Good Turn Daily

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

Messengers of Peace

Timely.
As some of you may know, but now you all will… My oldest son, John, the Eagle Scout made a huge decision recently to put college on hold and follow in his Dad’s footsteps and join the Army.  Not just join the Army, but do exactly what I did in the Army.  Airborne Ranger.
While I am proud of him and excited for the adventures that await him, and know that there will be many.  My heart, like that of any father wants him to be safe.  I have served my time in combat and know what it is like.  And as much as I loved my time in the Army and know that he will do well, I don’t want him to get hurt.
Having said that, it causes me to reflect on Baden Powell’s intent for Scouting.  A World organization for peace.  It is with that thought that this morning I stumbled on the BSA’s “Messenger for Peace” Site and thought to myself.. if only this works.  My son (and your son’s and daughters) would not have to go to war.
I am on board with this.  Check it out and see what you can do to be a messenger of peace.
From the BSA Website:

Fellow Scouters,
In 1920, just two years after the most terrible war the world had ever known, 8,000 Scouts from 34 countries came together for the first world jamboree. At the closing ceremony, Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell called on participants to carry the spirit of the jamboree home “so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and goodwill among all Scouts.”

The Scouts of the world have been answering that call for more than 90 years.Today, Scouts in dozens of countries are working for peace by solving conflicts in their schools, building links between divided communities, teaching their peers about health and wellness, and repairing environmental damage. To recognize their efforts—and to inspire more young men and women to help Scouting create a better world—the World Scout Committee has launched the Messengers of Peace initiative. The Boy Scouts of America is proud to join this effort in 2012.

How can BSA units participate? All they have to do is go online and register the MOP-related community service projects (including Eagle Scout projects) they undertake. Doing so adds pins to a global Messengers of Peace map, which Scouts from around the world can click on to learn how their fellow Scouts are making a difference.

Scouts who complete MOP projects will be eligible for a special recognition: a ring patch that goes around the World Crest. That patch will symbolize their participation in an ever-widening circle of Scouts who are not just visualizing world peace but are helping to make it a reality.

The Scouts of the world have always been a powerful force for good. This initiative lets us celebrate what our Scouts have already accomplished and inspire them to accomplish even more. Please join us as we work together to create a better world.

There is a cool recognition for this program also.  You can read more about it on the Byan on Scouting Blog.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Scouting, Service | 1 Comment

Prepared. For Life

As everyone that reads this blog knows, the BSA’s new(er) slogan is as the title reads… “Prepared.  For Life”.   I have often stayed away from advertising gimmicks and jingles.. “An Army of One”, and “Be all that you can Be” come to mind.  But this one hit home as I thought about how Scouting does impact our lives.  Yesterday was my first day back from vacation and so I spent a little time catching up on emails, reading my favorite blogs, and cleaning camping gear.  My good buddy Adam posted a piece about his vacation last week.  It is a great article and illustrated just how Scouting is Preparing us for life.
I was and I suppose still am reluctant to tell this story in light of Adams blog post, but once again I find myself in need of sharing this wonderful thing called Scouting.
Last week we spent at Glacier National Park.  If you have never been.. GO!  It is truly an amazing place.  So as you can imagine when I go camping I go prepared.  We are ready to sustain for a week in comfort and have a good time out in the woods.  This time was no exception.  Since it was family time, I went a lot heavier than I am used to, the big cabin tent, the big stove, the coolers etc.  But I still had my day pack which had my 10 essentials in it and since we were in Glacier NP, a canister of Bear spray.
One afternoon as we sat in camp, a scream came from the road in front of our camp site.  The boys were throwing a football around and one fell.  HE ran straight into our site crying.  Why our site and not to his parents.. I don’t know.  Maybe instinct told him that I had just completed the Wilderness First Aid course, or that I was a Scoutmaster, or he had no idea where he was.. either way.. here he ran into our site bleeding from the hand.
I had him sit down and told him to look me in the eyes.  Josh, my youngest son, had already got to my day pack and retrieved the first aid kit.  I told this youngster to relax and that he was going to be fine.  His alligator tears started to dry and I just kept talking to him.  Found out that in three days he would be turning 9 years old and that he was from Canada.
All the while I gloved up and started treating his cut.  He had fallen on his hand and took a good layer or two of skin off his palm.  Cleaning the area and bandaging with non stick pads I was done with the bleeding part.  Then I started looking for possible fracture.  He asked why I was poking and pressing on his wrist and hand.. I told him I wanted to make sure he was ok.  He was.  Right about that time, his dad came into our camp.  He said he had heard the scream and started heading in this direction.  I told what I had done and that I think everything is going to be ok, keep it clean and if he needed I would change the dressing the next day.
He saw the Scouting stickers on the back of my truck and made a comment about them stating that his son had run to the right place.  “Who else would be ready to anything”, he said referring to the stickers.
So all of this got me to thinking about just how we Prepare our Scouts for life.
It’s not just first aid and camping skills, but as the mission statement states, Making ethical choice throughout their lives.
I often talk in this blog about character and making choices.  Being fit and healthy, being of service to others, and of course skills that will help them get through life.
Scouting is a great platform for this learning, discovery, and practice of the life skills that these young men will need as they go through it.  Being Prepared for as Baden Powell said.. Anything.
So it’s not just about camping and fun.  It truly is a game with a purpose and all of us should remember what that purpose it.  This new(er) slogan.. Prepared.  For Life.  Is the Boy Scouts of America mission statement in three words.  It is our call to action as Scouters.  It is what we are here for.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Service, Skills, stories, training | Leave a comment

