There has been much said, yeah.. even here on this blog, about how Scouting has changed to meet the needs of the lowest common denominator. A greater emphasis on merit badge work shops and staying within an arms reach of a cell phone. Sometimes I wonder if we in Scouting are still delivering the promise.. you know the promise of Scouting.
I find it interesting that when we look back in the not to distant past that Scouting was much different. Even as far back as when I was a Scout there were not the concerns of life as we know it in today’s Scouting world.
Now I am a believer that we do need to bring Scouting to where the boys are.. but sometimes we should take the boys back to where we came from.
Baden Powell once said “By the term Scouting…is meant the work and attributes of backwoodsmen, explorers, hunters, seamen, airmen, pioneers, and frontiersmen.”
The 1947 Handbook for Scoutmasters goes on to add, “The word ‘Scout’ opens up to the boy the picture of open spaces, woods, rivers, and lakes, mountains which are to be his playground and where he will have his fun.” It goes on to say, “It is this promise of adventure, of camping and life in the outdoors that lures the boy into Scouting. We MUST keep faith with him by giving him that adventure – not just to satisfy him, but because it is the best way we have of holding him.”
There is more written in the Handbook for Scoutmasters that reinforces this idea of adventure and the promise of Scouting, I wonder when we stopped talking about that. There is no mention of it in the current Scoutmaster Handbook.
We have allowed lawyers to dictate that adventure. We have allowed video games and laziness to dictate our levels of activity and we worry about Scouts leaving the program because we need the numbers.
I believe that every boy should be in Scouting… but not for merit badges or bobbles and beads. I think they should be seeking adventure! Like we did when I was a boy. Adventure! Parents need to allow this to happen.. that’s where it starts.
You know, there were just as many creeps in the world in the 70′s and 80′s as there are today. The world really is not more creepy.. the difference… we have 24 hour news now and this wonderful thing called the internet.
We rode our bikes to and from Scout troop meetings. Heck, we rode our bikes everywhere. We were told not to talk to strangers and never to take candy from them.. and you know, we came out alright. Every day in the summer we left in the morning and came home in time for dinner. Looking for adventure.
In Scouts we found adventure. We camped with our Patrols, we did not need… nor did we want, all the adults hanging around. The fewer of them the better. Our parents were concerned about us, but knew that we would be ok. We trusted our Scoutmaster and the skills we were taught and we looked for adventure at every turn.
Not every Patrol got a ribbon at Camporee.. but then again, they were not all about competing either.. they were about skills and discovering new things.
Our PLC had a blank check to plan the next big adventure. I remember when I was a Tenderfoot Scout we had the biggest adventure ever. Our Troop was dropped off in Belgium to take a ferry across the English channel. Once we arrived in England we took a bus to the Baden Powell house and stayed there for a few days. We explored the local area and got to camp at Gilwell Park. 2 weeks from when we left home, we boarded the ferry and back we went. We only had 2 adults with us the whole trip and it was an adventure of a life time.
The old Handbook for Scoutmasters suggests that we can retain Scouts because “it [adventure] is the best way we have of holding him.” The best way! I firmly believe that if we just allowed it, we can get back there. I don’t think that boys have changed much… it is the parents that did the changing. You know.. I can’t remember one kid when I was growing up that had peanut allergies.. now you can’t even say the word peanut without some Mom yelling that her son is allergic. I think it’s time we give our boys their adventure back. I think it’s time that we go back to actually delivering the promise and not just Eagle Awards. I think it is time that all of us Scouters ask the simple question.. are we still delivering the promise?
Just my buck and half.. curious to hear you thoughts. Weigh in.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
This weekend at the Trainers EDGE training we got into a discussion about “letting Scouts fail to learn”. About half of the room agreed with the idea and the other half agreed that the Scout needs to learn, but using the term ‘fail’ did not sit well with them.
I think its semantics but the goal is to get the Scout to learn. In Scouting we call it Guided Discovery. Allowing the Scout to learn by making mistakes, problem solving, and executing solutions to the situation. The adult leader is there to maintain safety, offer advice, and keep the Scout heading in the right direction. The leader does that in a subtle way, not doing the task, making the decision, or being up front. The leader is there to keep the Scout ‘in bounds’ so to speak. The Scout knows he has a safety net.
