Monthly Archives: August 2011

AND THE WINNER IS….

The winner of the Summer Camp SMMPhoto contest is going to be announced on THURSDAY!
I have received a lot of pictures and I thank everyone for sending them in.
They all tell a great story about the summer camp experience!
Check the Blog on Thursday for the winner!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | Leave a comment

Open wide the doors.. they will come

An 11 year boy walks into the meeting hall with his mother.  He see’s a big group of boys joking and laughing, telling stories about summer camp and some of them are frantically getting items signed off in their handbooks.
His mom approaches and asks if I am Jerry.  Yes I am I reply and we exchange handshakes.
Welcome to Troop 664!
And this is….?  Tristan, she says, he wants to be a Boy Scout.
You have come to the right place I tell her and invite her to sit down.  In moments she is filling out an application and Tristan is off with his new Patrol mates.  Playing a gathering game and getting to know his new friends.
He is a new kid in town, just moved from out of State.  He is excited and ready for an adventure.
Fitting right in with the other 11 year olds, this place is meant for him.. I can tell.
I had been playing phone tag with his parents for a few weeks now trying to get him in… it seems that the council is doing a fine job of recruiting for me.  Tristan’s parents said they called the council and the Troop they recommended was us. 
Got a call yesterday from another parent looking for a Scout Troop.  They also got a high recommendation from the downtown office.  They will be joining right after Labor day.
I guess what my Scoutmaster mentor Tim said years ago was absolutely right… “Build a great program and they will come.”
Its all about the program.  Fun, Adventure, and Life lessons.  It gets them in the door and keeps them there.
Welcome to the Troop Tristan!… It’s great to have you!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Just fun, Scoutmaster minute | 1 Comment

Talking with my SPL

Troop 664 after the Polar Bear Swim

Last week at Summer camp, my SPL and I had the chance to sit in a row-boat together for 1 hour and 12 minutes.  During that time we talked about the week, leadership, attitudes, and his future.  It was one of the best hours I have ever spent in my life.  During that hour I met a new young man.. up until then, he was just another Scout that stepped up to meet the leadership challenge.  He has always been active and one of those guys that you can always count on.. some would call his type the core of the Troop.
I appreciated the fact that he was very open with the discussion and his sense of humor really came out.
I recorded our conversation and invite you to listen in.  SMMPodcast #93 is all us and a few guys swimming their mile swim.
I hope you enjoy the time spent with James, my SPL, as much as I did.
LISTEN HERE

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Just fun, Leadership, Patrol Method, podcast, Summer Camp | 3 Comments

You have got to be kidding me???

Ok.. so fair warning.. I am going to rant in this post.  I know that I try to keep this blog positive.. but this is something that I must get off my chest.  Why you may be asking?  Well its because what I am about rant about is a fundamental part of Scoutmastership.   And when I hear what I heard while at Summer camp, well it flat out worries me that there are Scoutmasters out there that are failing their Scouts.
Let me explain…
BEGIN RANT
While at Summer Camp last week all of the Scoutmasters met daily at the program cabin.  Each day the staff would give the Scoutmasters a run down of the days events and take any questions or concerns that we may have.  On Tuesday night the Scouts would have to cook dinner in camp, so on Monday night, the commissioners gave the SPLs a meal order form.  This form had all the basics on it, the SPL was to scratch off the items that they would not need, sign the form, have the Scoutmaster initial it, and then turn it in on Tuesday morning.  Pretty simple.
So on Tuesday at the Scoutmaster meeting, the staff reminded us that the SPLs would be turning these forms in.  As soon as the staff made the comment three Scoutmasters (well we will call them Scoutmasters.. after all they have the patch on their uniforms) began to laugh.  The program director asked what was funny.  The Scoutmaster in question stated “Not sure you can trust an SPL to get it done..hahaha”  One of the other Scoutmasters suggested that he never saw the form and that the staff should had given the form to the Scoutmaster.. after all, he would be the one doing the cooking.
My jaw hit the deck and smoke began to appear from my ears.  I told myself to just shut up and let it go.  And then the following statement came ooozing out of this Scoutmasters mouth.  “You can’t trust a boy to this stuff”.  WHAT?
I looked at this dude and asked him if he ever heard of Youth Leadership?  He looked at me and said.. uh yeah.
I asked him if he was embarrased?  He said what for?  I asked him if he ever trained the SPL.. I mean after all.. it is the Scoutmasters job to train the Senior Patrol Leader.. right?  He replied its hopeless.. he’s just a kid.  I asked again if he was embarrassed.  Again he said what for?  I shared with him that I would be embarrassed if I would have said something like that, especially on a deck full of Scoutmasters.  He told me that I would not understand.  I asked him to help me understand why he would not train a Scout to lead, I asked him to explain to me why he had no faith in the Scout.   I asked him to share with me what he thought his responsibility was as a Scoutmaster when it came to training, coaching, and teaching the SPL.  He looked at me with a puzzled look.. that was all could take.  The staff at that point stepped in and said they would take care of it.
So there it is… This saddened me.  I was dumbfounded at the lack of training this Adult offered his Scouts.  I am saddened that the Scouts of his unit will not get opportunities or the trust of an adult allowing them to be successful.  It is tragic that the Scouts of his unit are getting the benefit of the full Scouting program.  I can only imagine how the rest of the program in that Troop is lacking.  At the end of the day, it’s the Scouts that will suffer.. but then again.. what they don’t know.. well, yes it will hurt them in the long run.
They do not have a leader willing to Train them, Trust them, and let them lead.
An hour in the middle of the lake in a row-boat made me feel much better.
END OF RANT.

