Monthly Archives: March 2011

>AH HA Moment

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Last night my son and I attended the “Touchdown Club” meeting at the High School.  The Touchdown club is sort of like the boosters, but focuses 100% of its energy to the Football program. This is brand new at the School and is in its formation stages.  Last night was only the second meeting.
The objective of last nights meeting was to establish an organization table and select officers.  As the meeting progressed the discussion drifted to details of what we wanted to accomplish and how things were going to get done, but establishing our goal of organization was not happening.  In the last quarter of the meeting we finally did what we set out to do and adjourned.
As we were driving home, my youngest son, who is a life Scout said to me, “Dad, that sure looked a lot like the Forming, Norming, Storming, and Performing thing we talk about in TLT”.  He went on to say, “Looks like you guys are forming”.  AH HA!  He got it!  I told him that the reason we teach that stuff (the EDGE) is just for this reason… you will use it in your life no matter where you work, what club you are in, or even when you have a family.  The EDGE will get your organization to be a High Performance team.
I love it when they have the AH HA moments!
For #100daysofscouting – I mailed in my response and acceptance to the BSA National Meetings.. pretty much it yesterday.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>"You Gotta Believe"

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Yesterday was a fantastic Scouting Day!  First and foremost it was Monday, so we had our weekly Troop meeting.  The Troop meeting started like most others but then took a turn for the better, a Scout camp running through the door about 5 minutes late.  He was wearing his baseball uniform making a dash for the restroom, scout uniform in tow.  His Dad was not to far behind and asked if I had a second.  That usually is not a good sign, but I figured that another leadership challenge was on the horizon.  He explained that they were having a hard time getting motivated to come to Scouts and that they turned the car around twice en route to the meeting.  I asked what the issue was, maybe a personality conflict, a lack of desire to participate, something was troubling the Scout.  No, he loves to go camping, he really likes the guys in his patrol, he likes Scouts.. just not the meetings when he has to come right after practice.  Now, this kid is a good athlete, he plays baseball and basketball and is good at both.
I told him that I would have a little chat with the young man and see what I could do.
So, after the meeting the young man and I sat down and talked.  I started by asking what his main concerns where regarding coming to meetings.  Simply put, he is just overwhelmed.. sports, school, scouts, sometimes it is just too much he said.  I assured him that he is not alone.  In our Troop better than half are athletes.  Football players, Wrestlers, Baseball, Basketball, and guys that run track.  Not to mention the scouts that are in Band, 4H, and Robotics clubs.  My point was that he is not alone, not the first one to dance this dance, and that if he really wanted to, he could do it all.. there was time enough to be an athlete and a Scout.  I assured him that we meet every Monday and go camping every month and that if he missed a few meetings it was no big deal.  And if he had to be late, well, we would work around that too.  He told me he really loves his patrol, at that I told him that they like having him around also, and although they will never admit it or say it out loud, they miss each other when one is gone.  I asked him if he wanted to be a professional Baseball player, he replied “Yeah”.  I asked him if he wanted to be an Eagle Scout?  He answered “Oh Yeah”.  Then, I said, you need to participate, its that simple.  I know you don’t like the meetings, but consider them like baseball practice.  You can’t play the game without practice first.  It makes the team stronger, they know each other better, and they develop skills that make them better in the game.  At our meetings we do all of that while we get ready for our next camp out or event.  He looked at me and said that he never thought of it that way.  I told him that he had to believe in him self and that he could be a great athlete as well as work toward his Eagle.  He believes.
During the Scoutmaster Minute last night I talked about working toward a goal and that believing in your ability, your skills, and your knowledge will get you far in life.  I don’t know why they have self doubt, but I suppose that’s why they have a Scoutmaster.  It’s my job to help them see that they “gotta believe” in themselves.  They are great young men and I want to see them become a success.  So I will help them.. Like I said in the last post.. in helping them achieve success, I am successful.
Man, I love this stuff!
Yesterday I also received an invitation to the BSA National meetings in San Diego!  I am really excited about this opportunity.  It really was a great Scouting Day yesterday!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>Caution: This became an Opinion piece