Over the Edge

Ok, so before everyone gets completely tired of hearing about the Over the Edge fund Raiser.. let me do one or two more posts on it and then we will call it good.
Yesterday I went over the edge for Scouting.  So far the Council has about 125,000 in donations for this single event, that’s an unofficial number.. I am just doing the math that 50 of us went over the edge, and to do that you had to raise at least $2500.  That’s a pretty good chunk of change for a quick fund-raising effort.  The nice part, in my opinion, is that we did it without a ton of hype and with the effort of just a few.
That said… it was a good fund-raiser and I am happy that there is a cool incentive for raising the money.
When I ‘landed’ I was interviewed by some one with a camera looking very official.  He asked some questions about the event and what I felt about it.  I thought I might share some thoughts.
First.  As stated above, I think it was cool that relatively a few people raised this much money for our council.  50 people.  There were more people who participated in the fund-raiser, many Scouters made an attempt at getting to the edge, a lot came up short, but every penny counts.  Now just imagine if more people would have made the commitment to go over the edge.. We could have made a lot more for Scouting programs.  Just a thought.  I am taking a “that’s cool” approach to the few because I value their dedication to the effort.  I talked with one Edger.. he never thought that he would get to the Edge.  It was never his intent to go over the edge, he just wanted to raise some money for the council and call it good.  One thing led to another and here he was… getting in the harness to go over the edge.  So when I say 50, I am focusing only on the folks that went over the edge.
Now, for those folks to raise that kind of money a lot of people had to step up.  Each of those 50 people asked for donations.  That amounted to a large amount of participation from within the Scouting community as well as true friends of Scouts and Scouters.
I did a lot of “asking” via Twitter and got a great response.  Georgia, Maine, Canada, England, to name a few areas that responded, and from around my Council too.  Parents from my Jamboree Troop, Wood Badge Friends, Parents from my Troop all stepped up.  Leatherman’s headquarters is here in Portland and as luck would have it a Scout in my Troop has a Dad that works for Leatherman up in the big office.  Conversations leading to the Edge caught the attention of Jake Nichol the President and CEO of Leatherman.  He took interest in this effort and made a major contribution to my fund-raising goal.
Second.  Friends.  Yesterday was like many days at Scouting events.  Filled with laughter and friends.  Adam Cox and I were scheduled for 10:00 Am to go over the edge together.  But from the time I checked in to the time we drove away… it was friends all over the place.  I suppose that is the way it is everywhere in Scouting.  I saw so many Scouters that I had the pleasure of working with at Jamboree, Wood Badge, Order of the Arrow functions, Training classes and other Scouting Events.  The more active you are, the bigger your circle of friends is in Scouting.  I could not turn in any direction without seeing a friend.  And that made the whole event special.
Our Scout Executive went over the Edge right before Adam and I.  It was fun to joke around with him and encourage him all the way down.  He is an enthusiastic leader and sets a great example for not only his staff but Scouters in the Council also.
I was talking with my wife last night about how great it is to have so many great Scouting friends.  They are good people who really dedicate time and energy to Scouting.  And at the end of the day, when you look at the profile created by this great group of people.. it is all about serving others.  They all could have spent yesterday making money for themselves, or enjoying the time with their families or doing something other than being a part of this event.  But time and time again, we see the same folks, these same dedicated people giving of themselves to make Scouting better in our community, to make our council just that much stronger, to be among friends.
And finally, the event itself.  The fact that on Friday in June the Boy Scouts of America would be rappelling down the second tallest building in Portland.  Right in the heart of city.  The fact that all day long, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Scouters took turns going over the edge of the roof of the USBancorp Tower in view of the whole city.  That was cool.  It is no secret that the city of Portland does not maintain traditional values that are consistent with the Scout Oath and Law.  Why that is?  I don’t know.  It’s just the way it is.  But we have a very large Scouting community here.  There have now been two major events in the heart of Portland that I would never have thought I would see.  Hundreds of Scouts and Scouters marching in the Rose festival parade and this Over the Edge event.  I am glad that I have been able to not only see these events, but participate in them.  Maybe the more we put it out there.. the more the city will embrace Scouting and soon will take to our values.  That last one, I will wait for, it’s not going to happen any time soon.
But none of that will dampen the scouting spirit of those of us that love Scouting and are willing to put our bodies over the edge.
The Over the Edge event was very well-organized.  From the time we walked into the “Ready Room” the professionalism and enthusiasm was there.  The Council staff and the OTE staff were friendly and dedicated to making this the safest, funnest event ever.  And they did.  From the fitting of the harness and explanation of the process to the training on the roof and ultimately the hook up and decent from the top, the staff did a fantastic job.  At no time did I feel in danger, frightened, or uncomfortable about what I was doing.
It was great to go down the building with my friend Adam.  He had a bit of a challenge right at the edge, but it was great to see him conquer his fear and take the next step and go over.  We were talking on the roof that we were either Stupid or motivated.. or a bit of both.  But you know this is what it is.. we love Scouting!
Final thought.