I apologize for the negative post.  I try not to do this, but this one has been on my mind since Monday of last week and I could not let it go another day.
Please everyone.. Be a good Scoutmaster!  Train them, Trust them, and Let the Boys lead!

Have a Great Scouting day!

Categories: blog, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Patrol Method, Summer Camp | 5 Comments

Shared Experience

Break is over, Summer camp was an awesome experience and I need to share more with you once I collect me thoughts.
I will share this with you today however.  Shared Experience!
One of Scoutings treasures is the shared experience of your Scouts and you.  Summer camp is one of the best times to have the shared experience and make memories that will last forever.
On the last night in camp, we sat around the camp fire.  Our SPL was talking with some of the guys about how great camp was and then I spoke up about the memories that were forged this week.
We went around the fire circle and talked about merit badges, mile swims, catching fish, hanging out with friends, and being part of a great troop.
This year is Camp Pioneer’s 75th Anniversary.  The guys of the Troop pledged to come back in 25 years for the 100th.  We all decided that we would come back to Camp Pioneer to celebrate together.  I’m in!
I had a great time with the Scouts this week at camp.  They are all a part of a wonderful shared experience I will never forget!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Just fun, Summer Camp | Leave a comment

BREAK TIME… BREAK TIME…

Break Time… Break Time…  Those few words used to be music to my ears when I worked in the hub at UPS..  Today, they mean something a little different.
Remember a few weeks back when we talked about everyone needs to take a break.. well folks.. this is my break!
Its been crazy around the SMJerry Compound.. summer camp prep, the young one getting ready for 2 a days, and band camp is just around the corner.  The older one is still staffing at camp and the Troop has still been busy despite the summer and economy.
Last night I spent the better part of two hours getting my dutch ovens cleaned up and ready for summer camp, got the family camping gear down, and started signing blue cards.  132 to be exact.
Tomorrow we are heading out to Detroit Lake State Park for some family camping.  Sunday I will head up to Camp Pioneer for a week of summer camp.. so this is my break.
There will be no Podcasts till I return in a week and the blog is going to be silent as well.
While I am not taking a break from Scouting, and I certainly will have the recorder with me at camp.. just taking this little piece of my daily schedule out for a week is going to be a much needed break.
So.. doing unsubscribe, don’t think I have pod-faded… I shall return in about 10 days, refreshed and will have lots to talk about. 
While I am off the net.. this would be a great time to keep your photos coming for the contest.. send in your show ideas for Show #100.. and drop some feedback on the blog!
Thanks for reading, listening, and being the Scouter you are!
Now.. it’s family time till Sunday.. no computers.. limited cell coverage… and a lot of fun!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Camping | Leave a comment

