Author Archives: Scoutmaster Jerry

Find a Map

philmontmapWatching an old episode of Bonanza the other day and as with most of the stories, the guys with the white hats typically come out on top while the bad guys in their black hats seem to have the opportunity to listen to Mr. Cartwright give them a lesson in good livin’.
The lesson this time was about finding your way in life.  I don’t remember the particulars of the story, but Old Ben Cartwright shared some wisdom that I immediately felt a need to share.  He said “It’s alright to find your way in life, it’s a lot easier if you have a map.”  I could not help but think that this is a message that we often share with our Scouts.  The map, our Oath and Law.  There are many other maps out there also, The 10 Commandments, our laws, the Golden Rule.  All pretty much lead you in the same direction and certainly make your life a little easier and worth living.
Baden Powell left us a good road map to a successful life in that first Scout Handbook.  He shared with us the Values of Scouting, a good Oath to live by, and skills that help make a young boy a man.
It is important to find a good map to live well.  Whether that is through your faith, our laws, or in our Scout Oath and Law it is of value to you and others to live right.  I always go back to what BP said about Happiness in that true happiness comes from making others happy.  It takes a good map for good living to do this.  I think that there are many ways just as there are many maps to do this.  I grew up in the Church and it gave me a firm foundation of how to treat other people.  As the Golden rule says in essence to treat others as you want to be treated.  I thought as a grew up that this was a Christian thing, but as I got older I learned and came to realize that happiness is universal and so too is the Golden Rule.  This ethic of one good turn deserving another goes a long way in the happiness of the world.  The Golden Rule often called The Ethic of Reciprocity is found in 21 of the Worlds Religions.  Knowing that it is a wonder why we fight and how Religions the world over have caused so much pain in the world.
The Roman Pagan Religions taught “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”  Native America teaching lead us in “Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.”  And hundreds of years before Christ walked our planet, “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow-man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.” from the Jewish faith.
I think that this last quote speaks more to me in the world that we live in today as it relates to the Golden Rule and Happiness.
So what does all of this have to do with our map?  It’s simple.  The map does not have to be complicated.  It does not have to come with a degree in Social Science.  The map needs to be clear and easy to understand.  The map needs to have clear markings that lead us in the direction that we wish to go.
Our map in Scouting is the Scout Law.  It is simple, clear, and leads us in the right direction.  12 simple words that are the foundation of our happiness and the happiness of others.
So you can have the Bible, The Tora, The Koran, or any other of the sacred text, what matters in the end is that you use them to do find good and happiness… more importantly, you use them to give happiness to others.
If you don’t you are not using them right.  The same is the Oath and Law in Scouting.  Words are great, Actions are better.  Finding your way in life is a good venture… having a map certainly does make it easier.
Find and use your map.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law | Leave a comment

