Citizenship

Sunday Coffee 2-10

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!

Categories: #52to16, Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, Character, Citizenship, gear, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Just fun | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Modeling Expected Behavior

expectmoreI often preach about how I expect more out of our young men, that nothing in life will be easy, and that there are no participation ribbons just for showing up in life.  When it comes to leadership, the Scouts in our Troop hear it over and over again that we all need to “Model Expected Behavior” and they all  should at least have an understanding of what that means. For the Scouts of our Troop that means that good is not good enough.  It means that we do things right, we learn from mistakes, and we hold one another to a higher standard.
So what does that mean?  Is is arrogant of us to act that way?  Well, to the outsider looking in, yep.. but for us we look at it this way.  The world around us is happy with mediocre leadership, results, and standards of living.  I’m not ok with that when it comes to our Scouts.
We are not a merit badge mill nor are we an Eagle factory.  We do not measure success in the amount of Scouts that earned awards or rank each year.  We measure success in the way our Scouts act.  We see direct results in watching older Scouts teach younger Scouts and hold each other accountable.  We measure our success in growth and sustained attendance.  Is our Troop for everyone.. nah.. but no troop is.  Even though we all work toward the Aims of Scouting, our programs are different in their delivery.  I could not be in a Troop that had more adult involvement than Scouts.  I could not be a unit that did merit badge classes each week.  I could not be in a Troop that produces Eagle Scouts that can not do the basics.  I could not be apart of a Troop that did not seek adventure and test the limits.
This weekend, our Troop camped at a local Scout camp.  There were not a lot of miles walked and the weather was great.  It got real cold, and that tested some of the boys in the troop.  Some Scouts pushed their boundaries by shooting Shot guns for the first time, while other Scouts increased their knowledge and leadership skills at Junior Leader Training.  A few Scouts were taken out of their comfort zones as they taught the Junior Leader Training.  No matter what level of the Scout there was challenge enough for everyone.
Our Junior Leader Training follows the National program, but we tend to focus heavily on communication skills, team development, Conflict resolution, and expectations of leaders.
We start the session with a talk about Modeling Expected Behavior and then everything that follows in the course of training maintains that theme.  We expect our Scouts to be and act the best.  Good is never good enough.  The team deserves that attitude from everyone.  If they all act their best.. they become the best.  A high performance team.
Now you may ask.. aren’t you expecting too much from these young men.  Nope.  If I don’t who will?  We see too much “getting by” in our world and I will not be party to it.  Do we exclude young men when we expect more from them?  NO.. we expect more and they give more… like it or not.. That I don’t care about.  Life is going to expect a lot from them.  Why treat them with kiddy gloves now.
Does this mean we are hard ass’s?  Not at all.  We stay within the Scout Oath and Law.  Teaching in a friendly, fun, challenging atmosphere.  But when things are not right, a leader (adult or youth) simply corrects the issue and we move on.  Un tied shoes, un tucked shirts, gear looking like a yard sale, bad attitudes, improper set up or use of gear, not living the vlaues of the Scout Oath and Law.  These are things that other Scout leaders just allow.  Kids will be kids… yeah.. but bad habits last forever.  Good attitudes, skills, and behavior does to and gets them a lot farther in life.
So modeling expected behavior is a cultural thing.  We don’t march, we don’t yell.. yelling is for ineffective bad leaders.. we just teach, coach, train, and mentor.. oh and we model expected behavior.  Adults don’t get a free pass on bad behavior either.  We are expected to model what we expect.
The proof is in the pudding.  Our Troop grows annually.  We lose Scouts too, and that’s ok, maybe we are not the fit for them.  Maybe XBox and lower expectations is what they are looking for in life.  And that’s ok.. just not in our Troop.
This morning a Scout was standing under a shelter pouting.  His hands were cold, after all, it was 24 degrees outside.  His Patrol leader had just instructed him to get his gloves on.  The Scout could not find them.  So the Patrol leader and the Scout went to his pack and dumped it out.  There were the gloves.  I then saw the Scout standing there not assisting with his Patrol in breaking camp and wrapping up the clean up.  I called him over to where I was standing watching.  I asked him if he was ok.  Yeah.. he said, but I’m cold.  I suggested that if he would get moving he would warm up.  If he would help his Patrol mates out.. he would start to feel a bit warmer.  I asked him why he was pouting earlier and he told me that his hands were cold.  I asked him what he did about it… fully knowing what had happened.  He said that he found his gloves and put them on.  Then I had him recite the Scout Law to me.  And asked to him to reflect on the meaning of being Trustworthy.  We talked a bit about making choices and how he was either going to develop good habits and skills, or he would develop bad ones.  The choice was his, not mine, the Patrol leaders, or his parents.  He would have to make a choice which path he wanted to take.  He turned and walked back to his patrol and pitched in.  You see, if we let it go, it won’t change.  If we expect little, that is what we get.  So we chose to expect more.  And not surprisingly we get more.
When our Youth leaders set good examples and model the behavior that we want out of our Troop.. that is what we get.
There is nothing wrong with winning and losing.  We can learn from both.  There is everything wrong with not learning and not trying to learn, to push, and to find success.
I had a talk with a Scoutmaster about this a while ago.  He said that “I bet they all march around and it’s all yes sir this and no sir that..”  On the contrary.. In fact the Scouts in my Troop call me Jerry and we call them by their names.  There is no marching, yelling, or military like behavior.. just a lot of fun and development.  It is an environment that is comfortable, friendly, and leaves them wanting to come back.
At the end of each camp out we close with lessons learned, Start, Stop, and Continue.  Today the Senior Patrol leader led the discussion with whole troop.  As the next two camp outs will be up on the mountain, this camp out was a great opportunity to learn and get ready for the up coming outings.  He had each Scout share one thing that needs to improve in the next 3 weeks.  I listened as the Scouts really gave some thought to their answers.  It was in some of the more experienced Scouts answers that I realized that they got it.. they are modeling expected behavior.  They were critical of themselves and how they prepared for this camp out.  The next one will be that much more successful.
Expect more.. get more.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, Backpacking, blog, Camping, Citizenship, comments, Competition, gear, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Patrol Method, respect, Scouting, Scoutmaster conference, Scoutmaster minute, Service, Skills, teamwork, training, Winter Camping | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Character again…

HOFWe 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!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Methods, Oath and Law, respect, Values | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shooting Sports

shootingI 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!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, respect, Skills, Values, Youth Protection | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Selfish.

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.
Imagine that.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Oath and Law, Values | 6 Comments

8,000 lbs of Peace

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!

Categories: Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Oath and Law, Scouting, Service, Values | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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

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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

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