Before I get into today’s post I want to thank every one for their interest in the review of Scoutbook.com. Unfortunately I was only given three free subscriptions and they went to the first three emails I received. But the response was overwhelming. 50 of you emailed for a shot at the subscription.
So the folks at Scoutbook.com have given me another offer… if you subscribe for a year of Scoutbook and put in THESCOUTMASTERMINUTE in the coupon code at check out you will get 10% off your subscription.
Thank you to Scoutbook.com and thank all of you for supporting me and them.
Now on with the regular scheduled blog post…
Baden Powell understood young men, he had a connection with the way they learned, developed and reacted to teaching styles and learning environments. In the following excerpt from the Lessons from the Varsity life by Lord Baden Powell of Gilwell he discusses the Scout law.
“The Scout Law.
So the Scout Law was not framed as a list Of DON’T’S. Prohibition generally invites evasion since it challenges the- spirit inherent in every red-blooded boy (or man).: The boy is not governed by DON’T, but is led on by DO. The Scout Law, therefore, was devised as a guide to his actions rather than as repressive of his faults. It merely states what is good form and expected of a Scout.
1. A SCOUT’S HONOUR IS TO BE TRUSTED.
2. A SCOUT IS LOYAL.
3. A SCOUT’s DUTY IS TO BE USEFUL.
4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL.
5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS.
6. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ANIMALS.
7. A SCOUT OBEYS ORDERS.
8. A SCOUT SMILES AND WHISTLES UNDER ALL DIFFICULTIES.
9. A SCOUT IS THRIFTY.
10. A SCOUT IS CLEAN IN THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED.”
Scouting across the world adopted the law and modified it to meet the needs of the national programs in which they applied. But the rule of DO and not Don’t carried throughout. We learn through our Scout Law what we should Do and Be, not what we should not do or be. Unlike the 10 commandments that teach us what not to do and be, the Scout Law encourages a life of Service and ethical attitudes. It gives us a starting point from which we test our decisions and actions that follow.
I found it interesting that the other day I over heard a man talking about the “Say it out loud test”. This tested whether or not one should engage in something that may not be sound. The way it works is that before you do something, say it out loud. If it does not sound right in your head… don’t do it.
Baden Powell encouraged us to DO the right thing. He did not want to burden us with a list of DON’Ts… DO be Trustworthy, DO be Loyal, DO be Helpful, DO be Friendly, DO be Courteous, DO be Kind, DO be Obedient, DO be Cheerful, DO be Thrifty, DO be Brave, DO be Clean, and DO be Reverent. Putting this positive attitude in our rules to live by makes it easier. We all enjoy it when we are given opportunity and latitude. When I am told that I can do something, I feel a lot better than when someone tells me I can’t.y it out loud. For example, if you are going to rob a bank. Say it out loud. It just sounds wrong… then don’t do it.
Another example; “Hey lets all put a knife in the wall socket”… say it out loud… it does not even sound right, does it? Then don’t do it.
As Scouts and future leaders of America, we encourage you to BE, KNOW, and DO. You know what right looks like.. you have the power to DO it!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, Service, training, Values
Tags: do the right thing, Scout law
Mental toughness is a great leadership trait. It allows the leader to think clear and make good decisions. I recently ran into an article in Backpacker magazine that reinforced some of the leadership training that I learned early on in the Army and it applies real well in Scouting and out-door adventures.
Mental toughness is a skill that needs to be developed and practiced as a result the leader will be able to be a more effective leader.
First the leader needs to Set better Goals. Again, we turn to the SMART Goal method and make sure that our Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. With those goals in mind as we prepare to lead a task or move a group from A to B we need to think about those contingency plans and risk management that go along with our goal. Clear goal setting is the map that leaders use to guide those they lead.
Second the leader must Monitor his self talk. Are your thoughts Purposeful, Productive, and giving yourself a chance for success. Remember that we talked about seeing success this week. Self talk needs to remain positive. It has been found that when the leader doubts himself or has a negative internal talk he will see those thoughts through. On the other hand a confident leader with a positive internal monologue will set his mind in motion for positive outcomes.