Hitting the target

FoundersAwardOver the past two weeks we have had a wonderful Scouting experience learning about the fantastic people that we have in Scouting.  Our Council Court of Honor was held a few weeks back honoring those that received their Silver Beaver award this year.  As they read the bio’s of the recipients I sat listening and soon found myself in awe of the people that had the shiny new Blue and White ribbon around their neck holding on to that little beaver.  I leaned to the person next to me and mentioned how proud I am to be there among all these great people.  People that do so much for Scouting and the youth in our programs.  The hours of service they dedicate, the talents they have, and the love for Scouting made me feel that Scouting is in good hands with people like this.  He leaned over to me and pulled on my Silver Beaver… “yep” he said, “Make you feel good to call them your friends”.
Then the big Rendezvous weekend with the Order of the Arrow.  Our Lodges biggest event and when we have our annual Lodge Awards banquet.  The Rendezvous is always a great event, this year marked with the 100th Anniversary of the Order of the Arrow, needless to say it was going to be special.
Rendezvous is always fun and the annual gathering of the Liars Club.  A great group of Scout friends of mine, each year we take some time to just sit and chat,, liars club?  The first liar does not have a chance in that group.  Seriously, we have a great time together and the discussions typically result in fixing all the problems in Scouting and sharing best practices within our Troops.
Again it is one of those things that remind me of the great people that are in Scouting and all of the fantastic things that they do.  Saturday evenings events conclude with the awards banquet.  The Lodge Chief gives a state of the Lodge address sharing the members with the amazing things that the Lodge did last year.  Thousands hours of service, Journey to Excellence (Gold) Lodge, Thousands of dollars donated that help the council camps and other programs, a recap of the Lodge service project.  Really impressive to say the least.  And just when you think you have seen the best in Scouting they present the Founders Awards and the Lodge Service awards.
The Founder’s Award recognizes Arrowmen who have given outstanding service to their lodge. The award is reserved for an Arrowman who demonstrates that he or she personifies the spirit of selfless service, as advocated by founder E. Urner Goodman and co founder Carroll A. Edson.  I love this award in that every Scout or Scouter that I have seen that was awarded it truly exemplify that which I think is the very best of not only the Order of the Arrow, but Scouting.
This year was no exception.
The Lodge Service Award is also presented to those members of the Lodge that go above and beyond that which the average Arrowmen does in service to the Lodge and as a result the Council and Scouting.
The Lodge awarded 5 Lodge service awards this year, and again, they are 5 people that are so remarkably deserving that it leaves me thinking about how much I admire those recipients for the work that they do within Scouting and their communities.
The last recognition of the night is the call out of the Vigil Candidates for the year.  This is a special group of people that have proven themselves worthy of the Order of the Arrows highest honor.  From the Order of the Arrow’s website; Alertness to the needs of others is the mark of the Vigil Honor. It calls for an individual with an unusual awareness of the possibilities within each situation.  The Vigil Honor is the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to lodge, council, and Scouting. Membership cannot be won by a person’s conscious endeavors. The Vigil Honor is a high mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those Arrowmen who, by reason of exceptional service, personal effort, and unselfish interest, have made distinguished contributions beyond the immediate responsibilities of their position of office to one or more of the following: Lodge, the Order of the Arrow, the Scouting community, and our Scout Camps.
After the banquet a group of us sat and talked about the evening.  I shared my thoughts and how impressed I am of everyone that received awards.  We talked about what motivates people to do as these recipients have done.  It takes a willingness to wake up every morning and look in the mirror and say “I am going to be great today”.
It takes a person that understands that if we aim at the bulls eye we will hit it more times than not.  This commitment to not being average, after all, any one can hit the target… but hitting the bulls eye takes practice, skill, and focus. We need to have that kind of focus when we talk about making a commitment to being a cheerful servant.  Again, not being willing to be average. Just like our Silver Beavers, Lodge Service award, and Founders Award recipients have been recognized for the service they have done, it is never done for the award but because they have been focused on being the very best that they can be.
I shared these thoughts with my Scouts the other night at our meeting.  I asked them to take that look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are willing to be their best.. not good.  Good in not good enough in the world today.  Every morning they need to make a commitment to being a great person.
I think that we can look to our Founder, Baden Powell when he said that “But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”  This thought has weighed on my mind lately as I watch all of the great things that are happening in Scouting.  All of this at the individual level.. and that is what drives Scouting. Being Great!  Great people doing Great things.  This helps our program, our Scouts, and the world.
I am happy to know these people and to be counted with them.. I wake up every morning and try me best to be one of those that do something great.  I don’t always hit that bulls eye.. but at least I am aiming to be my very best.
Are you hitting the target?  Are you aiming?  Think about it.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Gear Tweekin’

Today we took advantage of a nice sunny day to get some gear tweekin’ in.  Part of our addiction to camping gear is first recognizing that I have this addiction and second that I need to get out and play with it.  So Greg, Scott, Wade (all Assistant Scoutmasters in my Troop) and I got together today to set up our hammocks and tarps and do some modifications, improvements, and just plain getting out and having fun.
I have been wanting to change out my suspension system on the Blackbird.  Why?  Well, to be honest why not… Actually I have been wanting to have a system that I can pack up all the gear while under the tarp when its inclement weather.  I initially bought the Speed hook system from Dutchwaregear.com.  I love the Dutchware and have a lot of it on my set up.  The Speed Hook system was a light quick option for set up and take down and look real cool too.
Dutch recalled them after a few months and more testing.  I don’t really understand the reasoning other than he stated that there was a failure found after many hangs.  This means you will end up on the ground.  That was enough for me to swap them out.  While it may never happen, I did not want to out on the trail with no options if they did break.  So I ordered a new Whoopie Sling set up from Dutch.  This includes new straps, Dutch Clips, Whoopie Slings, Dutch Biners, and Dutch Buckles.  It is a super quick set up and strong.  All the while being light in weight.
For the tarp all I really wanted to get done was change out all the line.  I swapped out the Zing it line on the tie outs with MSR Reflective line and  CamRing™ Cord Tensioners.  I was not sold on the tensioners when I looked at them in the store, but once I got them on the tarp and played with them… yep.. they are a good fit.
I love playing with the gear, it is a great way for us to get out and mess around, have fun together, and get ready for camping.
Here is a little walk around video of the work we did today.
If you have any questions about it.. let me know.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, camp skills, Camping, gear, Hammock, Just fun | 2 Comments