If the Over the Edge comes to your council.  DO IT!.   We will be doing it again next year.  It’s a great way to raise some money for your council and a fun way to do it!  Sure beats selling popcorn.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Climbing, Good Turn Daily, High Adventure, Just fun, Leadership | Leave a comment

Selfless Service

Selfless Service has been a main stay of the Scouting movement.  It is the desire to serve others.  It is the motivation to “So unto others…”  It is essentially the Scouting way.
The value of Selfless service is important more than ever in our society.  Today the world revolves around “Me”.  Everything for “Me”.  Self gratification, the need to be served, the entitlement that most people feel they deserve.  Last week as I helped teach at the High School I saw this in many of the students.  “What is the world going to do for me when I walk out of High School?”  Instead of looking forward and seeing the opportunities to serve.
Service need not be in the military, it does not have to come in the form of social work or police and fire.  Service comes from within each and every one of us to do good.
Volunteerism is a big thing right now in our country.  Most major corporations have some sort of “Volunteer” opportunities to get out into the community and do good.  UPS, the company I work for has a program called ‘Neighbor to Neighbor’.  It is a program that goes out and does work on people’s houses, yards, and cleans up neighborhoods that are in dire need of a good scrubbing.  UPS also asks that employees that do volunteer work on their own log those volunteer hours with the company.  It probably gets the company an award or something at the end of the year, but the point is that the push is there to get out and do good.  We see it on TV all the time, campaigns that call us to “Give an hour” or “Live United”.
In Scouting we just make a promise to “Help other people at all times”  That’s all.
Yesterday as we placed all those flags I could not help but think of the great opportunity and habit that we are forming in our Scouts.  Habits of service.  To be selfless in the act of serving.  The meaning rings true when placing a flag on the grave of a soldier.  Not to get to overly dramatic, but that is the ultimate call to selflessly serve.  The knowledge that one day you could pay in full for some one else.
At the top of the hill at Willamette National Cemetery is 4 head stones, much like the rest, but these are inlaid in gold and have a special marker above the name.  These are the 4 individuals that understood selfless service above and beyond that of the average soldier.  They may have just been in the wrong or right place at the wrong or right time, but either way, these for men were awarded the Medal of Honor.  The act which earned them the highest award in our Nation comes down to this.  They were in a situation that when faced with a choice, they chose to serve their buddy.  It always comes down to this.  Citation after citation for the Medal of Honor, it always reads the same.  They stood out above and at the end of the day it was to help one of their own get out of a sticky situation, rescue their comrade, hold of the enemy till help could arrive, move fallen soldiers in the midst of hostile action.  SELFLESS SERVICE.
Now I am sure that not one of the recipients of the Medal of Honor would tell you he wants it or tried to earn it.  They will all tell you that they were just doing their job… they were just serving their buddy or doing their duty.  And I am not suggesting that we strive to earn the Medal of Honor.
Building in our young people a love for service is what I am suggesting.  The need to be of service is a great one and we need to instill in our young people a willingness to go above and beyond what the TV asks and corporations suggest as levels of service.  To truly serve our neighbor, our community, our country.
Selfless Service is a must in our world today.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Memorial Day, Oath and Law, Service, Values | Leave a comment