Third the leader needs to Control the Controllables. That is to say that you must wrap your arms around that which you can control and not worry about that which you can not. You will never be able to control the weather for example. You can plan for it, prepare for it, but you can not control it. You can control the skills and shape the conditions for your desired outcome. Stay focused on the things that you have control over. The number one thing that you control is your attitude and your ability. Having a positive attitude and the right skills are leadership traits that will give you more control over those that you lead. Do not misunderstand the use of control here. We are discussing the idea of control of situations, skills, and attitude. Not dictatorship style controlling of people.
And finally, the fourth thing to build mental toughness is Combat Catastrophic Thinking. This goes along with the self talk, but takes it a step further. Keep your mind from falling into the pit of worse case scenario thinking. Worrying about what can happen does not matter. Keeping it from happening using sound judgement and thinking about the risk and managing that risk is far more important than worrying about the worst cases.
I have seen leaders that get caught up in this trap and once they start with the “We will never make it” scenarios they adopt the idea that it is true. This attitude is contagious and will spread. This is critical when backpacking. The blame game starts to surface and one bad decision will lead to another.
Mental toughness is that attitude that “I am a leader and I will be successful”. It comes with confidence, practice, and when the leader realizes that the power of the mind is often greater than the power of the body.
The Scout Oath says to be mentally awake. Develop the mind to be mentally tough. We saw this at Philmont over and over again either in our crew or in other crews at the many camps we passed through. A Scout would give up on himself. He could go no further.. according to his mind. He could make it, but he was mentally weak. A 14 mile day on the trail is just 14 miles. You can do it when you set your mind to it. You can be the leader that inspires others to make it when you set your mind and attitude in the right direction. You can be the best cheerleader by putting one foot in front of the other and a smile on your face. No need to yell or cheer. Just encourage by your actions and mental toughness.
I once hiked with one of our newer Scouts. We had gone four and half miles and had four more to go to get into camp. He stopped on the trail and threw his pack to ground proclaiming that he would walk not one more step. I told him that it was fine with me and took my pack off and joined him on the ground. He was mentally finished. Video games had got the best of him and he did not want to finish.
I talked with him about our options. We could walk back to the cars almost five miles away, or we could push to camp four miles away, but either way we would have to hike out of there. The benefits of getting to camp were greater than going back to the car. Food, relaxing, and hanging out with his buddies versus going home without success, better known as being a failure. He looked around and saw that he was the only one not willing to move forward and the decision became easier for him to make. We got into camp and never had another issue with him.
To many people these days fear mental toughness. They think it is a trait of a bully or tough guy. It is a trait of leadership and one of being a man. We want to develop both leadership and manliness in our Scouts.
Something to think about in working with your leaders.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, Character, fitness, High Adventure, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Philmont, Risk Management, Scout, Scouting, Scoutmaster conference, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, Service, Skills, training, Values
Tags: leadership, mental toughness, mentally awake, Power of the mind
The other day I talked about the four “C”s that when added to the leaders tool box makes for ease in decision-making and better leaders.
I will add that when our young leaders start using the four “C”s they will also become Confident leaders. Young leaders need practice to become confident. Learning and finding success builds that confidence.
Making mistakes are a good thing.
I have heard confidence defined as the “Expectation of Success”. I think this is a fair definition in that as a leader we are striving to achieve a goal. Whether that is a person goal or a team goal, the mastering of a task or skill, or getting from point A to point B. The leader expects to achieve success.
Making mistakes to achieve that success is ok when lessons are learned and there is time to evaluate and make corrections. Mistakes that are uncorrected or allowed to be swept under the rug are just mistakes and a waste of time and energy. Further more they do not built confidence in leaders as they do not see that success when they fail to learn from their mistakes.
So when our goal as Scoutmasters is to build confident leaders we need to watch for those mistakes and coach them through the recovery.
When a Quarterback throws an interception he is often greeted by the coach as he comes to side line. The QB failed to achieve the goal of completing the pass. He failed to achieve the goal of moving the ball down the field and scoring a touchdown. The coach has a choice to make. He can discuss the play with the Quarterback and refocus his vision of success or he chew him out. I would submit that while the Quarterback let the team down by throwing the pick, he will recover faster and make fewer mistakes if coached on mechanics of the pass, what he saw down field, or maybe even communicating better with his receiver. The point is there are many things that the coach may have seen that the QB did not as the Defensive End came busting around the Tackle. It is the coaches responsibility to build that confidence back up in the player. The coach has a bigger perspective of the game and can assist in getting the Quarterback back on track by teaching him and not chastising him.