So how does this “Guided Discovery” concept work or get put into action. It is not about letting a Scout hang in the wind. It is not about allowing failure to occur just for the sake of letting a Scout fail. No, Guided Discovery happens when we ask questions. This implies that the leader is engaged fully in this process. Now that does not require the leader to hover and maintain an arms reach distance. It simply forces the issue through leading questions to assist in the Scout finding the answer.
Problem solving and role-playing can play a big part in guided discovery. Many times I ask a simple question, what do you think? Not what do you think is right.. rather, what are you thinking? Most of the time this question provokes enough thought and produces a clearer picture of the desired outcome. Problem solving and role-playing can spark thought and allow the Scout (s) to see possible out comes both good and bad and allow the decision making process to happen. This is not lofty and can happen at every level.
Using the Start, Stop, and Continue assessment tool in the middle of a task is also a great way to discover solutions and assist in decision-making. The leader can act as a referee in some cases and step in with a well placed questions that may get the group thinking about alternative solutions.
The goal to allow the Scout to make decisions and learn. Through Guided Discovery, we teach, coach, train and mentor the Scout to better understanding of skills, leadership, and self-reliance.
So.. what are you thinking? Let us know, leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
A bit late in the day to get the post out. We just got home from our Annual Red and Green Dinner/ Court of Honor with the Troop. It is always wonderful to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our Scouts. We had a great surprise in the middle of the Court of Honor, my Son, John called from Ft. Benning. He is doing well and had the opportunity to make a call. It seems like we have not heard from him in a while, so it was really great to hear his voice.
This morning, my wife and I did some running around in preparation for the Court of Honor and so while we were out, I recorded today’s Sunday Mornin’ coffee.
Caution.. I may get a bit political… not to much, but enough to give a warning. At the end of the day it comes down to character and how we grow that character.
Enjoy the video. Next week… Gear talk and lots of it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
“If you aint cheatin’ you aint tryin’”… “it’s only illegal if you get caught”… “No harm.. No foul”…
These three little phrases raise the hair on the back of my neck. They are attitudes that while seem harmless, they dictate an attitude that it’s ok to do wrong.
Last night I was at a Super Bowl party and heard one of these little phrases. With a chuckle and a smile the person saying it followed it up with..”That’s how we roll”… ha ha…
I wonder if they really believe that.. or are just trying to be funny. But then I go back to an old truth that has proven itself over and over again. That is the fact that the first thing out of your mouth is the truth. The mind is not quick to lie and usually those things that are said first, without thought, are what the person is really thinking. And so… that is “How they roll”.
So, if it’s only illegal if you get caught.. then don’t get caught, right? After all.. that’s how you roll. OR… don’t do illegal things, play dirty, commit fouls (both off and on the field) and you don’t have to worry about being caught.
Ok.. here it comes.. and you knew it was on the way..
The Oath and Law… dang.. those two always ruin the fun…
But that’s how we roll.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
On one hand it breaks my heart when a Scout creeps up to his 18th birthday and has not completed the requirements for Eagle Scout. It reminds me of my biggest regret in not finishing my Eagle and I can see the disappointment in their eyes that they to will not be counted as Eagle Scouts. I tell them that all is not lost, think of the life skills you learned, the friends made, and the experiences that you had. The time spent in Scouting is worth while, even if it does not include the Eagle award. I have repeated this again and again that the goal is not to make Eagles, it’s to make men that make ethical choices throughout their life times. Men of character. Now I know that’s not what the Scout wants to hear when he realizes that he is not going to finish the trail that he started, but that is the reality and after some thoughtful consideration a look in the mirror and a glance over his Scouting record and experience, the Scout will soon come to understand that he got his monies worth and more in Scouting.
On the other hand, I am often disappointed in the Scout that he did not take advantage of the advancement program and complete the requirements in a timely manner. This leads me to wanting to say “I told you so” to the Scout, even though I won’t. Encouraging, reminding, a nudge here and a tug there to get the Scout to do the work is about all we can do. I refuse to just give it to them and I won’t take them by the hand and lead them around like a Den Mother. They all know what needs to be done and by the time they are in that 16-year-old range, well, they know how to get it done and they certainly know when their birthday is, so I tend to not feel to bad for them. After all, we are teaching life skills right?
When time is up.. time is up and you have to accept the consequence for your action or lack there of. Do I want them all to be Eagle Scouts? Sure, is it something that they all can do? Sure. I am going to turn my troop into a Merit badge mill and Eagle factory to make sure that we have more Eagles than any other Troop. Nope. The Scouts all know when they turn 18 and they all own a Scout handbook that shows them step by step what needs to be done if they want to be an Eagle Scout. Beyond that, I will help, I will guide, I will bend over backwards to work with them. But I won’t do it for them or allow other to.
