Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fat or Fit

There is a big push in the BSA, and our Country right now to get fit.  Why?  Because it makes sense.  Fitness leads to longer, happier lives.  This has been at the fore front of our Troop now for a few months as we are preparing for our first trip to Philmont.
In 2010, I was active with the National Jamboree contingent for our council.  There was a big push for fitness in getting all of our youth and adults in shape.  It was important to us as Oregonians heading from a very temperate climate to the hostile humidity and heat of Virginia.  We started a walking challenge.  Every adult leader was required to wear a pedometer and record mileage walked.  The goal was to walk (in miles) to Virginia and back.  The 4 adults leaders of my Troop walked the equivalent of 3 trips to and from Oregon and Virginia.  We were all concerned about the health and well-being of our Scouts and what a better way to help them than to set a good example.
Well, now Philmont is right around the corner and as we prepare, I can’t help but notice that I have let myself go a little.  Today I took the Physical Wellness online training at the e Learning  site on Scouting.org.  I had to renew my Youth Protection anyway, so while I was there, I thought I would see what the BSA had to say about Physical Wellness.  I have to tell you that the training information was good.  I enjoyed the training until I got to the part where they ask you to check your BMI.  Yep.. reality check.
So I took a look at myself on paper.. then went to the mirror and decided that enough was enough.  Heading back to the Scouting.org website I revisited the BSA Fit site.   There I checked out the blogs of many of the leaders of the BSA and how they are doing in the Walk the Walk challenge.  This lead me to the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.  I found that in the ScoutStrong program, most if not all councils are encouraging members to join the challenge. 
I created an account with the Presidents challenge and set up my challenge to earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.. along with my friends from the council.  The ScoutStrong PALA+ is a neat way to track your progress and get fit.
I need to lose 10 pounds before I get to Philmont.  Today I am within the guidelines and my BMI is just over where it needs to be, so its time to lose the fat and get fit.
Now I am not going to update every piece of bread I eat and each ounce of sweat I drop.  It drives me nuts to read about everyone loosing or gaining an ounce here and gram there.  But I do want to share my journey to getting fit and more importantly a life of being well.  I consider myself in ok shape and certainly not fat.  But I can stand to get in better shape and get to a weight that my body will like better.  We are not getting younger and I see myself very active in the years to come.
I would encourage you all to take a look in the mirror and see whether or not you are fat or fit.  It was a wake up for me to see that if I did not start now.. I would be heading in the wrong direction.
You can download the ScoutStrong PALA log from the website.  Join up and track your progress.  Personal Awareness and accountability are keys in successfully accomplishing your goals.
Join me and let’s get fit!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Competition, fitness, Just fun, Scoutmaster minute, training | 3 Comments

Devils Half Acre

Here is a short video of our Troops last adventure.  We loaded up and headed to the intersection of the Historic Barlow Trail and the PCT.  From there we packed up the Pulk Sleds and hiked down to Devils Half Acre and set up camp.  Saturday Morning we woke to fresh snow and lots of it.  We strapped on the snow shoes and took a nice day hike out to Grindstone camp ground.  Sunday Morning, we again woke to new fallen snow, ate breakfast, packed and hiked back to the trail head.  Then it was off to Joes Donuts, the last trip for the year to the donut shop.
The audio on the video got a little messed up, so after the music turn it up, then turn it back down when we start hiking out on Sunday..
Hope you enjoy the video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: High Adventure, Just fun, Leave no trace, Winter Camping | 2 Comments

SMM101 – Founders Day Podcast

Today is Founders Day. In this show we talk a bit about founders day and hear a word from the Scouting’s Secretary General, Luc Panissod. We also talk about vision and why Scouting is important to me. Plus a cool song I picked up along the way.
Hope you enjoy the Show.
Drop me an email at tbirdironchef@gmail.com, leave some feedback or leave a comment on the blog.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Direct link to download

Categories: podcast | 1 Comment

Founders Day 2012

When we teach our Scouts about setting goals and accomplishing tasks, we always start with their vision.  We ask them to take the time in their mind’s eye and see what the outcome is going to look like.   What do they want to see in the end.
Imagine with me for a moment what the vision in Lord Baden Powell’s minds eye looked like for Scouting.
What a wonderful program BP founded.  What an awesome movement, one unlike anything the world had seen, and one that stands the test of time, governments, wars, economic hardship, and prosperity.
Happy Founders Day to all of my Brothers and Sisters in Scouting!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Leadership, Scouting, Scouts, Values | Leave a comment

…and Morally Straight.