Flags

On a rainy Thursday evening the Thunderbird District of the Cascade Pacific Council converged on Willamette National Cemetery.  If they didn’t come the 140,000 grave markers would go without a flag this Memorial Day.  For 44 years the Thunderbird District has placed flags on the graves at Willamette.  Over those 44 years the Scouts of the District have seen the number of flags increase.  In 1968 when the District started placing the flags our Nation was burying young men killed in action in Vietnam.  They were serving our community by honoring World War I veterans that were being interned at this hallowed ground.   Then the Cold War saw routine burials of World War II Veterans followed by Korean War Veterans. 
Today the grounds have swelled and expanded from 201 acres to 301 acres.  A new section is filling with Veterans from the Vietnam era and new grave markers host men and women from Iraq and Afghanistan.  I hope we will not have to expand the cemetery further.
This evening in a steady rain my Troop placed flags in section F.  That is our section, the area we place flags in every year.  Each year, as the Troop grows, we cover the area a little faster, but not without reverence and a sense of thankfulness for the reason these men and women are buried at Willamette National Cemetery.  They all served and so we in turn will continue to serve.
As a Veteran and Scoutmaster, I am so very proud of the Scouts of not only my Troop, but the Packs, Troops, and Crews from our District.   The dedication of these Scouts and Scouters to place these flags is special to me and to the families that will be paying their respects, the visitors to loved ones, the children of a Veteran, and the passer-by that stops into Willamette to see what this is all about.
Tonight our Scouts practiced a very important part of being a citizen.  Love for our Country and our fellow Countrymen.
Watching the Scouts tonight renewed my belief in our young people.  Thank you Scouts!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Memorial Day, Patriotism, Values | Leave a comment

Methods- Personal Growth

Now don’t let the word personal get you.  Yes we want each and every Scout to grow, but we want them to find this growth within the context of Scouting’s values (found in the Oath and Law).  Personal growth is a tricky method in that it will sneak up on you as the Scout develops.  Each Scout will grow at his own pace and so we use tools and watch and guide his growth.  First and foremost, his family.  Stay in touch with his family, develop friendship and a relationship with the family.  They should be able to seek your input and you should be able to offer your suggestions also.  You see the Scout outside of the family context on camp outs and other events.  When you see a behavior change, talk with the young man or ask the family if they are seeing something different.  This is the tricky part.  If you are not comfortable getting into their lives, well then, you can’t assist with this.
I recently got a call from one of my Scouts Dad’s.  He was concerned about a change in behavior and wanted to know if I saw it.  We ended up talking for about an hour about different parts of this young man’s life.  It was a great opportunity for me to share some of the things that I see and he was even open to hearing what I thought on the matter.
The second tool we use is the Scoutmaster conference.  I have said this before, but it is always worth saying again… the Scoutmaster conference is not all about rank advancement.  You, Mister Scoutmaster are a mentor, a role model, a friend, use the Scoutmaster conference to get to know these young men and what makes them tick.  You can assist in the personal growth of each and every Scout by talking and listening.  When they know you care and want to listen, they will talk to you.  Sometimes, you are a better set of ears than their parents or teachers.  You are the guy that goes camping with them, plays games, and teaches them skills.  They trust you.  Don’t take advantage of this, but keep in mind that if you want these young men to grow into good men, you need to take an interest in their lives [outside of Scouting also].
And finally, the last tool set we will discuss are the various programs in Scouting.  The religious emblems program, doing a good turn, and being helpful at all times.  These programs/values will shape the young man and develop good habits in him that will last.  You will see growth in the character of the Scout as he serves others and learns about his spiritual world.  But there probably is no device so successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Methods, Scoutmaster conference, Values | 1 Comment