I see to much of this in Scouting and it simply takes away from the meaning of the Eagle award. It takes away from accomplishment and sense of pride that the Scout has when he knows that he worked hard to get what only 4% of the Scouts in America get.
I suppose I can go on and on about this.. but when time is up.. time is up.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
We talk a lot about Character and making men of Character in Scouting. We spend a great deal of time reinforcing the ideals found in the Scout Oath and Law and expect our Scouts to live those values which will lead him to a life in which he will be counted as one that has Character.
I have talked about Character a lot here in this blog and believe that if we do nothing else with these young men, we owe them the very best training in being a man of Character.
I have said it before and I will echo it till the end of time… I really don’t care if a Scout earns his Eagle as long as he develops Character. His Character will get him much farther in life than a red, white, and blue ribbon with an Eagle suspended from it. Having said that though, you all know that I want them all to earn their Eagle, but the Eagle award does not make the man, Character does.
I was listening to some sports talk radio today and they were discussing the “steroid Ballot” for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Now, I am not going to bother getting into the details of the discussion and I also will not share my opinion on the ballot.. well actually I am in a round about way.
The reason that this caught my attention was that to the folks hosting the discussion made it an issue of Character. And yes sir.. that’s what it is all about. There was an argument that the guys that are on the ballot that used “Performance enhancing Drugs” were Hall of Famer’s before they used the steroids.. well if they were Hall of Famer’s then.. why did they need to cheat?
Mark McGuire who is the only player that actually admitted to the use of steroids said that it was important for him to “come clean” because at some point he had to look his children in the eye and explain all of this.. and that is what got my attention.
In previous posts I have explained the rule of “Saying it aloud“. It works every time. I really liked the idea of McGuire holding himself accountable to his kids. That is a great rule for character. We are all accountable to some one and we should act accordingly.
Along with the values of the Oath and Law, knowing that at some point we will have to answer for our actions should force us to act with character. I was listening to Dennis Prager the other day, he said something that reinforced this idea. He said he did not care how you feel.. he cares more about how you act. This too plays a big part in curbing selfish behavior and a lack of character. We live in an era where people feel entitled and that as long as they feel it is ok, then it is. On the contrary, we are still accountable for our actions and at the end of the day you will have an effect on someone else. Knowing that at some point I will have to answer for my actions and that the last people on earth that I ever want to disappoint are my children, I act in accordance with my values. Does it always make those around me feel great.. No, but at the end of the day they can see that I acted with character.
I have made it a point to always demonstrate good character to my kids. It has not always been the cool thing and at times it has left them feeling like I am mean-spirited or a jerk, but then they realize that I care and want only the best for them and all of us.
We often use the standard of the Oath and Law in our discussion of wrong and right. We know that at some point we will all have to answer for a decision we make. If more people used that standard, the world would simply be a better place. There would not be spouses cheating on each other, there would be less crime, there would be far less Congressmen… oh I just could not resist, but seriously our leaders would be driven to make better decisions… after all they are accountable to US.. right.
So Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa all juiced and had amazing stats in baseball… they are all on the ballot for entry in the Hall of Fame. We don’t get a vote, but can they say they got in as a player that did not cheat? Just because they all did it, does that make it right? Not if you are judging based on character. If they get in they are in and will have to continue answering the questions about steroid use. If they don’t get in, they will still have to answer for why they did not get in.. the steroid use. If they were actually Hall of Famer’s before they used.. they should have use McGuire’s standard of how he would answer to those that are most important.. his kids. Personally I don’t care one way or the other if they are Hall of Famer’s. To me, they cheated and therefore lose the privilege of being in the Hall of Fame, but then my only vote is how I look at them in regard to their character. I judge.
As for me, I will use the values I have and the remember that one day I may have to look in my children’s eyes and answer for my actions. That should be enough to make anyone remember that Character matters more than Eagle Medals or statues in the Hall of Fame.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
I got home from work to find an email in my ‘In Box’ from a local Scoutmaster that I had a conversation with at Round table. We were talking about our annual plans and I told him that our Troop would be Shot Gun Shooting in January at the local Gun Club and camping at a local Scout camp.
