up a few steps in line and I showed him the roster, then some pictures from the National Jamboree, and then a few other cool apps, like the one you can see the stars and planets with.  He was amazed and a great conversation started.  He told me that he had been in Scouts back in the 40’s and 50’s and was a Scoutmaster till he had to go off to war in Korea.  He said that he had been to the Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1950.  “It was the biggest thing I ever did in Scouting” he said.  I shared with him my Jamboree experience of last year and told him it too was the biggest thing I have ever done in Scouting.  Well, the conversation went on till it was finally his turn to check out.  The clerk had a button on that read “IN TRAINING”.  She was very apologetic and fumbled to get everything in the mans bag.  He walked away and it was my turn to check out.  I smiled at her and told her that it was fine on about the fifth time she glanced at me and said “sorry”.  I assured her that she was not the first person to have worn a “IN TRAINING” button and that it was going to be ok.  She said thanks and gave me my change.
I walked out of the store to find the elderly man sitting on a bench.  I asked if everything was ok?  He said it was, and that he was just waiting on the bus to take him back to the retirement home.  I asked if he needed company.  He did not want to bother.. I told him I had nothing but time.  We sat and talked for about 20 minutes, he told me his wife had passed a few years back and now he just kinda wanders through his last days.  He shared some fond memories of his Scouting days and time he spent with his sons camping, he said he missed those days and wished he could go back in time.  He was all alone, yeah, the retirement home was nice and had a great staff, but most of the old folks just played cards and took naps.. I laughed.  And the bus arrived.  He shook my hand, smiled and got on the bus.  As he drove away, he looked out the window and gave me a Scout salute.  He had a big grin on his face.
Heading to my truck I could not help but smile and think about what a great guy that was.  Some ones Dad, Uncle, Grandpa.. A veteran, a Scout, a great guy.
You know, Doing a good turn each day might just mean giving someone a moment of your time.  It made his day I am sure… because it sure did make mine.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Good Turn Daily, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute | 5 Comments

>Seeking your Passion

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We are all in Scouting for one reason or another. Some of us have been in Scouts since we were in Cub Scouts, our parents and grandparents were in Scouts and we have just grown up with the program. For others, it was an invite at a join night that fell out of the lunch box. Either way you are an active part of Scouting and that means you are making a difference in the lives of young men.

Scouting, through its many merit badges, skills, and the advancement program challenges a Scout to seek an interest or a passion. It does this in the adult volunteers also. Now, I am not suggesting that adults find an interest through a merit badge and certainly not in the advancement program, but there are opportunities for adults to seek interests and yes a passion.
Let me give you an example about a passion that I have, one that until I became a Scout leader I never really had. And that’s teaching. I love to teach Scouts to lead, to do skills, and to grow to be good men. I had been assigned to be an instructor while in the Army, but it was not really a passion. The students either got it, or they didn’t. Their success or failure was never something I concerned myself with. I did my job and presented the material, they either picked it up.. or they failed. It was pretty cut and dry. When I started teaching Scouts leadership and skills on the other hand, I realized that there was a lot more at stake with these boys. They are our future. Now, not to get overly dramatic about it, but they truly are the future and how I teach them will matter one day.
I was talking with a fellow Scoutmaster, a really great friend of mine. He shared with me a story about a Scout he had in his Troop years ago. This young man struggled with skills and never wanted to be a leader. It was a constant struggle to keep this Scout engaged and willing to participate without distraction. One day, the Scoutmaster was delivering his Scoutmaster Minute to the Troop and as he wrapped up he told the Scouts that he really loves it when he sees them in the paper or within the community doing great things. He shared that he keeps a scrapbook filled with all of the accomplishments of the Scouts. Winners of track meets, Football all stars, academic achievements, they are all in this scrapbook. He went on to tell the Scouts how proud he is of them and that he wants to continue to see this kind of stuff in the paper.
About a year went by and Scouts came and went, but the Troop was active and having a great year. One night the same Scoutmaster stood in front of the Troop to deliver his Scoutmaster minute. He held a newspaper clipping in his hand. He asked the Scouts if they remembered the talk he had last year about his scrapbook? They collectively replied that they remembered. Well, he began, I have another clipping for the scrapbook, but its not good news. He asked if they remembered that Scout that was always making trouble? Again, collectively they answered they remembered. The clipping was a tragic story about a couple crimes. The troubled Scout had robbed a few houses in the community and was convicted of burglary. He was sent to prison on a relatively short sentence, but while he was locked up he got mixed up with a group of prisoners and they beat him violently. He later passed away in the prison hospital of internal injuries. This clipping was going into the scrapbook, not as a story to celebrate the achievements of the Scouts, but as a reminder that we need to impact these young men in a positive manner. The lessons we teach them about life and living, about being a man of character, about skills and leadership will last within them. If we fail to do our part in the development of these young men there will be lasting circumstances. On the other hand if we are successful we will be able to celebrate with them.
That is a long way of telling you that we can seek a passion, mine is to teach and coach these great young men to be fine men. It drives me and makes me want to be better and gives me the drive to stay the course, even when it is frustrating and the boys don’t seem to get it. I know they will. I believe in them.
There are many opportunities to develop a passion in Scouting. Some find backpacking, some find the High Adventure bases, some find Wood Badge, some find a podcast, while others, well they just want to hang out with their son and watch him grow. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to find it and then do whatever it takes to grow it, share it, and make it a passion.
Scouting is one of my passions, as you should be well aware by now.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>#100daysofscouting – Time to brag on the boys a bit

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Putting together the work sheet for the Top Troop Award for our District has been an eye opener this year.  The Troop is bigger and 2010 was an incredible year for all of us in Scouting.
Now, I put this together a couple weeks ago, but finally got to email it to the committee tonight.  It was tonight that I really took a look and broke down the numbers for 2010 as it applies to the Top Troop award.  We have been in the top 3 each year for the last 4 years, so I think we have a sporting chance again this year.. but even if we don’t win.. we already won!  2010 was a great year for our Troop.
Let me show you some of the numbers, and if it seems like I am bragging.. well I am proud of the Scouts of our Troop, our Troop committee, and everyone that has their hand in delivering the promise of Scouting in Troop 664!

We started the year with 28 Scouts and finished the year with 35.  We had a few drop and we gained a few.. but we grew.
We had a total of 33 advancements in rank.
We had an average participation (average number of Scouts) at District or Council events of 19.5.
We did 11 camp outs this year for a total of 27 nights, plus 12 Scouts participated 10 nights with the Jamboree.  Of the 12 Scouts that went to Jamboree 3 of them did both Summer camp and Jamboree.
The average participation (average number of Scouts) that attended our Troop camp outs was 21.8 or well over 70 % attendance.
Our Troop did  9 service projects this year (not including an Eagle Project) for a total of 811 service hours and 21.8 average participation.  I think that is pretty darn good.
We had 18 Scouts go to Troop Junior Leader Training and 1 went to NYLT.
We met our FOS goal for the 6th year in a row.  And met all of the requirements for Centennial Quality Unit.  We have never not been a Quality unit.
But the best part is we are youth led, and they made all of this happen during 11 PLC meetings and an annual planning session.
I am proud to be their Scoutmaster, and proud to be a part of Scouting!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | 1 Comment

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