What do we mean when we talk about “Morally Straight”?  How do we explain that to our Scouts when our Scouts come from many different backgrounds, family dynamics, and religious beliefs?
Simply put, a Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.
We had a situation in my troop recently where a concerned parent approached us because her son had been Googling “Questionable” subjects.  In the discussion, it became clear that this new Scout had heard some words and ideas from an older Scout and decided to ask google rather than mom and dad what it meant.
Now before we go on, it should be said that the older Scout has had a talking to and this is the message that not only he got, but a great opportunity for me to share “Morally Straight” with the Troop.
You see, as a Scout we make a promise to keep ourselves, among other things, Morally Straight.
That means that we do our very best to stay clean in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.  IF we think nasty thoughts, then we may want to take action on them.  IF we say nasty things, then we violate the promises we make in the oath and law.  And if we are nasty in our deeds or what we do, we chip away at our character.
Most of what we are talking about is how we act towards women.  It is truly the mark of a good man to treat women with respect and dignity.  Being morally straight drives how we treat the ladies of our lives.  How a man loves and treats his wife is perhaps the most important lesson that he can ever teach his children.  How men treat women in general is a real test to what the character is of that man.  If we are thinking about women in a less than respectful way, then we will show that in our actions and our words.  Women are not “Chicks”, they are not objects to be googled.  They should be held in high regard and treated well.
So if you find yourself searching the internet with less than moral intentions, or find yourself telling jokes that paint a nasty picture of women, or if you find yourself acting on something that popular culture has deemed acceptable, but you know in your heart that it is not morally straight.. stop. 
Never make yourself a liar.  You make a promise when you say the Scout Oath.  This promise is binding among men of character.  You will lose that when you act without being morally straight.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scouts, Values | 8 Comments

Scouting- A Way of Life

Picked this up along the way.. it still rings true today.
The Scout Oath and Law are a system of principles, and the program of Scouting is the method of making these principles work in the lives of boys.  Let your boys know that the Oath and Law are the rules of the Troop.  Scouting is a great game.  Boys want to know the rules.  When the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law become practical guides for the games, they then become a code to live by.
Keep in mind as you go along that the purpose of Scouting is”‘…to promote,…the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues,…’ by placing emphasis upon the Scout Oath or Promise and Law for Character development, citizenship training, and physical fitness.”
Knowing the purpose of Scouting and the means of achieving it, you will have made a giant stride in the direction of building good men.
Finally, remember that as the first Scoutmaster Handbook put it- “Our purpose in this Boy Scout Movement is not to exploit methods, not to glorify organizations, not to honor Scoutmasters, but to lead boys into useful lives.”
- The New Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America, 1958

As much as we all have tried to say this in other words.. that pretty much sums it up.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, fitness, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Scouts, Values | Leave a comment

2-11-12

“Listen Lord, oh listen Lord,
As I whisper soft and low.
Bless my Mom and Bless my Dad,
For these are things that they should know.
I have kept my Honor bright,
The Oath and Law have been my guide.
Mom and Dad this you should know,
Deep in my heart I love you so.”

Today I simply want to thank my Mom and Dad.  46 years ago today they introduced me to the world.
And the rest they say… is history.
Love you Mom and Dad!

Have a Great  Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Just fun, Oath and Law | 3 Comments