The Value of time

One of the most frequent excuses I hear from Scouters is that they do not have enough time. Time for family, work, sports, scouting, hobbies, church, volunteering, etc. There’s just not enough time. Well folks, there is plenty of timtimeclockse.. in fact no matter how you slice it, time never changes. There are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours a week, about 672 hours in a month etc.. etc..
Time is constant and extremely valuable. Because there are only 24 precious hours in a day and typically 6 to 8 of them are chewed up in sleep we need to value the time that we have.
So how do we value our time? Just like we value our money.. we make the most out of it. A Scout is Thrifty right? Thrifty is not restricted to dollars and cents, it is good stewardship practicing Leave No Trace, it is not wasting food, it is the idea that we value what we have and make the most of the opportunities that we get. And we get time each day.
How we value that time and make the most of it is important.
So when it comes to time, what do you value? What is important enough to spend time doing it? We do not compromise many of the things that we value. Our character is something never to sacrifice. What makes up that character is also non negotiable when it comes to managing our time. So what is important to you?
Faith, Family, Education, Scouting? Friends, time alone, hobbies? What is it that makes you get up each morning? How do want to spend your 18 or 19 hours a day that you have? Work obviously takes up 8 or so hours.. you need to work to support the rest of your goals, desires, and life style. So you still have 10 hours to do something important with your life? This is what is where your ability to manage time comes in.
The excuses that you don’t have enough time is false, we all have enough time, we just don’t use it well. We waste a lot of time doing what is not important to us. We allow other people to suck our time away.
The three biggest hurdles in time management are the lack of prioritizing, the inability to say “No”, and thriving on just being busy.
We get into a routine of being busy which by and large makes us feel like we are using our time well, but in fact it typically leads us to just being busy and not using time effectively.
I have not always been that great with time management and valuing my time. There have always been things that have been important to me, but using the time that I had was not a priority.
My family has always come first and they always were on the top of my time usage list. It is nice that we have been a Scouting family as it allowed for that time to be spent together.
As I started to learn more and get a deeper appreciation for the value of time I started learning how to get the most of that 672 hours a month. My career has given our family the means to have what we have and do what we have done. But that of the things that mean the most to me. As stated, family is number one and non negotiable.
I started to develop routines and habits to make the most of my time. First I started using lists. They helped my manage things in my life assigning priorities to each item on the list. It was at Wood Badge that I learned and started setting goals. Personal, Scouting, Family, and other parts of my life. Setting goals became a habit after Wood Badge and an important part of managing my time. Goal setting showed me the value of time. It clearly identifies those things in your life that you really want to happen. It clearly focuses how you are going to spend your 24/7.
Oh yeah.. and you get things done. You stop being busy and do the things that have value in your life.
So you get 24 hours in a day. How do you use it to get things done? How do you prioritize your time to do the things in your life that you value and feel important?
Set Goals, Prioritize those goals, make lists, and value your time.
The next time you go to make an excuse.. don’t.. just look at your list and know that you are in control of your time.
How do you use your time?
Have a Great Scouting Day?

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Green Bar Bill and Wood Badge

It’s Wood Badge Wednesday time again.  In this post I want to share a bit about my Scouting Hero William “Green Bar Bill”bill_pic Hillcourt.
Everyone knows that William Hillcourt wrote books for the Boy Scouts of America, but few are aware of all of the work that he did for Scouting in America, in fact there in no where in Scouting in America that we can not find Green Bar Bill’s fingerprints.