Methods

Over the last couple of weeks Scouter friends and I have had numerous discussions about Scouting in our District.  After the last Scoutmaster training session it became pretty clear that many Scouters have heard about the methods of Scouting, but do not really put them into practice in their units.  Kind of like knowing that the BSA has a mission statement, but really it only applies at the National Level.. ahhh right?  Ahhhh.. No.
We got to talking last weekend about the methods of Scouting and how we should be using them in our units.  During the outdoor skills portion of the Scoutmaster training, it was unclear to many participants that the methods needed to be used to have a well-rounded program.. for that matter.. a Boy Scout Troop.
So I thought I would discuss the methods of Scouting over the next, lets see, 8 blog posts.
To quickly remind every one of what the methods are, they are:  Ideals, Patrols, Outdoor Program, Advancement, Association with Adults, Personal Growth, Leadership Development, and the Uniform.
Those eight methods are the steps that we take to reach our goals of Citizenship, Character, and Fitness.  The Boy Scout program (or the achievement of the goals) are dependant on all eight methods working at the unit level.
To start off the discussion we will dive into the IDEALS of Scouting. The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and, as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes.  These ideals are the foundation for everything that follows in the Boy Scout program.  Without the ideals, it is just a club that goes camping.  The building blocks for the Scouts character is directly tied to the ideals found in the Oath and Law.  It is extremely important that every Scout learns the Oath and Law and practices these ideals daily.  As a Scout advances it is a good idea for the Scout to do a self check on where he is in his character development.  This is tough at times and some Scouts will understand or mature at a faster rate than his peers.  That is why the self check is important.  The Scout is not measuring himself against his peers, he is measuring himself against the Oath and Law which are lofty, but simple concepts that grow with the Scout as he negotiates his life.  The basic understanding that he must be a person that strives to achieve those ideas outlined in the Oath and Law is important and should not be taken lightly by the Scoutmaster.  It is ok to call out a Scout that is not demonstrating those values.
The other part of the ideals of the Boy Scouts of America are that they are not only an individual responsibility, but they are ideals, values, that are shared among the group.  We all know and believe that the values expressed in the Oath and Law are good and true.  We can all agree that every Scout, no matter what his background, education level, learning capability, or social status, can live up to the Oath and Law.  It is hard, but it is attainable.  Expecting that from every Scout and Scouter is reasonable.
These shared ideals are the foundation for the rest of the program.  If they are modified or removed, there is no reason to continue.  Character development hinges on the values found in the Oath and Law.
Dictionary.com defines Character as:
(noun)
1.  the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
2.  one such feature or trait; characteristic.
3.  moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
4.  qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
5.  reputation: a stain on one’s character.
The Boy Scouts of America in setting one of its goals to develop men of Character considers this in its values.  Time tested, tried, and unwavering values that shape a mans character.
The qualities of being someone who can be trusted, a man who is loyal to his family, friends, School, work etc.  A young man who is helpful and works with a smile on his face, friendly, courteous and kind.  Someone that is obedient to our laws, parents, employers and faith.  A man with a cheerful spirit not someone who belly aches and brings down the morale of the team.  A man who is thrifty with his money, time, and resources.  This is the man who will develop a sound attitude of stewardship.  Brave is not just for standing up for himself, it is standing up for other people, ideals, values, and that which the Scout believes in.  Being Brave is important in the world we live in where our values are tested daily.  And then the part of a man’s character that keeps him clean and reverent.  These are matters of the mind, heart and body.  The Scout should stay clean of mind and body.  Spiritual health is important to for a well-rounded man of character.  These values, when put in to practice demonstrate the attitudes of character.  They are if you will.. the characteristics of character.  I think we all can agree here that without them Scouting is not Scouting.
The method of our Ideals is the foundation of Scouting and the launching point for all of the rest of the methods.  Everything ultimately comes back to the Oath and Law and as a Scoutmaster we need to continuously teach these values, not only with our words, but our actions.
St. Francis of Assisi said; “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”  We should do the same with the Oath and Law.
Let me know what you think.  Leave a comment or thought.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Scoutmaster minute, training, Values | 1 Comment

