Monthly Archives: November 2012

My Cook Kit

I was recently asked what I use when backpacking, or camping in general, for my cook kit.  So here it is.  It’s real simple and it works extremely well.  I am very happy with this set up having used many different cook kits, pots, pans, stoves etc.  This set up is by far my favorite and most used.  And yes, this cook kit set up is used all year long, even in the snow.
If you have questions and/or comments, please drop me an email or leave a comment here on the blog.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, camp skills, Cooking, gear, Leave no trace, Skills | Tags: | 2 Comments

Be Prepared

“Be prepared for what?”  I always ask our Scouts.. “Anything” is the answer and they are correct.
This last weekend, the Scouts of my Troop went camping out at one of our favorite Scout properties, Royce Finel on the Oregon Coast.  Heading out to the coast in November is as the young guys say “Sketchy”.  You never know what kind of weather to expect, but for the most part you can expect to get wet.
The plan for weekend was to work some camp skills and have a cook off for the dinner meal.  The weeks leading up to the camp out I kept hearing the SPL announce to Be Prepared to be cold and wet.  The week leading into the camp out a couple of the older scouts brought in their packs to show how to pack for wet weather and gave some tips on staying dry.
Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say and Friday night arrived and it was time to go.  It started raining while we gathered in the parking lot at the church and got the packs loaded into my truck.  When we got to the trail head the rain had let up a little and we started our hike in to camp.  The heavy coastal rains from the last couple days made the trail interesting, especially when we got to a couple of areas where crossing swampy land was made difficult due to high water and some of the foot bridges being washed out.  But we arrived in camp and got things set up.
The first thing that I noted was that instead of jumping right into setting up tents, they had carried tarps in and set them up and got all the packs under the cover.  Then the older guys helped the newer Scouts get their tents set up and their gear put away.  The next morning after a night of heavy rain, everyone was dry and ready to have a great day.  The Troop cooked breakfast and got things cleaned up and we decided that since it was raining, and it looked like it would rain all day, that we would hike back out to the cars and head to Ft. Stevens and tour the museum there. 
After a couple of hours at Ft. Stevens we loaded up and headed back to camp.  The hike in this time was drier as it stopped raining.  Lunch was prepared and the Scouts started working on skills, namely getting a fire going.  There was nothing dry in the camp, but they managed to find some undergrowth beneath a fallen tree that would prove to be just the thing to get a fire going.  They gathered anything, wet or dry, lying around that would burn and they were successful in getting a fire going.  I checked on the guys sometime after the fire was roaring, the scouts were dry and having a great time.
The cook off went well, and everyone was thankful that the rain held out.  Around 6 PM it was dark and we all stood around the fire singing songs and telling jokes.  At 7:30 it started to rain, then came the thunder and lightning.  The guys decided it was time to head to their tents and we all went down for the night after the fire was put out.
Sunday morning we had a little drizzle, but the Scouts got packed up, ate breakfast, and we hiked back to the parking lot.  At the end of the parking lot is a dock going out into the lake, it was decided that the dock would be a good place for our Scouts own service.  At the conclusion of the service, the SPL went around the circle and had each Scout tell us what they learned over the weekend.  Some talked about how they learned to make fire in the rain, some talked about their gear, some talked about what they need to do better next time.  As I listened to them talk I heard one theme come out, and that was being prepared.
Knowledge, skills, learning from mistakes, the right gear used correctly.  All of these things lead to being prepared.  Prepared for anything.
As we arrived back in town for pick up, one of the parents made a comment about how clean everyone was.  Yeah, we had muddy boots, but uniform pants, and wet rain gear, were all clean.  One of the newer Scouts looked to his dad and said, that’s how you stay dry and warm and have a good time camping.  I smiled and said to the dad, “well I guess they do listen.”
Whether it is gear, skills, or knowledge, putting it together is the key to being prepared.  It is great when you see it put to the test and when the Scouts see themselves a success in being prepared.  It is a lesson that they will never forget and one that they will use more often in scouting and in life.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, gear, Just fun, Leadership, Motto, training | 4 Comments