I got that Scouting Spirit up in my…

I spent the better part of the weekend at Camp Pioneer.  This weekend, among other things, the camp celebrated its 75th Anniversary.  I received an invitation along with other Scoutmasters and folks throughout the Council, so I RSVP’d and attended.  It was extra special as my oldest son is on Staff at Camp Pioneer this year, so it was an opportunity to see him.  My Troop is heading up to Pioneer in a week, so it was also a real good chance to pick up some Blue cards, look at the program areas and just hang out in my favorite camp our Council has.
Friday night was the celebration for the Anniversary.  They had a special dinner and then a program in the Dinning Hall.  A slide show of the history of the camp and some “Then and Now” pictures.  The 1974 Aquatics staff was there.. all of them.  It was neat to hear their stories and meet them.  They have all gone on to do good things with their lives and to hear them speak about the camp with such fondness really hit me.
Their collective love for this camp brought them back, not only as youth, (many had staffed at the camp for up to 7 years), but now to be a part of the 75th Anniversary.  What really touched me was the strong tradition that they embodied.  This was particularly special to see and as I watched today’s staff interact with them I saw light bulbs flash on.  I saw the passing of the torch. 
I brought our son home for the night and as we drove the 128 miles we talked about this tradition at Camp Pioneer.  He said that up until he talked and heard the 1974 staff share their stories he did not understand where some of the stuff they did came from.  Songs that are sung, ways that programs are introduced, skits, and camp traditions.  It made the camp come alive for all us that love Camp Pioneer.
I have always loved Camp Pioneer and this weekend really increased that love.  Yesterday before I left camp I sat and looked over the spectacular view.  The lake and the over looking Mt. Jefferson called me.  As I sat in the Chapel bowl I could hear the staff wrapping up the end of the week’s session with the Camp Song.
Camp Pioneer we’re loyal to your code, Together we will hike the eagle road, We love your lofty pines and lake so blue, Camp Pioneer our memories always turn to you, In love and friendship we will work and play, A helping hand to each upon his way, And may our faces shine, And spirits intertwine, Camp Pioneer, that’s why we’re here, Camp Pioneer.
Hip Hip Hooray, Hip Hip Hooray, Hooray, Hip Hip!!
It brought a smile to my face remembering the 1974 staff singing the song on Friday night along side the current staff.
Then as we walked out to the parking lot after dropping John off to head home the sound of Pioneer Vespers rang in my head.  I could not help but feel that Scouting traditions are alive and well and summer camp is that place that really brings it out in all of us.
When this land was untamed and free, A few brave men built a great country, Fighting for freedom, Despite their fears, We know these men as Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you.
Here in the Cascades, the spirit lives on, A brotherhood of love, our voices in song, Learning to be leaders, For Future years, We shall be known as the new Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you. Camp Pioneer is calling you.”

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Camping, Character, High Adventure, Ideals, Just fun, Scouts, stories, Summer Camp | Leave a comment

SMMPodcast Show 92

This show is about Summer Camp and Annual planning.
We talk about providing incentives for older Scouts and getting younger guys to attend. 
After summer camp we discuss some of the elements of the Annual Planning session and some keys to making our Scouts successful in planning and executing a great year of Scouting.
A few reminders on the show about the SMMPhoto contest!
Enjoy the show.
Listen in on iTunes, Stitcher, or on the web!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: planning, podcast, Summer Camp | Leave a comment

Special Awards and Recognition

Every Troop has its traditions, customs, and special awards and recognition.  I thought I would share with you a special award that our Troop does every year.  This is my favorite award of the year and I take a great deal of pleasure in presenting this at our Court of Honor after Summer camp.
We call it the “Bobby Walker Award”.  It is named after a Scout that used to be in our Troop.  Now without going into to much detail on Bobby, lets just say that Bobby had a hard knock life.  Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a truly hard knock life… ok then now you get it.  Bobby was brought to us by a sponsor from an organization in Portland.  They were looking for some “other experiences” for Bobby to see and do.  Well, much to everyone’s surprise Bobby took to Scouting like he was Baden-Powell son.  He loved everything about it.  He had a uniform, he had friends, he loved to camp and hang out with his new buddies, but most of all.. He LOVED Summer camp!  When we arrived at Summer camp, Bobby fully immersed his whole being into the camp.  He would work merit badges, spend lots of time at the water front (he learned to swim at summer camp), he loved the camp fires, the songs and skits, well… just everything that summer camp is supposed to be.  The week at summer camp for Babby Walker was like a week in heaven.
After one particular summer camp I was so moved by watching Bobby over the week that we (the ASMs and I) decided to give him a special award.  So I purchased one of those Boy Scout memorabilia boxes from the Scout shop and we presented it to him at the Court of Honor.  We called it the Spirit of Summer camp award that year.
The next year Bobby had to leave our Troop.  There was no good byes or reasons why, his sponsor just showed up without him one meeting night and with a tear in his eye told me that Bobby was “moving on”.  I never asked any more about it, but it saddened me.
So the next year at camp the Troop and I decided that the award would be called the Bobby Walker award.  Awarded to the Scout that demonstrated the best of what Summer camp is all about.  To the Scout that immersed himself into the camp.  Each year we give a Scout memorabilia box to the most deserving Scout as voted by the Assistant Scoutmasters and I.
This has become a great tradition in our Troop and each year the Scouts look forward to seeing who gets the Bobby Walker award.  It is also a great opportunity to share the story with the Scouts to remind them that they are the lucky ones.  I’ll do a post on that another time.
So what are some of the traditions and special recognitions of your Troop.  Leave them in the comments section.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Camping, Ideals, Just fun, Patrol Method, stories, Summer Camp | Leave a comment