He asked in his email if I thought it a good idea to continue with our plan to go shooting in light of the recent events here in Oregon and in Connecticut. He thinks that maybe we should not encourage our Scouts to shoot guns.
Well, I am going to be totally honest with you and tell you all.. and this Scoutmaster, that I disagree. I think this is the time that we need to be teaching gun safety and responsibility. The more I thought about how I should respond, the more I thought about just how important it is for proper instruction and example of how we should handle fire arms.
The Guide to Safe Scouting does a real good job of making it clear that the Boy Scouts of America does not condone the shooting of anything living. Through its shooting sports activities and the G2SS the Boy Scouts teach responsible fire arm safety and responsibility. The Guide clearly prohibits any activity that encourages engaging targets other than paper. This is the reason we can not have Air soft or Paint ball outings. Those two activities, while I see no direct harm in them when played in an organized field with rules and the proper equipment, are against the BSA rules so Scouts do not get used to engaging human targets.
Not that Paint ball wars are the gateway to a person going on a shooting spree… but I can see why we should maintain this as a good rule. Especially in light of the conversations currently in the media regarding “First person Shooter video games” etc.
But so far as Scouts doing the Shooting sports and earning the shooting sports merit badges. They need to have that program available to them.
They teach the Scout to have a healthy respect for fire arms. They build confidence in the Scout as he develops skills, and the Scout can seek further achievement in the JR Olympic Shooting programs offered.
Shooting sports are fun and should be kept fun by keeping the competition healthy and the bullets on paper targets.
To the matter of “Too Soon”.
No. It’s not to soon. It’s the right time to teach. It’s the right time to reinforce the ideas of responsibility and demonstrate that the gun can not do harm unless the person behind it wants to do harm. It is time to reinforce the Scout Oath and Law and always doing what is right. It is time to allow these Scouts to decide for themselves how they want to act and react around fire arms.
I am not going to get into a 2nd Amendment argument here, but we do have the right in America to keep and bear arms. It is time to teach our Scouts what that means.
It is time to teach our Scouts that we do not allow crime and criminals to dictate how honest, law abiding citizens should live. On the contrary, it is time to teach them that good citizens get to set the standard and rules to live by.
Just because people choose to drink and drive does not mean that we out law cars and alcohol. We have rules, laws, and social norms in this country and while the recent events are tragic, they do not, and should not dictate how the rest of us live. Oh and I refuse to live in fear too… so this is what we teach our Scouts in the Shooting sports activities.
In January when we go shooting as a Troop, these life lessons among the lessons of proper fire arm use is how we will do it. We will not postpone it, we will not shy away from it, we will teach, coach, train and mentor our Scouts to always do the right thing. We will play this game with a purpose and we will do it the right way.
I have been around fire arms my entire life. I own 4 rifles and a pistol. I do not see the need for a 30 round magazine or what the media calls Assault rifles. I am friends with many hunters although I have never hunted a day in my life. I don’t know anyone that hunts with an AK47. But I understand that people like to fire high powered, rapid firing guns. I understand the sport, the collecting, and the right to own these fire arms. Is there a ‘need’? Maybe not, but we are allowed to have them and I do not, even given the recent tragic events, want to see that right taken from me and my fellow Americans.
I am not a “slippery slope” guy. I don’t think one right taken will lead to more… but the real question for me is why not just enforce the laws we have? Why can’t our screening process be revamped to make sure that these fire arms end up in the right hands. Why can’t there be an education piece added to the rules of ownership?
These are the questions no one seems to be asking. They just want the guns to go away. Well they aren’t and they never will.
So we teach our Scouts to be responsible with them and we teach them to respect the fire arm and their fellow man. We teach them to do the right thing and at least we will have done our part to prevent these tragic events in the future.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Monday night at our Troop meeting I gave the Scoutmaster minute as always. This weeks topic focused on not being selfish.
It is so easy to be a selfish person in our world today. We tend to focus on what’s in it for me and what ever is good for me is the direction we head. The selfish attitude that prevails in the world today is the cause of much heart ache, crime, and unrest.
Monday I talked about the Scout Oath and the fact that it is a promise made not to be selfish. When you pledge your honor you are saying that I will not be a selfish person.