Preaching to the Choir

During this last years recharter we had an extremely disappointing turn in of the Journey to Excellence form.  As a District committee we chalked this up to a couple of things.. perhaps it was that many people were not aware of the change in program.  Maybe some Scouters did not receive proper or inadequate training on the subject.  It could have been that the program was not communicated effectively.  Another reason may have been that some Scouters just don’t care enough to fill it out.  Then again, it may have just been that there are units out there that really are not delivering the promise and would not fill out the form for any reason.
I will go on record and say that the answer is All of the Above. (In my opinion).
So rather than simply complain about it.. I figured that the right thing to do, because I love Scouting and believe in the program, would be to tackle the issues and start with training.
So I volunteered to teach about the JTE program and give out all the tools that would make a unit successful in at least getting the 2012 form in with their charter in November.
So back in January, I announced that we would hold a JTE session at the February Round table.  I made arrangements with the Round Table commissioner and we decided that this would be a great class.  We could have all levels of Scouting attend and present the information in a clear and easy to use format.
I made copies of all of the materials and even used my own Troop as an example.  I made copies of our spreadsheet JTE tracker and our goals for this year.  A sample budget was included as well as the Pack, Troop, and Crew requirements for 2012.
Last night at Round table, the room was set and I prepared to teach this subject of which I have developed a passion for.  7 people showed up for the training.  7.  2 of them were Assistant Scoutmasters from my Troop, 1 was a Scoutmaster of a high performance troop that is using the JTE tools and is delivering the promise of Scouting.  2 were Cub Scout leaders that I assume got a lot out of the class.  They had great questions and seemed to be very interested in getting this ball rolling within their Packs.  1 was an Assistant Scoutmaster of another Troop that is always in the hunt for Troop of the Year, and finally a committee member from on of the LDS units in our District.  She had never heard of JTE and took lots of notes.  She informed me that she thought that this was all done at the Stake level.. but wanted to know more so she could get the program started with the Troops she worked with.
7 Scouters.
85 units did not bother to fill out and turn in the form during the last recharter process. 
So essentially last night I preached to the choir… again.
As I drove home from Round table last night my mind was filled with disappointment which of course drove me to thinking about the other areas in which we fall short in our District, Council, and of course the BSA.
Mostly I think it comes down to training.  We do a fantastic job of getting people to help.  Just look at the numbers.
1.1 Million volunteers currently serve the youth of Scouting.  1.1 Million.  Now I am no fool, and I know that in any population you will never get 100 % of the folks to do anything, but we need to try right?
So we have lots of Scouts that deserve the best, and we have lots of volunteers that have at some level made a commitment to give their best, and yet we don’t.
Lets assume that my District (which I consider a real great district) is representative of most if not all districts in the BSA.  First, lets throw out some numbers again… bear with me here.  Remember that I said 85 units in my district did not bother to turn in the JTE form.  My district has 129 units in it.
In 2010 the BSA reported that there were 47,259 Cub Scout Packs, 40,099 Boy Scout Troops, 8,539 Varsity teams, and 18,856 Venture Crews.  That would be a total (in 2010) of 114,753 units in the BSA.
So assuming everything is equal, 40,000 units within the BSA did not turn the JTE form this last year.  Now I do not know this to be true.. I am just looking for a solution.  IF that big a population within an organization that makes it its business to deliver the promise of Scouting to the 2 million (plus) Scouts that come to us allows this to happen.. then I think it is worth a review.  Not a change in the Journey to Excellence program.  It is rock solid.. after all its all about making every unit the best.  It follows the methods and places its focus on what is important.. serving Youth!.  No, it does not need to change.  What needs to change is how we present, train, and work with units to ensure that the program (both the Scouting program and the JTE) are being followed.  Units that are in need of help need to get it.
I think this is where the commissioner service comes in… and there again.. we are preaching to the choir… assuming again that your district is like mine.. where are all the commissioners?  We are in need of good commissioners that are dedicated to making every unit a great one.
There are many ways that we need to attack this.  I think that we have a huge disconnect here and it will not get better as long as we keep preaching to the choir.  The choir is fine and is singing loud and clear.  It is the folks that don’t want to sing that we need to reach.  It is the people we never see, it is the countless applications that come through the council that never get a hand shake or a visit.  It is the volunteers that are not reached by hands on training or a friendly invite to Round table.
As much as I am a big fan of computer based training.. I think we may have lost some of the contact by going away from class room training.  We need to connect with the 1.1 million volunteers, or what ever that number is in your District and not only fix this JTE problem, but get more leaders trained, active, and taking on rolls that complement their skills, attitudes, and level of committment within the District.  We need commissioners that actually pay visits to their units.  Commissioners that do not wear multiple hats in Scouting.  Commissioners that can take the time to work with and mentor unit leaders.
We need to get a bigger choir!  I’ll have more to say on this later… I am curious to hear what you have to say about all this… leave a comment!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, comments, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, planning, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Skills, technology, training | 9 Comments

Larry says it well

On the heels of a great JLT weekend and Troop elections, it is fitting that Clarke Green, fellow blogger and podcaster posted an article today that nailed my thoughts.  The article was written by Larry Geiger, a contributor to Clarke’s blog and regular commenter here on the Scoutmaster Minute Blog.
So rather than me rewrite what Larry has so succinctly said..
Go to his blog and read this.  Well done Clarke/ Larry… Bravo!… and thanks!.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Leadership | 1 Comment

Modeling the Expected Behavior

This weekend, our Troop conducted Junior Leader Training.  Because we have so many young Scouts, we decided to do things a little different this year.  This year, wanted to ensure that the leaders clearly understood what was to be expected as a leader.  Instead of the typical classroom environment, we took the training out doors where we do the leading.  An over night camping experience in which the Scouts attending the training committed to doing everything right.  The committment of the Scouts that arrived on Friday evening at Camp Discovery was apparent from the word go.
We built a camp fire and pulled our chairs up close.  The theme for the weekend was Modeling the Expected Behavior.  What that means to the Scouts of our Troop is that as leaders they need to set the very best example that they can.  As examples they model the behaviors that we expect to see from the rest of the Troop.
So this weekend, the leaders learned about the Teaching EDGE, Leading EDGE, Ethical decision-making, Communicating effectively, and Learning to teach.  The leaders shared expectations and demonstrated to one another what “Right looks like”.  This morning after teaching one another how to properly pack gear, leave no trace, and cook a meal, they spent some time on the C.O.P.E course working on team development.
At the end of the training it was time for reflection and reinforcing the theme of the weekend.  Modeling the Expected Behavior.
This theme will be the driving force for the rest of the year.  It is the hope of those that attended the training that they will affect a positive change in the Troop.  They all understand that as they go, so will the rest of the Troop.

In my opinion this was the best Junior Leader Training session I have seen our Troop do.  There was a clear understanding at the end of the training and I too feel that the Troop will better for it.  With so many young Scouts in the Troop and more coming at the end of the month, Scouts that are willing to take responsibility and be the very best example by modeling the expected behavior, will be have a lasting impact on our unit.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: camp skills, Camping, Character, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Leave no trace, Oath and Law, Patrol Method, Scouts, Skills, teamwork, Values | 2 Comments

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