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I am back from the Wauna La’Montay Lodge Rendezvous of the Order, an annual event our lodge hosts to celebrate its accomplishments, recognize the fantastic arrowmen of the lodge, and of course..have a lot of fun.
Friday was an interesting day as most of you that are no longer living in caves knows.. Japan was hit by a massive Tsunami and the ripple effects were felt all the way here in Oregon.  Camp Meriwether, where Rendezvous is held each year in on the Oregon Coast.. I mean.. right on the Beach.. so of course there was some concern about the Tsunami hitting it, but as luck would have it, and further proof that God loves Scouts, the wave went South, much to the dismay of the folks down in Brookings.  Our prayers go out to them, fortunately it was just stuff that was damaged and no one lost their life.
We arrived at Camp Meriwether Friday night to a light drizzle and the party had already started.  It is always a fun gathering and the patch traders and Native American enthusiasts where all there.  I picked up a few missing patches for sets I have and called it a night after a cracker barrel of Chicken, cole slaw, and a cup of coffee.
Saturday was a fun day, the morning started off with fun games and fellowship.  I had an opportunity to chat with our SE for about 20 minutes and then again during and after a Fire Side chat he hosted for the adult leaders that attended.
Being the Scout Executive of Council is a job I would not trade for mine.  In the short time Matt has been here he has grown all too familiar with the court system in the Portland Metro area.  Law suites have blasted us here in the Northwest.. and yes.. I do have an opinion about them.
While I never think it is right for anyone to abuse a child, I also do not think it the councils responsibility to police the actions of those that do.  Here is how I see it.  I am a registered member of the BSA through a Chartered Organization.  The CO approves my application and I serve at their pleasure.  If I mess up the accountability is on me and to some degree the CO.. but not the Council or the BSA.  INDIVIDUALS need to be held accountable for their actions.. not the Organization.. unless the organization gave authorization, or directed the individual to commit the crime or abuse.
Now I know that is not how the money grabbing lawyers see it.. but that is how I see it. 
In my opinion the last case was handled all wrong and the judge should not have awarded a penny to the so called “victim” from the council.  They should have gone after the $$$ of the CO and that is that.  The CO did nothing to keep this from happening again.  The crime was reported to the CO, the CO “kicked the guy out of the church” but allowed him to remain a Scout leader… even after the sick bastard admitted to sexually abusing multiple kids.  It was not reported to the council and now the council is on the hook.
They said it is all about the boys right?  The “Victim” said his suite was all about the boys… well how much money did you take away from “the boys” Mr. Victim?  And since I’m on this.. what is the statute of limitations.. how long can a guy take to starting feeling bad about the abuse, do not get me wrong.. it is terrible when a child gets abused.. I do not condone it at all and think that those that do abuse children should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  They are sick people that need to be dealt with.. but how long can he wait? 
Anyway.. I digress..
The Fire Side chat was great, we talked about improving the image of the Council and building up the PR so we have better coverage and truly tell Scouting Story.  We talked about camps and of course the Scouter Mountain never ending story.  All in all it was nice to sit down with Matt and hear his side of the Council discussion.  Again. you could not pay me enough to wear his hat.
Saturday night was the annual Lodge Awards Banquet and Vigil call out followed by a Brotherhood ceremony.  A Scout from my Jamboree troop sealed his membership in the Order by completing his Brotherhood ceremony, so I took the time to watch and congratulate him.
It was yet another great Scouting weekend.  Last night during the Banquet the Professional advisor to the Lodge spoke.  He talked about a life lived to serve.  He quoted Zig Zigler by saying “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”  And that kind of sums up the dreams of a member of the Order of the Arrow.
In talking with a number of Scouts this weekend, it was made clear that by and large adult do not trust them and their abilities.  Over and over again I was told that they wish adult leaders would let them lead.
You know Scouts put this whole weekend together, and where adults got their hands in it.. there were problems.  My message.. let the Scouts lead!  This is what Scouting is about and for.  Trust them and give them a chance.  They did a great job this weekend… and everytime we let them seek success.. they find it.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>Boys to Men