Green Bar Bill is responsible for Scout Handbooks, Field Books, and resurrecting Wood Badge in America after the Second World War.
You see. In 1948 the Chief Scout Executive Elbert K. Fretwell, commissioned 4 professional Scouters to to get Wood Badge underway as a national training standard. Bill Hillcourt was one of the four, BSA’s first Deputy Camp Chief and by then, also the national Director of Scoutcraft.
Once they created the course that would become the new Wood Badge they held two courses. One in New Jersey at the Schiff Scout reservation and the second at Philmont. They were respectively Course #1 and Course #2. Green Bar Bill was the Scoutmaster for both courses.
The Philmont course was held at Cimarroncito. Thirty-five men mostly from the Western parts of the U.S., assembled at Philmont’s “Big House” at noon on October 2, 1948, to launch BSA’s Wood Badge.
The course started tenuously with Professional Scouters pitted against Volunteer Scouters. SM Bill Hillcourt regrouped his Staff and broke an impasse. Patrol spirit soared and Participants overcame the obstacles of high altitude, physical and mental fatigue, slow and difficult supply deliveries, poor communications with the Philmont Ranch, and bad weather with rain, sleet, snow, and cold!
It was unquestionably a mountain-top experience. Tired Scouters returned home with strong, enthusiastic feelings; the future of Wood Badge in BSA was assured. (source http://www.woodbadge.com)
;As I prepare once again to staff Wood Badge for the 21st Century I look forward to that Mountain Top experience, albeit at the wonderful Oregon Coast!  I always learn something new about Scouting, the people I am associated with in Scouting, and of course myself.
Like I said, Green Bar Bill is one of my Scouting heroes.  His story from a young man that loved Scouting enough to get a job in the mail room of the National Office to creator of the new Wood Badge and countless contributions in writing the literature that shaped Scouting and Scouts for decades.  His impact is way beyond Wood Badge, but his involvement in Wood Badge is clearly one more reason for me to look to him as someone we should try to be.
I am looking forward to carrying on the Legacy of William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, Wood Badge’s first Scoutmaster in America!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Backpacking Food

sdc10061A couple ways of thinking about backpacking food. First. Quick and easy.. boil water Second. Pre cook and reheat. And third, make it from scratch.

When we are talking about Quick and easy we throw freeze dried or dehydrated meals in to the mix.
Nice for quick meals that require very little skill and clean up. Boil water and add it to the meal.. wait 20 minutes and you are ready to eat.
In some cases these meals get easier when you just buy them pre made. Mountain House or Backpackers Pantry are very popular and can be found pretty much everywhere.
There are “higher end” freeze dried cook in bag meals that can be found online. They are better quality (in my opinion) and the price per serving is actually lower than going with some of the other store bought meals. Packit Gourmet and Hawk Vittles are two of my favorite.
You can also make your own, most of use however do not have the ability to freeze dry, but we do have the ability to dehydrate. Pretty much any meal that you can cook at home can be prepared for backpacking. Just cook it up and dehydrate the meal. Put it in a zip lock back or if you have a Food Saver, package your meal and you are ready for the trail.
Remember that fats do not dehydrate, so use reduced fat or the lowest fat meats you can. Also consider your serving sizes as you cook and dehydrate. Pack them in individual or two serving sizes. Anything more takes more water and time to prepare on the trail.
The second way of preparing meals is the precooked options. These are becoming a favorite option of mine. When we are talking precooked I am talking about meals that need only to be reheated to eat. Pretty much any meal that you can buy off the shelf (frozen or dry) that can be thrown in your microwave can be reheated and prepared to eat on the trail.
Bags of food that have a microwave option are perfect.
PF Changs, Bertollis, Marie Callendars, Stouffers, Birds Eye, Healthy Choice, and Jimmy Dean to name a few. For those of us that want to lose a pound or two, Lean Cuisine and Healthy choice make great meals that are portioned just right.
These meals are easy to repackage into zip lock bags, easy to reheat, and little prep work.
Finally, you can make your meals from scratch on the trail. This is a nice option when weight and resources are not a concern. I love fresh eggs on the trail, and when the distance is not too great and like I said resources are not limited making a nice steak and potatoes are a wonderful option while backpacking. In this case, anything goes as long as you can support it. For example keep items cold and from spoiling.
Fresh meals made from scratch may require more utensils, pots, pans etc. So planning is a consideration when exploring this option.
So here are some of my favorites, I tend to mix things up from month to month although there are certain meals that get into the rotation more often than others.
Breakfast.
Oatmeal
Jimmy Dean breakfast bowls
Eggs, Bacon (precooked)
Spam packets and eggs
Carnation Breakfast drink (instant breakfast mix)
Pop Tarts