Veterans Day 2012

This year as we celebrate Veterans day I would only ask that you remember that veterans represent America.  They come from every neighborhood, they come from every economic status, they come from every county and state.  They are the sons and daughters of America.  They do not ask to go into harms way and many don’t, but what they all have in common is that They say “I will go”.  They serve for many reasons.  They are looking for a way to see the world, they are looking for money for education, they serve because their family has a long tradition of service, what ever the reason they serve.
Many veterans had a great time in the serve, some hated it.  Some stayed for a single term of enlistment, some made it a career.
Some veterans were drafted, most volunteer.   They do every job the military asks and some find a skill of trade that they can use outside of the military.
Not all go off to war, but all are ready when they get they call.  Those that do end up in a combat zone do their duty and want nothing more than to get back home.
Some veterans are known as the “Greatest Generation”, while others were not welcome home at all.  Some are real hero’s and others just did their job.  But none that really made sacrifice and saw the pain of battle will glamorize it or share the real horror.  Those that never heard the bullets fly have better stories, just ask them.  Regardless, they served and they deserve the honor of recognition this Veterans Day.
My family has been one that has given much to the service of our country.  My Grandfather served in the Army in World War II.  My father served for 24 years in the Army and did his time in Vietnam with the 23rd Infantry Division.  He saw his share.  My Uncle served in Vietnam also.  I served for 21 years and had the pleasure of serving with my Battalion in Iraq.  My father in law served in the Army reserve and my brother in laws served in the Navy and Army.  And now our family will add another soldier to the roles of service.  My oldest son will be departing soon for the Army, following in my footsteps as an Airborne Ranger, and following in the shadow of not only our families record of service, but those generations of warriors that our country has counted on since 1775.
On this veterans day, celebrate and honor those that give so much for our country.
They are not all hero’s and they all don’t have a chest full of medals, but they are are deserving of a simple thank you.
The truth be told, most veterans when asked will tell you that at the end of the day, they served for their buddies, the guys and gals in their unit.  Flag waving and singing patriotic songs mean very little to the those that fought alongside their comrades in arms.  Mom, Apple pie, and the great American way are reduced to your battle buddy, the guys that feel your pain, live through the discomfort, and share you loss.  They live through the blood, sweat, and tears of the grind of being away from home in a land far away.  They understand what it means to be afraid, they understand that everyday matters and they love each other like family.
This is the Army my son will join and this is the brotherhood that he is going to be a part of.  I am proud of my service and the service of my Father and his Father, we are proud of John and the bond that he will join in us.
This veterans day, I am remembering all of those that answered the call and became Veterans.  No matter where or when they served.  If they were part of something great or just accomplished great things.  Whether they served during times of peace or times of war, they all have one thing that no one can change or take away.  They served.
Happy Veterans Day
Have a Great Scouting Day

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Values | Tags: | Leave a comment

Election 2012

I have no comment on the results of the election.  I hope that everyone voted and did their civic duty.
What I do think about the election and our election process is this.  No matter who won there was a process that we the people agree is the best way to elect our leadership.  It may not be perfect but it works for us.  Not everyone is happy about the results.. about 49% of America is not to jazzed about the outcome, but that is how it works.  If we want to change the way it works, we have the ability to do so through the process.
This is a great teaching opportunity for our Scouts, who I am sure have also had their collective fill of TV commercials, junk mail, and dinner table conversations about the election.  Now is the time to answer those questions that they may not understand, encourage them to be a part of the process starting with their student government, but most importantly the fact that whether it is a school election or a national election, they must get out and vote and let their voice be heard.  Even if that voice is a small oval on a ballot.
I am trying real hard to keep my political opinion to myself here.  As we should when talking with our Scouts, but this is my blog and I suppose I can say what I want, but in the interest of being Loyal, Courteous, and kind… I will reserve comment on how I feel about the bad choice we American’s made… Again.
Have a Great Scouting Day

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, Patriotism, Scout Law, Scouts, Values | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

SMMPodcast # 106 – Relevance

It’s time for another SMMPodcast.  In this show we discuss a topic that seems to be on many Scouters minds, Is Scouting still Relevant?
Listen in as I share some of my thoughts on the issue.
This show is brought to you by Badge Magic.
Hope you like the show, leave feedback, send an email to tbirdironchef@gmail.com.
Follow me on twitter @smjerry and of course subscribe to the blog and leave your comments here.
Listen here or download.



Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Patriotism, podcast | Tags: | Leave a comment

Give to Get?