Having said that, there is room in certain situations for a good hard lesson. I have said it many times, I care less about how you feel and more about how you act. I would never advocate belittling or bringing a Scout down.. remember that the goal here is to build confidence. If a leaders decision was such that it caused harm or moves away from the values found in the Oath and Law, the discussion is a bit different. Always in the spirit of teaching and learning, but not such that the leader feels like he got away with something.
Confident leaders make consistent good decisions. Part of that decision-making is in how the leader, by being confident builds confidence in those he leads. The most important thing that leaders can do is show confidence in other people.
This in turn leads to leaders that show initiative. Initiative is power. Power to act, Power to make decisions, and Power to take advantage of opportunity. This is when real leaders begin to shine. This is where you see the confidence built-in your young leaders. This is where you start to build that leadership trait in future leaders. When the younger Scouts see their leaders show initiative and confidence it sends the message that it is ok to step up and lead.
It all begins with that vision of success. Clear goals, personal and as part of the team. Building confident leaders is the responsibility first of the Scoutmaster. When that happens you have a Troop that can lead.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, camp skills, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Patrol Method, respect, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster conference, Scoutmaster minute, teamwork, training, Values
Tags: coach, Confidence, confident leaders, leadership, mentor, Scoutmaster, Scouts, teach, train
Back in 2009, I posted this recipe and a video on my YouTube channel. Well since I have been consolidating the channel and working hard on Blog content, I stumbled on this recipe and the video on an old hard drive. I retooled the video and thought this was a great meal for anyone on the trail.
So you might say that I am re-purposing recycling the post, but trust me this is a recipe that you will enjoy. So try this one. You will love it.
1 cup dry instant rice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 pkg honey
2 pkg soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 can or pouch of chicken
Before camp, mix all dry ingredients at home. Store in a zip lock bag.
At Camp, boil water, add rice mixture. After the rice is cooked, stir in Chicken, honey, and sauce. This makes 1 serving, so do the math and multiply for your size of group.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, Cooking, High Adventure, Just fun, Leave no trace, Methods, Motto, reviews, Skills
Tags: backpacking, cooking, food, Recipe, Snow Peak Giga Power, trail meals
One of my goals for this year and in particular in working on the blog is to use tools to be more successful. There is nothing worse than a goal that is not attainable because of lack of want to or know how and sometimes tools can assist in making a goal more attainable.
A new years resolution to go to the gym only works while the motivation to work out is there. Going to the gym and not working out because you don’ t know how only discourages you and you don’t go back.
I am one of “those people” that needs constant motivation to stay on track. I do that by motivating myself and finding tools and resources that keep me focused and on task.
For example. I am working on doing more to lift some of the burden of household chores from my wife. She does and has done a fantastic job over the past 22 years and I know this is an area that I can do better at. So I have picked up the responsibility to doing the grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping, but it is a task that I can do so I had to find motivation (other than just being more helpful). So I dove into the task to find tools that would make grocery shopping more interesting for me and make me want to do it. Enter an app for my phone. I downloaded the Out of Milk app and started using it. We make the grocery list on the computer and sync it with my phone. Bingo.. we have a winner. I am actually finding grocery shopping fun, walking up and down the isles scanning products and adding them to the shopping cart.
Apps and software have made much of what we do these days more tolerable. They have also made managing tasks, lists, notes, and resources more accessible. A few years back I started using an app called Evernote ™. It was a cool way to take notes and have them available across different platforms. My computer, phone, tablet etc. Then I started using for Scouting.
Some of the cool things about Evernote ™ that I really like are the note taking and sharing of information I gather. With Evernote ™ I can clip and save things right from the internet. I can save PDF files for retrieval later and I can record voice notes.
Evernote ™ has all of this in one nice bundle. I have many notebooks within Evernote ™. This is nice to I stay organized and have everything right at the tip of my fingers.