>Last night at Round table we got into an interesting discussion about many of the Scouts in our Troops and the jest of the conversation was how neat it was to watch these boys become men.  You see our district is huge but many of our Troops are close enough together, and many of us Scoutmasters are great friends, so we see each other a lot and we see the Scouts of other Troops a lot also.  There are Scouts that I was Cubmaster for that are in other Troops and there are Scouts that go to School with my kids that are in other Troops.. bottom line.. we have a lot of visibility on the Scouts within our District, enough to know them a little and have the ability to comment on their growth.
We were talking about one Scout in particular that is currently in Basic training at Ft. Benning, GA.  I know him pretty well, he was active in the OA chapter and went to Jamboree as a Third Assistant Scoutmaster.  Lat night we put together little cards to send off to him.  As I filled out my card I could not help but reflect on how this little kid is now a grown man and that he is serving our country as a soldier.
Well this got me to thinking about the job that we do preparing these little kids to be men.   Life skills that they carry with them.  Character, respect, loyalty, Sticking with something to the end, being kind, how to treat women.. all of these things are in the Scoutmaster bag of lesson that we work with these young men.  We model these behaviors, we teach them by placing them in situations to make decisions, and we expect it of them as part of their promise to live the Oath and Law.
I look at the boys in my Troop and hope that one day they will all become good men, men of character and the kind of men we all can be proud of.  Men that will look back on their Scouting experience and know that we made a difference in their lives.
Its all good stuff.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>Community

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The Internet has done amazing things for the Scouting community.. well no duh.. you are on it reading this or got it through the RSS feed..   But seriously.. the Internet has done amazing things to bring the World Brotherhood of Scouting into our homes.
Yesterday I was listening to a podcast about blogging (I really need to get a life), but in this podcast the speaker was talking about building his audience.  What it amounted to he said was not so much building an audience, but building a community.  Now we all are part of the Scouting community just by virtue of our membership, but in real communities there is contact.. there is interaction.. there is familiarities with the other members of the community, and that I think is one of the amazing things that the Internet has helped with within the Scouting community.
Last night I was invited to be a part of the Reynold High School Touchdown club, kind of like boosters, but solely for the purpose of supporting Reynolds Football.  The coach invited six people that all have sons in his program to start this organization.  As we talked last night about goals and our vision it became clear that what we really wanted to do was start a community within our community.  A community with a common vision and purpose.  Well here we are the Scouting community, we all have a unit we belong to, or a District function, or we work with our local councils (I am going to assume it stops there, if you are from National.. please email me.. I would love to know you).  Many of us wear many hats and serve Scouts and Scouting in many ways.. and then there is this… the Internet Scouting Community.. you may call it our Scouting Blogosphere.
The gang that started up the #100daysofscouting made huge steps in bringing our community together and it has had some pretty good results if you ask me.  But whats the next step?
YOU TELL ME.  And that’s whats next.  Tell me where we go from here.
Leave a comment and share you idea or ideas.. or drop a voicemail in the SMMVoicemail box (to your left).
There is so much potential in this community.. we need to tap in to it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>Den Chiefs

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The week on the SMMPodcast we talk about Den Chiefs and what an amazing asset they can be for your Troop.  I am not going to blog a bunch about it.. listen to the show!
I will tease it just a bit to say that when your Troop uses Den Chiefs you have better developed leaders, they are great recruiters, and motivated Scouts.  Den Chiefs become the face of the organization and can do fantastic things to improve Pack Troop relationships.
Check out the show and then let me know what you think.  There are lots of options for feedback.
#100daysofscouting kept be busy as usual.  Getting the Goodwill/Goodturn report together to turn in on Thursday.  Working on the podcast.  Completeing the OA election report.  And reviewing our Troops advancement status.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>Responsibility