When I was a young boy, my family instilled in me the value of being helpful.  By my parents example they showed us how to be of service to our community, to our church, and to our neighbors.  They were active in social functions that typically came with a cause.  My Dad is a pretty good handy man and would often drag me to helping those that needed cabinets fixed or other repairs.  We spent the better part of the spring of 1979 working in a Monastery doing odds and ends and the pay was great.  Onion Soup. 
I never once heard my Dad complain or ask for compensation for anything he ever did.  It was just a part of the deal.  Even to this day my parents are advocates for helping other people at all times.
And so as I grew up this attitude of service has stayed with me.  In church they always ask of people to give their time, talents, and treasure.  I always jokes that my treasure is limited but my time is free.. oh.. and limited talent too.
And so it is in Scouting.  Saturday at our Program and Training conference I sat in and listened to a discussion about Friends of Scouting.   The presenter asked the question why do we or why do we not give to FOS?   A few answers went around the room.  “To attain Presidential status and get free camping”, “To get a patch”, ‘To get the free advancement patches for our unit” were just a few.  The common theme.. To Get.
Most people Give to Get.  And that is the wrong approach when giving.  We give for the program.  We give so that our Council can maintain its outreach programs, maintain the camps we enjoy, and provide program for those that maybe would otherwise be left out.  We should not give because we get something in return, we give because we can.
Back in 2008 I had the good fortune to give to the Council’s endowment through the James E. West Fellowship.  Many Scouters half-joking could not resist to tease that I bought a knot.  It was and is not about the knot.  After thoughtful discussion with my wife, we decided that we could afford in our budget to give the $1000 over the year to help our Scouting programs.  Knowing where the money goes was important to me and knowing that all of it would be used for bettering Scouting programs in our Council was the answer I needed.  So we gave.  Yes, we got a knot, but that knot to me is a demonstration, just like my parents showing me how to give and be of service, people who know and understand what the James E. West Fellowship is see that I am a servant leader.  I wear it to be an example of giving.  I put my money where my mouth is.
Many families take advantage of all that Scouting has to offer.  We teach that “A Scout is Thrifty” and he pay’s his own way.  But many families make excuses that the economy is bad, or we can’t afford this or that.  I understand that times are tough, but times get tougher when we make bad choices.  This may offend, but tough times are tougher when we make a choice to be lazy, wait for hand outs, or not accept our part in whatever it is that you value.  Time and time again I hear Scout parents talk about how expensive Scouting can be.  How much did you pay for those cigarettes?  The average price of a pack of smokes today is $4 to $6.  For the $60 spent on a carton of cigarettes you could send your kid to camp in a month.  But who am I to tell you how to spend you money?  The fact is, smokers value it over other things.  No one needs to smoke, they make a choice to smoke.  But for the money they literally burn, they could help their son have a great Scouting experience.  Now, I’m picking on smokers here, why?  Because they are the easy targets.  You can see the dollars physically being burned with them and I can’t help but pick that out when they say they can’t afford Scouting.  Truth be told, It pisses me off when they make excuses about money then light up a cigarette.  I wonder about priorities and that obviously they are being selfish.  That goes for lots of things.  How many times do you eat out a week.  I know for my family that’s at least a $40 to $50 trip.  So you limit that activity and use the money for something better.  I’m not suggesting that a night out is not called for here and there… but isn’t Scouting worth it?
Dollar for dollar you will not find a better value than Scouting.  If you believe that, and make an effort to support that, than doing what it takes to keep it going should be a priority of yours.  If not, then keep letting others do it for you…and the beauty is that you can expect everything that is offered.
I give, and expect nothing.
I love the Scouting movement and think that there is no better place for our young people to learn and practice what they learn to be productive members of our Country.  Learning skills, teaching, practicing leadership, developing a sense of citizenship, and becoming men and women that value Character and understand that it certainly does matter.
I do this without pay or the expectation of compensation.  My reward comes in seeing these kids grow up. 
The fact of the matter is that to do this it costs and who better to provide than people who know and understand the value of the program?
But why expect something in return?  Is that the spirit of giving?  I have heard it said that “The only thing that take with you is what you leave behind”.  I saw a great example of this in August down at the Philmont Scout Ranch.  Now I do not think that I will ever be a millionaire, and I don’t think that I will ever be donating major tracks of land to the Boy Scouts of America.  But what I do know is that my time is free, my talents are available, and my treasure, well I give what I can.  And I think that is all one can ask for.  With no strings attached, and nothing expected in return.. We give.
I am once again on the Wood Badge staff, and once again I give of time and talent, and I am sure some of the treasury will be spent.  This is something that between my wife and I we have decided is good.  It is good for us, it is good for those that come to the course, and it is good for Scouting.  We both understand that the value of Scouting is greater than any dollar amount.  The program is greater than any one leader.  Scouting is life changing and worth every penny, every hour, and everyone’s talent.
Give.  Not to Get, but because it is part of being a servant leader.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Philmont, Scouting, Service, Values | Tags: | 3 Comments