Our Troop uses Troopmaster ™ to manage the Troop’s administrative functions. But Troopmaster ™ does not have a corresponding app for my phone or a mobile way of accessing information from Troopmaster ™. So I save the reports and most frequently used items from Troopmaster ™ as PDF files and drop them into Evernote ™. I can’t tell you many times we have been at a Scout property and they need a roster with phone numbers, ages, etc. I just open up Evernote ™ and there it is. I can even print the roster from Evernote ™ if they have wireless printing available. I had to do this last summer at summer camp.
Scoutmaster conferences are easily tracked and noted using Evernotes voice memo feature. It is nice to talk with a Scout and then capture some of my thoughts right after we are finished without sitting a writing it all down. Then once I get home I can transcribe the voice memo into a note for future reference.
Project planning is another great use for Evernote ™. In 2012 I used Evernote ™ to plan and track our Philmont trek. Everything from setting reminders to making checklists to ultimately making notes along the journey. Adding pictures to remind me of tasks, people, places, and things we needed to do.
As most everything we get now electronically from the BSA comes in PDF format, dropping our reservations and other correspondence from Philmont was easy to save and retrieve.
I am still learning of new features and ways to use Evernote ™, but so far it is a great tool to make my Scouting life and my personal life more organized. It is a way that I stay focused and on task and therefore more productive.
Some of the other ways in which I use Evernote ™:
Building Packing list for Backpacking. It is a nice way to make checklists and track weight and gear.
Lists for places I want to go. Using the clip it feature on the web I can save maps, brochures, and information about places I want to go, in particular backpacking.
Saving ideas for future planning with the Patrol Leaders Council.
Recipes for Dutch oven or backpacking meals.
Using Evernote ™ Hello I save business card and meeting information. That is really a neat feature and a fast and easy way to build and maintain contact lists.
That’s just a few. I follow the Evernote Blog also. It is amazing all of the different ideas shared there for use cases, tips, and what’s happening with Evernote ™.
Finding a good way to stay motivated and on task is important. It is critical if you are like me and have many irons in the fire and want to stay focused. But like everything else if you don’t commit to using the tools then you as good as that new years resolution to go to the gym.
I hope that helps you find a tool that will help you manage your irons in whatever fire you place them.
Let me know what you use.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: Advancement, Backpacking, blog, camp skills, comments, Cooking, High Adventure, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Philmont, reviews, Scouting, Scoutmaster conference, Scoutmaster minute, Skills, Summer Camp, technology
Tags: Evernote, focus, management, planning, resources, Scouting, Scoutmaster Conference, task, tools, Troopmaster
While I am camping with my Troop this weekend I thought I would leave you with some great entertainment and a message that is priceless.
I stumbled on this video on YouTube the other night while my wife and I were talking about our experience at the National Meetings that we got to attend. It was a special part of my Scouting life.
We watched Mike Rowe talk at the National Jamboree in 2010 and he is a great example of just Scouting does.
Enjoy the weekend and this video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, Character, comments, Ideals, Jamboree, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Order of the Arrow, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, Service, Skills, stories, Values
Tags: Eagle Scouts, hero, life saving, Mike Rowe, Scouting, Values, way of life
At last nights Troop meeting I began my Scoutmaster minute by talking about reputation. What is it? How do we get it? Do we like it? And how do we view other people’s reputations?
I gave the Scouts an assignment, one that I am working on myself, you see it may take a bit of time to really think it through. The assignment was simply to write down what they think or know their reputation is, do they like it, and how do they think they got it.
It all comes down to Character and how you are viewed by others. Sometimes our reputation fits and sometimes it doesn’t, but more times than not, your reputation is based on how people think you are. And there in lies the rub. Why?
What does your character look like that warrants the view from outside eyes. What do they see? It’s not hard really, people see you pretty much for who you are, right? I mean, if you are living the way you ought to then what’s the problem.
I said at the outset that “I Began” the Scoutmaster minute by talking about reputation. Very rarely does a Scoutmaster minute become a discussion, but last night it did. We started to talk about the “Why” part in this. The Scouts shared about some of the things that they see, no one really offered up their own cases. Then we got into the electronic part of our reputation. Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
I shared with them a phone discussion that we had recently with a college coach that has been talking with our son about playing football. He called our son a few weeks ago to check in and to ask a few questions. His first question was “Hey, do you know so in so…?” Josh answered that he did know the kid, he went to school with him. The coach told Josh that he saw that Josh and this kid were “Friends” on Facebook. Josh said yes, him and a lot of friends. Then the coach suggested to Josh that he “Un friend” this kid because he “Tags” Josh in pictures and places that Josh may not want to be associated with, especially if he was looking for a college scholarship.