Skinned knees and bee stings

Now you all know that cliché’s drive me a little nuts and I really hate most sayings like.. “Boys will be boys”.. but in this case I want to write about boys not being able to be boys.
I am no expert in all things boy, but I know what right looks like.  I will not say that the my childhood represents the “Good ‘Ol days” either.. they were fun times and days that shaped the person I am today… but to say that they were better than any other time would be disingenuous.
And I am not going to jump right on the band wagon and say that all of our boys are growing up to soft.. well, I am sort of saying that and I agree with many of the popular arguments for the reasons why.
This last Saturday I was trapped in a car full of teen agers.  In that car was one young man coming into his Freshman year at our High School, he is also a Scout in my Troop.  Everyone else in the car plays a sport or two at the High School, so I asked if he was going to play Football this year.  His answer was” no.. are you kidding me!  I am going to play water polo.”  That’s great I said, water polo is a pretty tough sport.  I know this young man is a strong swimmer and he will do well.
He asked why I asked about Football.  Well, I told him it doesn’t really matter what sport you play, you should just play a sport in High School.
Sports in High School expand your social circles, they instill in the student athlete a pride in their school and in their fellow class mates.  It breaks down barriers between upper and lower classmen, it ensures that good grades are maintained, and finally it keeps the young person physically fit.  I told the young man that to play football, you don’t really have to be big and strong, you just need to be tough.  You need to be able to hit and take a hit.. the rest can be coached.
My point to him was that he should never shy away from something because he thinks its to hard.
I truly believe that every student should play a sport.  No matter what that sport is, Tennis, Rugby, Volleyball.. what ever, there are so many choices out there and they are all good.
Then last night at our Troop meeting a group of parents and I were talking about how kids are raised these days in that to a certain degree (and those degrees vary) they are over protected.  And to me this is terrible.  Now don’t get me wrong.. I don’t want anything to happen to my three kids, but at the same time a skinned knee is not going to kill them if they are out there playing football in the drive way.  We were joking about bee stings on camp outs one night.. it seemed that whenever our Troop found bees I would always get stung. 
We were backpacking one weekend up to a lake.  One of the Scouts disturbed a bee hive and the route was one.  Scouts took off running in every direction, screaming and shedding gear.  One Scout just fell to his belly and started crying as he got stung on the ankle.  I ran up to him and told him he needed to get out of there.. 9 stings later on me.. I grabbed the young man by the backpack, lifted him and forced him up the trail and out of the way of the stinging bees.  We all reached the lake and counted our stings.. then started laughing about how funny so in so was as he ran or how so in so was throwing his gear all over the place.  It made for a great laugh.  Having said that I know who the Scouts are that have bee sting reactions and none were effected.  The point is, a bee sting generally is not going to kill you and certainly not a reason to not play!  I think in total now my Troop has got me stung about 25 times.
I say all of this because of the reactions that we get from parents when we share the stories… “Oh my goodness.. you can’t get my little precious hurt” and we would never place a Scout in harms way, we are going to let them get dirty, skinned knees, and a few bee stings.  We are going to let them challenge themselves by getting out on the edge and pushing the limits a bit.
We always talk about getting out of our comfort zones.. then taking one more step.  I think that sums up my child hood a bit.
Our curfew was when the street lights came on.  We rode our bikes everywhere and did everything.  We played in the woods, we ran in the fields, and we threw mud clots at each other.  No one really got hurt and we all turned out ok.  We all played sports and did Scouting and we pushed each other to exceed our limits.  We did not know that at the time, but a good old fashioned dare was enough to make you jump off the swing set or ride your bike into a lake.
Boys need to be able to be boys.  They were designed to be rough and tumble and they were built with knees just waiting to be skinned.
I am not sure where this is all going, but it was a great topic last night at our Troop meeting while the Scouts were doing what ever they were doing.  I believe it was a class on Leave no Trace and then a game of capture the flag.

GO PLAY!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Just fun, Leave no trace, Methods, Patrol Method, Risk Management | Leave a comment

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