I will do my duty to my God and My Country. Not that I expect anything in return. It is simply my duty and I will do it. I promise to help other people at all times. Help. This one is all about other people.. nothing to do with me. And when I help I don’t need any praise, payment, or award. I just want to be helpful. And then there are the three promises that wrap up the Oath. To keep myself Physically strong, so I can be of help to other people and set an example of good living and health. To keep myself Mentally awake, so I can serve others and be aware of what is around me. So I can learn and grow so that I can assist those that need help learning. So I can be a leader in my world. And to keep myself Morally straight. Values that I learn and share are the cornerstone of my life and the more I demonstrate that I want to live right and do the right thing makes me a good member of my community. And as a good member of the community I help others and make my community a better place to live.
The Scout Oath is about other people and how I am going to be a person that is productive, helpful, compassionate, caring, and a member of my community that makes the world a better place.
Yesterday we had a tragic event happen in our community.
WARNING. I AM GOING TO OFFEND HERE AND I DON’T CARE!
Yesterday a person.. who cares what his name is, he died a disgusting individual, entered a mall and began shooting. He killed two people and like the coward that he is shot himself. That is the best part of the story.. that he shot himself. He saved the tax payers of this state lots of money and time that we would have to hear how he was “a troubled young man”, that “he played video games and they made him do it”, that “if he did not have access to guns, he would not have done this”, that “it’s not fair to hold him accountable for his actions, the crazy world made him do it.”
Yeah… that sounds harsh, but already we are hearing on the news that “No one saw this coming” and that “he was a good boy”. Bull.
You don’t wake up one morning and put on camouflage clothing, body armor, and go into a mall loaded to take over Baghdad and start shooting on a whim. I don’t care what this bums name is, I don’t want to know and I don’t think that the media should ever say it. He should be a nameless individual that did a horrific thing. He should not be made a victim and he should not be memorialized like Lee Harvey Oswald. He did nothing heroic and he did nothing that should warrant a place in history. A two-bit criminal that took two lives.
I got in a discussion today with a person that was so concerned about him and what troubled him enough to do this. I simplified the discussion by saying that he did not have a firm foundation of values. Had he, he could not have done such a terrible thing. Being mentally awake and morally straight, he would have got as far as the body armor and said… nah.. this aint right. He would have looked in the mirror and decided to do something good yesterday instead of killing two people. “What about drugs and that kind of thing?” Physically strong, mentally awake, morally straight. Living those promises won’t allow for you to go down that road.
I am ridiculous I suppose I live in a dream world thinking that it is that simple. Well guess what folks. It really is that simple.
I have said it before and I will say it again. There is no substitute for values and there is no reason not have them. Just because you are poor, a minority, or not in the best of circumstances does not give you a free pass on being a person without values.
Enter the parents. I can go on and on about this… but that is always the first question I ask. Where are they, who are they, and why did they not teach this kid the difference between right and wrong.
I have always told my kids to “Say it out loud”. If it does not sound right, then it isn’t.
Try it. Say this: “I am going to drive my car into that 7-11.” Does it sound right? NO. Then don’t do it.
“I am going to walk into the mall dressed in camo and start shooting”. Just does not sound right does it. So who taught this monster the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
When our Scouts come to me for Scoutmaster conferences we talk about the Scout Oath and Law. I demand that they live them every day and I do not settle for easy answers. I force the conversation and make them respond. Is this above and beyond the requirement? NO. I sign the book before we start talking. Scouting is not about Eagle Scouts, Merit Badges, and camp outs. It is about teaching young people to make ethical and moral decisions throughout their life times. It is about a Promise that they make to not be selfish.
We have enough stupid people in the world. We have enough selfish people in the world. We have enough sick people in the world. Our answer is something we Scout leaders can effect change in. The Oath and Law.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Today was our annual Scouting for Food Campaign. The Scouts of the Cascade Pacific Council canvassed neighborhoods and collected the much need food that will stock the shelves for distribution in our area. There is a great need and the Scouts today did their part to meet that need.
Today, the Scouts of the Cascade Pacific Council sent a Message of Peace.
Here is a short video of Troop 664 in the Thunderbird District, my Troop, and how they made an impact on our community today.
Special Thanks to Bryce, Ben, and Parker for helping in the presentation of this video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
You know, some times things happen and then you look back at it and have an “Ah Ha” moment.
In my last post I put in a Rockwell print to illustrate “Scouting”… Today as I looked at it again, I thought.. Now that is the ultimate Boy Scout Recruiting poster.
Look at the Cub Scout in the print.. you know what he wants out of Scouting… Look close you will see it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!