Josh did un friend the kid, after seeing some of the stuff that this kid was putting up for the world to see.
Some of the Scouts thought that this was unfair, that a coach could do this. I on the other hand think that this coach was looking out for Josh’s reputation and future. You see, how people see you and how you associate may tell a story about you that you may not like. Your character is at that point subject to question and therefore your reputation is in jeopardy.
So, the assignment for this week for our Scouts is to take a look at their reputation. What is it? How did they get it? and do they like it? Next week, I am going to ask them what they are doing about it.
I am certain that a quick look at living the Scout Oath and Law will be the fix for some and a reinforcement of the things that they are doing right for others.
The Scouts won’t have to share their assignment, it’s for them, to really look at who they are and how they are seen.
Take a minute and think about your reputation.. I may share my thoughts later, I really need to think about this also.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, Character, comments, Leadership, Motto, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, Values
Tags: Character, facebook, Oath and Law, reputation, Scoutmaster minute, twitter
Last night at our Troop meeting I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of super enthusiastic Webelos. They came to the meeting to wrap up their Arrow of Light requirement of participating in a Scoutmaster Conference.
During the course of our discussion, we did it as a group, I talked about the Scout Oath and Law and gave them some pointers for not only knowing how to say the Scout Oath, but how to remember the promises you make in saying the Oath and living it daily.
I explained to them the three promises.
Duty to God and Country. It is important to always remember our Duty to our God and this great Country of ours. Our God that has blessed us and continues to pour out his love for us. No matter how you view that God or by which name you call him, he has given us so much and we need to remember our Duty to love him and serve him with all of our Heart, our Soul, and our Mind. And this Country, no matter what your political slant is is a Country that is free. A Country that still values Liberty over all. It is our Country that we call home and we need to serve it where and how we can.
Duty to Other people. We pledge to help other people at all times. We need to be of help in our community, our home, and everywhere that we have an opportunity to make a difference. It is when we have a Duty to others that we learn to live with an attitude of selfless service.
And finally, our Duty to our Selves. To keep ourselves Physically Strong, Mentally awake, and Morally Straight. When we remember our promise to ourselves we can be a better person for others. Staying strong, fit, we can be an example of wellness and enjoy a life without the burden of illness. Being mentally awake we continue to learn, to sharpen our skills, and to be aware of the needs around us. And to be morally straight keeps our internal compass of right heading the way that makes us the people of Character that we are. It guides us to do the right thing at all times.
Those three promises can be found in the Scout sign, a daily reminder to live the promises that we make each time we say the Scout Oath.
We say the Oath aloud each Monday night at our Troop meeting, this is an accountability measure. We all hear one another say the Oath and we hold each other to the promises that we make.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Scout, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster conference, training, Values
Tags: Arrow of Light, promise, Scout Oath, Scoutmaster Conference
Abraham Lincoln is a man often quoted, but not always in the context of Scouting. I stumbled on a great quote that speaks directly to Scouts and Scouters.
“If you give me 6 hours to cut down a tree, I will take 4 hours sharpening my ax.”
Whats he saying here.. basically.. Be Prepared. He is telling us that preparation is the key to success. When we prepare for a task we can accomplish it with success. Putting the time in to plan, train, and practice will make you better at the skill.
We are getting into the winter camping months. The more we prepare, the more fun we will have. The more we train, the safer we will be. And the more we practice our skills the better experience we will have in our adventures.
We should always be looking at ways to keep our ax sharp. We should always be thinking about that next tree and sharpen the ax to make the work easier and more effective.
I am always looking at ways to make my camping experiences better. Toying with my gear, testing new stuff, learning and refining techniques to make my adventures fun and safe.
Are you sharpening your ax?
I was looking through an old external hard drive today and found this video. Shot about 3 years ago when I was a “Tent Camper”. Thought I would share it here. It is a good example of Sunday routine. Remember that we model expected behavior. No yard sale here.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, High Adventure, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Leave no trace, Methods, Motto, planning, Scout, Scouting, Skills, Winter Camping
Tags: be prepared, camping, Motto, Youtube