Lunch
Tuna in foil pouch
Crackers
Summer sausage
Spam pouch
Chicken salad pouch
Noodles with pouch chicken (pre cooked)
Noodles with veggies and Jerky
Healthy Choice steamers

Dinner
Any of the Healthy choice or frozen meals
To get a good idea of what I am talking about Click here.

Snacks
I personally like to take cheese and crackers, some candy like Hot tamales and Gummy bears.
I take pudding, Snack pack pudding cups for after meals.
A York Peppermint patty is nice in the evening to settle the stomach before bed.
Hope that helps you enhance your meals out on the trail

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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The Great Non Negotiable

Adult Leader RolesI often talk about Character with our Scouts and on this blog.  To me Character is the Great Non Negotiable.  Character is that which once you give it away, you can not get it back.  Character can never be taken from you, but you can freely give it away.  We see examples of this daily, we need only to look to our Nations Politicians and how they compromise their integrity and Character when they fail to live the values that we all seem to hold true.  Being Trustworthy and Loyal, Brave and Obedient.  Our Governor here in Oregon seems to push the limits of integrity weekly.
When these “role models” give away their character while the public watches we know that they are willing to stretch their integrity to any limit.
They give it away and can never get it back.  We know what they are up to and nothing they can do will repair the damage done.
So it goes with our young men in Scouting.  Beginning at the early age when a Scout becomes a Tiger Cub we teach them Character Connections, themes that run through the entire program that set them on a course to develop Character and keep it.
“Character development should extend into every aspect of a boy’s life. Character development should also extend into every aspect of Cub Scouting.”   The core values that begin to make up a young man’s character in Cub Scouts are like a hand prepared for the glove that will be the Scout Law once he joins the Boy Scout program.  For this reason, I am happy with the change the Boy Scouts of America has put in place for all Scouts, no matter which program they participate will all learn and live the Scout Oath and Law.
In the Scoutmaster conferences I conduct with the Scouts of my Troop we often spend a great deal of time discussing character.  The skills portion of their advancement play a small role when compared to the way they act and grow.
Many times we direct a Scout away from certain behaviors during these discussions. Unfortunately, their school environment does not value the same character as we do.  I share the fact that Character is in fact a Non negotiable item in life.  Well, only if they want to have a good life that is full of meaning and value.
They have to understand that they can never negotiate their character away.  They need to know that the values that shape their character which we find in the Scout law are all good for their future and when lived will ensure character is kept. I find it disturbing that they are often willing at a young age to begin the compromise of these values.  It is not an issue of “cool” or even Scouting.  It is an issue of developing these young men.  I have said it before and will continue to say it… It is not my job as a Scoutmaster to produce Eagle Scouts, I am here to help develop men of Character.
There is an expectation that Eagle Scouts have Character, but in some cases the Scoutmaster valued the rank over the substance.  Their score card was compromised by the want to have Eagle Scouts and not good men.  The good news is that you can have both if you take the time to expect good character and never negotiate it away so a young man can feel good about getting rank.
If they are not ready.. they are not ready.  It is not for us to add to or take away from the requirements, but it is also up to the Scout and the Scoutmaster to agree on how he is “Living the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.”  Now in that agreement my Scouts know that I will not negotiate when in comes to character.  I care less about how they feel and more about how they act.  Not a popular opinion in a day and age where every one gets a participation ribbon and trophy for having a pulse.  I want to see our Scouts go on and become successful, what ever that looks like in the future.  I never want to see them in the paper or the nightly news in hand cuffs or in a scandal.  I never want to see them negotiate away their character.  Selling their Eagle medal for higher pay or recognition, status or position.
Character is the Great Non Negotiable.  We need to teach that to our Scouts and expect it from them.. and yes, even if that means they develop a bit more before they are awarded the next rank.
If they don’t get it by the age of 18, we have more problems than merit badges and Eagle medals.
Just something to think about.. I do.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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The power of Why

Hey, it’s been a crazy week and now I am heading out of town for a little mini vacation with the wife.  So we will get back to blogging this weekend.
A couple things I am looking forward to this weekend (after our vacation),, We gave new Scouts crossing over on Saturday and then Sunday we have our annual Red and Green Celebration where we are not only celebrating our Troop’s achievements over the last year, but we are having our own Order of the Arrow 100th Anniversary celebration.
We will announce our Scout of the Year and recognize the hard work of our Scouts and some volunteers also.
So we are heading out of town.. a much needed break
To leave you this week at mid week with some good leadership content, take a few minutes and watch this video.  This is Simon Sinek, a great mind and speaker on leadership.  He talks about How Great leaders inspire Action.  Meaningful action that drives results.  I have said it many times as I teach our Scouts leadership.  Leaders provide three things, Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.  These three things can not happen unless the leader knows Why he or she should do those things.  Take a minute and enjoy some great leadership talk.
We will get back to the blog next week.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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So you want to change the world?

r1967“The Movement has already, in the comparatively short period of its existence, established itself onto a wide and so strong a footing as to show most encouraging promise of what may be possible to it in the coming years. Its aim is to produce healthy, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self-interest; personal, political, sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity; and thus to develop mutual goodwill and cooperation not only within our own country but abroad, between all countries. Experience shows that this consummation is no idle or fantastic dream, but is a practicable possibility – if we work for it; and it means, when attained, peace, prosperity and happiness for all. The “encouraging promise” lies in the fact that the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who are learning our ideals today will be the fathers and mothers of millions in the near future, in whom they will in turn inculcate the same ideals – provided that these are really and unmistakably impressed upon them by the leaders of today.” – Baden Powell in his farewell address to Scout Leaders.
Here is what I know for sure.  Scouting works.
IN MY OPINION