One of those great Scouting Days

Yesterday I participated in a great Scouting Day.  Our Annual Program and Training Conference was held yesterday at the Scouthridge high School.  I am not sure how many Scouters participated, but there where many.  I got the feeling that there were more than last year.  There were classes ranging in topic from Songs and Skits to High Adventure.  There was a nice midway that hosted a booths from the Scout Shop to Pampered Chef.  For you Dutch Oven cooks out there, Pampered Chef has some real nice stuff.  Anyway, there was a lot to see and do and I was happy to see that Boy Scout leader participation was up.
You see we used to have a couple of opportunities for Scouters in the Council to gather and get some training and program ideas.  We used to have an Advancement extravaganza, this was primarily for the Boy Scout Program.  And we used to have a fun event called Pow Wow.  It was geared for Cub Scouters, but a real fun day of training and gathering of ideas.  Last year the two programs were combined into the Program and Training Conference.  I believe it was an idea borrowed from the Chief Seattle Council.  So last year was the first time that I was asked to teach and so I did.  I was invited back this year.  Scouter Adam and I held a couple of sessions on using Social media for your unit and I taught Scouters about the Scoutmaster Conference, one of my most favorite subjects in Scouting.
I did two sessions of the SM Conference and they seemed to be received well.  What I find interesting is the different views on BSA policy and the way in which Scouters interpret the BSA training.  You see this in the way people ask questions and share their opinion on one issue or another.  Now I am not saying this is always a bad thing, especially when they are looking for the right answer or the right way to do something, but it still drives home the point that Training and doing training right is important.
Mike Walton from the USSSP was a guest presenter this year.  He flew out from Minnesota to share some thoughts of up coming changes in the BSA and did a joint session with our Councils CFO.  It was an interesting session to say the least.  I say that in a real good way because Jason and Mike both told it straight yesterday, and for those of you that have read this blog for anytime, you know that’s what I like and that’s how I do it.   They shared thoughts of current issues, you know the homosexual thing, and they talked a lot about money in Scouting.  I loved the comments about how people tend to blame “Council” for many of the problems, issues with their units, and financial woes.  Jason asked “who is the council?”  You see the majority of Scouting volunteers equate the “Council” with the support desk, the DE’s, and the people who never seem to stop asking for money.  But, the answer is that WE Volunteers are “THE COUNCIL”.  Too many units, Scouters, and other volunteers fail to take matters into their own hands when problem solving for their units, yes there are times when we need the support of the DE or the support desk, but to blame Council for every problem we have in our Scouting world is laughable.  It was refreshing to hear it out loud yesterday by both the volunteer and the professional.
I spent a fair amount of time hanging out with the Wood Badge crowd yesterday.  Recruiting for the upcoming course and spreading the word about great Scouting training.  Again it was nice to see how many Scouters showed interest in Wood Badge and it looks like we are going to have another full class, just based on interest.  Registration opened yesterday too, so we will see how quick the class fill up.
Yesterday was a fun day of hanging out with Scouting friends, sharing ideas, and helping Scouters deliver the promise.
Like yesterday was for me, and bid you Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, comments, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Scoutmaster conference, Service, training, Wood Badge | Tags: | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Girly Camping®

It's Not Just For Boys...

STORIES of TROOP 175

Camping and Events

Hanging On The Trail

Planning and completing a 2014 Appalachian Trail thru-hike

Mr. Harrison's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Scouter Adam's Blog

Notes from the KYBO

Leader Daze

Life, Camp, and Scouting

Boys' Life magazine

Play challenging online games, laugh at funny jokes, build amazing projects and find lots of fun at the online home of Boys\' Life, the official youth magazine for the Boy Scouts of America.

Leadership Laboratory

Retain, Engage & Develop High Potential Talent

Lead with Lotus

thought-provoking posts that challenge you to become an even better leader

Healthy Wealthy blog

The Art of doing Nothing

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 997 other followers

%d bloggers like this: