Monday night at our Troop meeting I gave the Scoutmaster minute as always. This weeks topic focused on not being selfish.
It is so easy to be a selfish person in our world today. We tend to focus on what’s in it for me and what ever is good for me is the direction we head. The selfish attitude that prevails in the world today is the cause of much heart ache, crime, and unrest.
Monday I talked about the Scout Oath and the fact that it is a promise made not to be selfish. When you pledge your honor you are saying that I will not be a selfish person.
I will do my duty to my God and My Country. Not that I expect anything in return. It is simply my duty and I will do it. I promise to help other people at all times. Help. This one is all about other people.. nothing to do with me. And when I help I don’t need any praise, payment, or award. I just want to be helpful. And then there are the three promises that wrap up the Oath. To keep myself Physically strong, so I can be of help to other people and set an example of good living and health. To keep myself Mentally awake, so I can serve others and be aware of what is around me. So I can learn and grow so that I can assist those that need help learning. So I can be a leader in my world. And to keep myself Morally straight. Values that I learn and share are the cornerstone of my life and the more I demonstrate that I want to live right and do the right thing makes me a good member of my community. And as a good member of the community I help others and make my community a better place to live.
The Scout Oath is about other people and how I am going to be a person that is productive, helpful, compassionate, caring, and a member of my community that makes the world a better place.
Yesterday we had a tragic event happen in our community.
WARNING. I AM GOING TO OFFEND HERE AND I DON’T CARE!
Yesterday a person.. who cares what his name is, he died a disgusting individual, entered a mall and began shooting. He killed two people and like the coward that he is shot himself. That is the best part of the story.. that he shot himself. He saved the tax payers of this state lots of money and time that we would have to hear how he was “a troubled young man”, that “he played video games and they made him do it”, that “if he did not have access to guns, he would not have done this”, that “it’s not fair to hold him accountable for his actions, the crazy world made him do it.”
Yeah… that sounds harsh, but already we are hearing on the news that “No one saw this coming” and that “he was a good boy”. Bull.
You don’t wake up one morning and put on camouflage clothing, body armor, and go into a mall loaded to take over Baghdad and start shooting on a whim. I don’t care what this bums name is, I don’t want to know and I don’t think that the media should ever say it. He should be a nameless individual that did a horrific thing. He should not be made a victim and he should not be memorialized like Lee Harvey Oswald. He did nothing heroic and he did nothing that should warrant a place in history. A two-bit criminal that took two lives.
I got in a discussion today with a person that was so concerned about him and what troubled him enough to do this. I simplified the discussion by saying that he did not have a firm foundation of values. Had he, he could not have done such a terrible thing. Being mentally awake and morally straight, he would have got as far as the body armor and said… nah.. this aint right. He would have looked in the mirror and decided to do something good yesterday instead of killing two people. “What about drugs and that kind of thing?” Physically strong, mentally awake, morally straight. Living those promises won’t allow for you to go down that road.
I am ridiculous I suppose I live in a dream world thinking that it is that simple. Well guess what folks. It really is that simple.
I have said it before and I will say it again. There is no substitute for values and there is no reason not have them. Just because you are poor, a minority, or not in the best of circumstances does not give you a free pass on being a person without values.
Enter the parents. I can go on and on about this… but that is always the first question I ask. Where are they, who are they, and why did they not teach this kid the difference between right and wrong.
I have always told my kids to “Say it out loud”. If it does not sound right, then it isn’t.
Try it. Say this: “I am going to drive my car into that 7-11.” Does it sound right? NO. Then don’t do it.
“I am going to walk into the mall dressed in camo and start shooting”. Just does not sound right does it. So who taught this monster the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
When our Scouts come to me for Scoutmaster conferences we talk about the Scout Oath and Law. I demand that they live them every day and I do not settle for easy answers. I force the conversation and make them respond. Is this above and beyond the requirement? NO. I sign the book before we start talking. Scouting is not about Eagle Scouts, Merit Badges, and camp outs. It is about teaching young people to make ethical and moral decisions throughout their life times. It is about a Promise that they make to not be selfish.
We have enough stupid people in the world. We have enough selfish people in the world. We have enough sick people in the world. Our answer is something we Scout leaders can effect change in. The Oath and Law.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Oath and Law
Monday night at our Troop meeting I gave the Scoutmaster minute as always. This weeks topic focused on not being selfish.
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!
For those of you that have been to Wood Badge you understand the great training, the lasting friendships, and the spirit of Scouting that comes in every Wood Badge course. You get idea that every Scout deserves a trained leader and that in Wood Badge you are participating in the Advanced Leadership Course of the Boy Scouts of America. You understand the committment that it takes in time and money to seek out the best training and then follow-up that training by spending up to a year and half working a ticket designed to make Scouting better for the youth we serve. You get all of that.
So why should a Scouter go to Wood Badge. Yes, it’s all of the stuff previously stated but it’s a lot more than that.