So the problem then is why is it that the world has not changed?  Scouting is currently in 161 Nations around the world.  Think about the current hot spots in the world, Libya?  They have Scouts.  Pakistan? They have Scouts.  Palestine and Israel? Syria?  Yemen?  The United States?  Yep, they all have Scouting and are members of the World Organization of Scouting Movement.
Common ground.  The Scout Oath (Promise) and Law.  In these two pledges Scouts from all 161 countries maintain a common set of values.  The Promise and Law are based on the principles of Scouting.  “Duty to God” – a person’s relationship with the spiritual values of life, the fundamental belief in a force above mankind. “Duty to others” – a person’s relationship with, and responsibility within, society in the broadest sense of the term: his or her family, local community, country and the world at large, as well as respect for others and for the natural world. “Duty to self” – a person’s responsibility to develop his or her own potential, to the best of that person’s ability.
Yes, no matter where you are the original Promise and Law from the founder can still be heard.  So why can’t Palestine and Israel get along.  I submit that the spirit of Scouting’s values and ideals have not embraced by the host countries. Politicians that failed to get the message when Baden Powell spoke to us Scout leaders.  They fail to understand the vision and the reality of what can be.  And so it is within Scouting today.  It comes down to Why?  Why is Scouting important?  Why is Scouting relevant?  Why should Scouting exist?
I have been giving these questions much thought lately and it comes down to this, when we know why we do what we do, not just what we do and how we do it the picture becomes more clear and the dream of Scouting can be fully realized.
Now, this seems like a bunch of hooey.. to those that don’t buy it.  They are also the same people that don’t get Scouting and what it is all about.  They are the Scouters that measure success by an Eagle plaque.  They don’t wear the uniform and find little use for training.  The problem is not just a political issue.  The problem is we in Scouting have forgotten why we do Scouting.  We have focused on being popular and not practical.  We have done a terrible job of telling Scouting’s story and promoting why we need Scouting.
We preach to the choir.  But when we preach we tell them how Scouting should be.  When we train our Scouters we focus on what Scouting does and how to do it.  But we miss they key component.  Why?
I firmly believe that when we understand why we stay focused on the movement.  We are not just another youth club.  We are Scouting.  So what is Scouting and Why is it needed?
Scouting started because of the youth in England when Baden Powell returned from his service in the Army.  Boys were lacking discipline and were in need of adventure.  The post Victorian era and the loss of many men the  eight wars fought by Great Britain from 1880 to 1902.  This made a large impact on the British society that left women and children at home.  Young boys looking for adventure embraced Scouting for Boys written by Baden Powell.
So where is the Why?  Why Scouting.  We know the history of how Scouting was founded but what was Baden Powell thinking when he took the boys to Brownsea island?  What was the message?  Why was all of this important for our world.  Scouting was started as a peace movement.  Powell had enough of war and understood that the skills he could pass on, yes skills adapted from military service.  Tracking, map reading, bush craft  and discipline all helped make a young man self reliant.  These skills coupled with lessons in values and character began to shape the next generation of young men.  It was this commitment to changing boys into men that Powell centered his new program for boys.
Baden Powell introduced the promise and the law to the new Scouts.  These values and promises were to lay the foundation of why we do Scouting.  Citizenship, Character, and Fitness.  The same aims we strive for in Scouting today.
So why?  Because we want to change the world,
We can do this by making young men (and women) into productive members of society.  They will have character, they will be good citizens, and they will be fit.  Why we do Scouting in America can be found in our mission statement; The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.  Again we see the values and promises of the Oath and Law that drive what we believe and why we exist.
But is this what we really believe?  Is this why we actually do Scouting?  It is for me, but when I look at the state of Scouting I think that we may have lost some of the vision.  I think that we have forgotten why we do Scouting.  I think that the vision of Baden Powell has become negotiable and the values and promises of Scouting have become less important than Delivering the a neat club for our youth.
We do a terrible job of telling our Scouts, their parents, and the public why Scouting is important.  And why is that?  I don;t think we know why we have Scouting.  Scouting has become a youth organization that competes with sports, school, and other youth activities.  Scouting had chosen to match program for program, activity for activity.  But it has not made the gains it could because what people want is know why.  Why should a young man be a Scout.  Why is Scouting better than other groups.  Why are the values important to change the world?  Why can Scouting make a difference.
We need not look much further than then Oath and Law and the mission of the Boy Scouts.  They explain why.
Until we buy that, we are just another club.
In case we miss the point with the mission of the Boy Scouts of America, lets take a larger view of how we change the world.  The mission of the World Scouting Movement is “... to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.”
Clearly a mandate to change the world.  So why did we have two world wars?  Why do we have hunger in the world?  Why can there not be peace?  Politics.
But lets bring back to our local area.  Why can’t we grow units?  Why can’t we fund our programs?  Why is it that we struggle with our message?  The answer, we don’t believe it.
We don’t think we can actually change the world.  We don’t believe that a young man can earn his way.  We don’t believe in the values of being helpful and kind.  Society won’t let us they say.  Scouting was for another time they proclaim.  The world we live in is to grown up for Scouting.  The question is… do you believe?
Do you run your program the way it is supposed to be run or do you make it up as you go?
Do you live the values or just say them on meeting nights?
Do you know why we need Scouting or is this just a club for you and your son?
Do you know how the methods of Scouting get us to the aims or they Why of Scouting?
These are important questions for you to answer.  If we don’t know we can not deliver Scouting as intended.
All much to do about nothing though if we choose not to believe that we can make a difference, that we can make a change in our world.
First.  We embrace the why.  What are our values and where do find them.  Next, how do we put those values into action?  How do we show the world why we need Scouting?
Then, we learn about how Scouting should be and get our units that way.
Boys want to belong.  Parents want their sons to belong to something with meaning and values.  We need to give that to them.
When we a tell the world why and show them we are going to do the things that will get us us there they will flock to Scouting and we will make a difference.
So you want to change the world?  You want Scouting to be a part of that change?  Then know why.
Scouting works.  We will make a difference, its up to each of us.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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4th Annual Yeti Hang

This weekend I took to the mountain for the 4th Annual Yeti Winter Hang with the Cascade Hangers.  It is a great Hammock hanging event where we talk gear, hang out, and have a lot of fun.
Clearly a non Scouting event, but the gear, the camping, and the fun are reason enough for every one to go and enjoy.
Here is a little video I put together of the weekend.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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