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This week at the Troop meeting we worked on Rifle Marksmanship.  We will be shooting at our next camp out, so in order to spend more time sending bullets down range and not sitting in a class, we brought the rifle in to the meeting and worked on all of the basics in our meeting place.  Safety, parts of the rifle, how to clean and care for it, how to hold it, aim it, and squeeze the trigger.  We had a contest with the guys on keeping a dime on the end of the barrel when the trigger is squeezed, this helps them stay steady and controls breathing.  The most important part of marksmanship though is being responsible.  This lesson in life is really illustrated well in handling a rifle.  There is no room for error and no room for lack of responsibility.  Every one on the range has to be responsible for safety, every one on the range has to be accountable for their actions.  Accountability is a major part of responsibility, you see when you are responsible for something or some one you are also accountable for it and then its on you to do the right thing.
Whether is it on the rifle range, behind the wheel of a car, or getting up to go to work every day, you need to be responsible.
Scouting teaches responsibility in many ways and is a recurring theme throughout the program.  Scout need to take it, learn it, and be accountable for it.
#100daysofscouting update.
The Scouts held OA election Monday night, this will be on of the biggest groups we will have called out to go through the ordeal.
Worked with the Scouts on marksmanship, and checked in on the ceremonies team for this weekends crossover.
Put together parent information sheet for Philmont crew.
Another busy Scouting week!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>Sunday Blah Blah

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Today the Scouting Blogosphere has been pretty quiet,  Been working on the next podcast.  We are going to be talking about Den Chiefs, training Den Chiefs, and how Den Chiefs benefit your unit.  Well we are talking about Den Chiefs anyway…
If you do have a good Den Chief program in your unit I would encourage you to check out the online Den Chief training at Scouting.org (http://www.scouting.org/Training/Youth/DenChefTraining.aspx)
We have used them in my Troop and it is important to make sure an get the right Scout in the position of Den Chief.  Well, I won’t post to much about it.. you’ll have to listen to the show when it comes out Wednesday.
Having a weekend that was not really dedicated to Scouts was kind of nice this weekend, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that in a bad way.  It was nice to spend the weekend with my boys.
I went to breakfast with my youngest this morning, it was great to just sit and talk.  He and his brother are getting close to earning their Eagle Award.  They are good young men.
Monday we will have a Troop meeting, the focus will be on the upcoming camp out and preparation for the Cross over we are doing on Saturday.  The guys in the Troop put together a team, mostly OA members and they always do a nice job.  We ordered more troop hats to give to the new Scouts.  The price went up this year, not sure what to think about that, it is still reasonable, I guess that is a sign of the times.
I have been having an ongoing discussion with a few parents of the Troop on attendance at Courts of Honor.  The Courts of Honor are great events and yet there has been a trend in the last two years of declining attendance at the COHs.  I am not sure why, even Scouts that are due to receive awards, merit badges and rank are failing to show up.  Well, I am sure we will crack that nut. I’m not overly concerned about it, I just want the Scouts to participate and enjoy their time in Scouting.
OK, that’s enough rambling for now.  #100daysofscouting continues to drive the focus!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>#100daysofscouting and numbers

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Right after I posted the last entry to the blog I looked over to the recent post section over on the left column.  I rarely pay attention to it unless I am looking for something.  But what I noticed and it is no surprise, but since we started participating in the #100daysofscouting activity, the number of posts have increased, just like when I started the blog back in 2007.  Now I say this because I really enjoy the blog and blogging about Scouting and I think it is a good demonstration about focus.  Sometimes I feel we need to just stay focused and #100daysofscouting has refocused or focused many of us in that direction. 
I am enjoying reading everyone daily entries as they share with us what is going on in their Scouting world.  It truly has made our Scouting community closer.
Just so you don’t have to glance over there, let me just throw out these numbers (humor me).
In 2007 when I started blogging I blogged 107 posts all year, in 2008 that number jumped up to 236 posts, in 2009 it dropped down to 183 and in 2010, in the year that the blog should have been the most active with Jamboree and the Centennial celebration booming I only posted an anemic 89 times.  This year started off trending in that direction and then I was introduced to a spirited blast of blogs that recharged my batteries and got my focus back on the blog.  In the 28 days of February I posted 21 times and in the month of March is starting off right. 

Now I am not sure how it all really works, but this blog averages about 450 subscribers, to me that seems really low considering all the great Scouters out there, many of which blog too, but I suppose it is what it is and as long as there is one other person reading this, well then I guess all is well in Scouting Blog land.
Anyway, just wanted to Share this focus with you today.  It really is not about the numbers, but we all get excited when we share a moment in time with others, like being in the arena at Jambo with 70,000 other tan wearing Scouts and Scouters.. that was incredible, and so is the #100daysofscouting!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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>The JASM

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The position of the Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is one that I find debated frequently.  The debate ranges from what rank he needs to be to the age he needs to be and then as to what his job is within the Troop.  Is he treated like a youth or is he treated like an adult?  Where does he camp?  Who does he eat with?  What does he do?
We let me start with what the Boy Scouts of America says about the Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM):
The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is a Scout at least 16 years of age who has shown outstanding leadership skills. He is appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader with the advice and consent of the Scoutmaster. A Junior Assistant Scoutmaster follows the guidance of the Scoutmaster in providing support and supervision to the other boy leaders in the troop. Upon his 18th birthday, a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is eligible to become an assistant Scoutmaster.
Ok, so we have the answer to the age question, he must be at least 16.  He is appointed by the SPL, yes the Senior Patrol Leader.  The Scoutmaster advises and approves the leadership of the young man, but it is the SPL that appoints him.  It is important to note that the JASM need not be an Eagle Scout.  The position qualifies as a Leadership role for the ranks of Star, Life, and Eagle.  In a Troop with a functioning Patrol Leaders Council, the SPL will be able to identify the needs of the Troop and where best a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster can serve the troop.  This is where the advice and counsel of the Scoutmaster play an important role in selecting a JASM.  The JASM, once selected will work directly for the Scoutmaster just as any other Assistant Scoutmaster would do.  The fine line here is that he is still a youth and all the youth protection guidelines apply.  He can’t sleep with adults and he would not be considered to transport Scouts.
The role of the JASM is to help the Troop.  Be a good example by wearing the uniform correctly and be a visible example of the Scout Oath and Law, he is a teacher, coach, and mentor to the Patrol leaders and to all the Scouts of the Troop.  He is typically an older Scout that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and therefore has the respect of the Scouts of the unit.  In our Troop the JASM is an asset, he is a good “go between” from the Scouts to the PLC and to the Adult leadership.  We treat him like an Assistant Scoutmaster and give him a lot of responsibility and latitude.  His primary function is to assist in the training of Patrol leaders, but his specific job is to train the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader preparing him to become the SPL.  He signs books, tests Scouts in skills, coaches Patrol leaders, and is available to meet the needs of the Scoutmaster and SPL is support of the Troop.
I have noticed that many Troops in our District do not have JASM’s.  When I have talked to other Scoutmasters about why, the typical response is they don’t need them or don’t know what to do with them.  In response to that I always suggest that if nothing else it is a great way to keep an older boy completely engaged in your Troop.  It is a fantastic way to recognize a young man that has been an outstanding leader and is getting close to his 18th birthday.  It is hard sometimes for a Scout that has been in front of the Troop serving to now step back into a patrol and just follow.  In most cases they have served in Troop level positions for some time and have been a decision maker for the Troop for a long while.  To ask him just to follow is not rewarding and leaves the Scout in a awkward position.  So the reward comes from being appointed by the SPL to continue his service to the Troop at a level that is fitting of his skills, maturity, and demonstrated leadership.  We all have that Scout in our Troop, that Scout that you will want as an Assistant Scoutmaster one day.
I encourage the Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Position, it is rewarding for the Unit, the Scout, and a great asset for Scoutmasters.
#100daysofscouting for today-  I blogged, then hung out with two Scouts in my Troop.. my sons.  Need to do some work on the podcast, but that will have to wait till tomorrow.
Hey, If you have questions or comments, you can leave them here, call into the SMM Voice mail at 503-308-8297, or drop me an email, I love to hear from you!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | 4 Comments

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