“Do unto others…”

Bare with me as I rant on humanity.
I have been around the world and seen a lot of things… some good, some bad.  Today I had a day which caused me to ask What the hell is wrong with people?
Excuse me if the language is strong or the message makes you feel uncomfortable.. but What the hell is wrong with people?
I am going to assume that if you take the time to read this blog, at some level you agree with the Scout Oath and Law.  You may not agree in total, but we can again assume that you believe that people should be helpful and that we have an obligation to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Right?
Ok.. so lets go from that point then.. we agree at least this much.
Today in the fair city of weirdness (I am glad to say I do not maintain an address within the city limits of Portland) I witnessed to acts that almost got me throwing punches.
First.
The city of Portland has a rather larger transient community.. call them hobo’s, bums, homeless, whatever, the fact is this population has made Portland home.  I am not opposed to this.  Portland has many outreach organizations, shelters, and government sponsored (paid) opportunities for these people.  This has in one way or another made Portland a desirable place to be homeless.  Before I go any further.. please know that this post is not in any way shape or form bashing those that find themselves in these dire straights.  There are many reasons for one to find themselves on the streets and I have the utmost compassion for those in real need.
The story here is how one of Portland’s finer citizens treated one of these folks out on the street. 
I was at an intersection waiting for the light to change.  It was a rather long light, so I found myself watching as a BMW pulled up next to me.  A pan handler approached the BMW with his sign asking for “Anything helps” .. you know the typical verbage on your average Portland pan handlers sign.  The man holding the sign looked like a fellow just down on his luck.  He was clean and dressed in modest clothing.  With him was two kids, I would guess 10 and 14 years old.  They looked embarrassed to be standing on the corner begging.
Then I heard yelling coming from the BMW.  The pan handler said “Thanks anyway” and turned around.  This is where I lost it.  The driver of the BMW then asked, in a loud voice, if the guy wanted a drink.  The man turned around just in time to take a large drink thrown at him.  It soaked him from about the belly to his knees.  The look of shock on the kids faces brought my blood to an immediate boil.  I threw my UPS truck into park and jumped out of the driver’s seat.  I ran up to the driver of the BMW and asked “What the hell is the matter with you?”  He looked at me with a surprised look and then the light turned green and he sped away.
The pan handler had moved back to the curb and told his kids that it was time to go.  I jumped back in my truck and pulled over to clear the intersection.  I had a couple of oranges and a banana in my truck, so I gave it to them.  I told the guy I wished I could do more.  He said “I understand”.  Looking at those kids my heart drop.  I have three at home and would never want to be in that position.
Now to be honest, I probably won’t be down at the shelter tomorrow handing out blankets or serving meals, but I would never treat someone like that guy got treated today.  I know that there are lots of “Street People” that have made that their choice.  Drugs, addictions to alcohol, run aways, many have made the choice to live off of the generosity of the people who pay taxes, give freely of time, talent, and money.  But then there are those, like this guy and his kids that just got a hard knock.  
Second.
I had to fill my truck up tonight on the way home.  Yep, $100 later I thought I may be standing on the corner with a sign, the penalty for driving a F150 I guess, but it holds 21 backpacks and so I will keep on driving it.  I’d rather pay the $100 then let the Prius lobby win!  Anyway, I pulled into the gas station and braced for impact.  As I sat there chatting with the attendant (yeah in Oregon we can’t pump our own gas) A lady pulled up, rolled down her window and started yelling at the attendant.  I thought for a minute, what the heck is she yelling about?  The attendant said he would be right over and started walking toward her car.  Well by now you could hear a pin drop and all attention was on this loud mouth lady.  She said she needed her car filled up and she was not about to pay $3.90 a gallon.  The attendant politely told her that with her Safeway card she would save 3 cents a gallon.  “3 cents!” the lady yelled.. “What the *&$# I am going to do with 3 cents?”  This is where I finally had to ask, “What the hell is wrong with people?”.
After the 3 cents tirade she began a barrage of profanity and berating this young man the likes I have not seen since basic training in the early ’80′s.  The attendant stood silent and took the verbal beating.  Finally, I had enough.  I got out of my car and asked if there was something that I could do to help.  She snapped her head in my direction and told me to mind my own “F’” ing business.  I informed her that she pretty much had made this everyone’s business with her loud attitude.  I asked her to take it easy on this kid.. he’s just pumping gas, doing his job, he doesn’t set the price of gas.  She then warned me to mind my business.  I told the attendant to get his manager and that may he could work something out with this lady.  She told him that he needed to start pumping gas and let loose with a bomb shell of profane words.  As the manager arrived, I turned to her and asked “What the hell is wrong with you”.  The best part of the story is that as she got in her car and drove away.. the back of her car was filled with bumper stickers proclaiming her faith.  “God is my copilot” and “WWJD?”  I am sure he would not have acted like her.
I got home tonight and thought about this incredible day of humanity.  I thought.. naw.. this is just a freak thing… but then I thought, if I saw two of these acts today.. me.. all by myself, how many more are happening everyday all over?
It makes me upset.
What the hell is wrong with people?  At the outset, I assumed that if you read my blog, then you believe in at least parts of the Scout Oath and Law.
“To help other people at all times”, “To do my DUTY to God and my Country”, to be “Helpful, Courteous, and Kind.”  And at the end of the day something that every major religion on Earth preaches.. “To do unto others as you would have done to you”.
Simple.  So what the hell is wrong with people?
I really mean it when I say…
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 5 Comments

The Importance of Service

My twins are 18 and are getting close to graduating from High School.  The other night they brought home a form for documenting Community service.  In our State there is a requirement to perform 8 hours of community service.  I agree with this requirement, I think it, at a minimum forces today’s youth to at least understand the need for volunteerism and service.
So why am I blogging about this?  Well, this was real easy for us as we document all the service our Scouts do.  I mean, heck.. just to get to the rank of Life Scout the Scout will have completed at least 12 hours of service to his community.  Now add in all the rest of the service he will do in the course of a year and the graduation requirements are met with ease.
In the last two years I have had to go back into our troop documents and produce service records for graduating Seniors.  This becomes a real important part of the graduates record for the School.  I have talked with our High School about this requirement, one of the counselors said that they appreciate those Seniors that were or are Boy Scouts.  It sure helps them out in understanding the need for service.
Our family participates in the Relay for Life each year, and our High School is a host for the relay annually.   Our youngest son (Life Scout) is on the committee for the School Relay program.  The spirit of service has been grown in them from a very early age and I am happy that they now, without Dad or Mom pushing, asking, or even encouraging, they find ways to be of service.  Now if we could get them to clean their rooms…
Service is an important part of Scouting going all the way back to its beginnings.  The Lone Scout in the story of William D. Boyce lost in the London Fog, Food drives, Scrap metal drives during WW II, Goodwill/Good Turn, not to mention all the countless hours that Troops spend on local projects that benefit their communities, Charter Partners, and Wilderness areas.
Service has always been one of the Hallmarks of Scouting.  Even providing service within the Troop in leadership positions plays a major role in developing the spirit of service in our Scouts.  It is in this spirit that our young men start the habit of being in service to others.  I think that when they understand the importance of this, it will last them a life time.
Every year Scouts all over conduct Scouting for Food drives.  This is a great way to get in the community and do a great service to those that truly in need, but we can take that a step further.  Our Troop does the food drive, then helps sort, box, and store the food in our local food bank.  As this happens they all see the direct impact of their work on the drive.  As the food drive is always on a Saturday, the Scouts get the opportunity to see those in need arrive to collect the much needed food.  It is a sad that there is a need, but the fact of the matter is that there is.  We do not parade the Scouts around to get an eye full, but the behind the scenes glimpse that they do get is enough to instill in them the want to do more.
So I think it is a great thing that our Schools require service to the community as part of their graduation.  I think it a even greater that the Boy Scouts maintain service as one of its core values.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Service, Values | Leave a comment

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