Why Wood Badge? Well for starters it is the best Scout leader training the BSA has. No matter at which level you serve in Scouting, Wood Badge has something for you. Whether you are the Chief Scout Executive or a Den Leader, Wood Badge will teach you how to provide a great program for our Scouts starting with why we do this thing called Scouting. The Wood Badge experience gives you insight to the World of Scouting, not just your little piece. It reinforces methods and Aims and gets all Scouters on the same sheet of music, and yep, you will be singing a lot!
Wood Badge allows you the much-needed opportunity to step back into the hiking boots of a Scout and be that Scout as he experiences Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and is introduced to Venture Scouts. You get to learn like a Scout learns and in doing so you become a better communicator and teacher. You learn to train and lead using the EDGE method. I think you will find that this method satisfies every learning style and will assist you in sharpening your leadership skills.
Wood Badge sends you back to you unit with a song in your heart, a smile on your face, and a mission to make Scouting better.
The training at Wood Badge will make you a better Scouter, a better Spouse, a better employee when you use the tools taught in the course. It gives you perspective on everything in your life and a method to work you future plans in and out of Scouting. The Wood Badge training is world-class and is used in corporate America and in organizations big and small.
So why Wood Badge? Well, for one thing, it is our direct link to Baden Powell’s training of Scouters. The methods may have been refined, the uniforms certainly are different, and Scouting has changed with the times, but the Wood Badge is the Wood Badge and our history and tradition in Scouting is brought full circle in the Wood Badge experience.
When Baden Powell held the first Scoutmaster Training at Gilwell, he organized the participants into Patrols. This is the foundation of a Boy Scout Troop and BP understood that we learn by doing and do it with our Patrol. During the Wood Badge course the instruction all leads to doing. Within the Patrol, the participants work together to become a high performance team. Once this is realized, the experience can be taken back and applied in the Scouters unit.
Wood Badge has four specific objectives and as a result of attending Wood Badge, participants will be able to:
First, View Scouting globally, as a family of interrelated, values-based programs that provide age-appropriate activities for youth.
Second. Recognize the contemporary leadership concepts utilized in corporate America and leading government organizations that are relevant to our values-based movement.
Third, Apply the skills they learn from their participation as a member of a successful working team.
And finally, Revitalize their commitment by sharing in an overall inspirational experience that helps provide Scouting with the leadership it needs to accomplish its mission on an ongoing basis.
So Why Wood Badge? Back when I became a new Scouter helping out with my oldest son’s Pack I was invited to go to Wood Badge. I did not give it too much thought, after all, I was just a Cub Scout Den Leader, why do I need more training? Then I became a Cubmaster, and again, an invitation to Wood Badge was extended. A group of Scouters that were (and still are) super active in the District kept encouraging me to go to Wood Badge. They kept telling me that this “Mountain Top” Scouting experience was something that I really needed to attend. And again, I blew it off thinking that everything was going great in the Pack and I really didn’t need more leadership training. In 2004 I became a Scoutmaster, and again the same group of Scouters encouraged me to get to Wood Badge. I went to a Wood Badge dinner in January of 2005. It was a gathering to recognize Wood Badge participants that had completed their tickets and introduce Wood Badge to prospective participants. My wife and I went and enjoyed the evening. The room was filled with the most enthusiastic Scouters I have ever seen. They were from every corner of the council and represented every level of Scouting. Toward the end of the program a Scouter stood in front of the crowd and asked if “There were any Beavers in the house?” At first I thought he was referring to the Oregon State Beavers.. but what happened next sealed the deal for me. About a dozen Scouters stood up and broke out in song, when they were finished, the whole room (well those Scouters with beads on) stood and sang. They all sat down and about another dozen different Scouters stood and sang a verse about Bobwhites.. and so it went till the whole room was singing. The staffers closed out the song and everyone began hugging and shaking hands and there was nothing but smiles and laughter in the room. I sat there with my wife with a big grin on my face. My wife looked at me and said.. “Well… go sign up.” And that night I registered for the next course.
I participated in WE1-492-1-05 and was placed in the Beaver Patrol. I did have a “Mountain Top” experience and took all I learned back to my Troop. In 2009 I was asked to be on Staff. I had to turn it down because I was over extended as not only the Scoutmaster of my Troop, but the Scoutmaster of a Troop heading to the National Jamboree. In late 2010, I was asked again to be on staff for the 2011 course and I immediately said yes. I served as a Troop guide for W1-492-11 and as I have shared with my fellow Troop guides and the mighty Buffalo Patrol, “I had a great experience when I went to Wood Badge, I fell in love with Wood Badge on staff.” Early this year I was asked again to staff a Wood Badge course. And again, I said yes.
The people who attend Wood Badge and those that staff Wood Badge are the greatest Scouters out there. Their dedication to Scouting and the youth we serve is second to none. Their committment to training and making the Scouting organization better is beyond compare.
So Why Wood Badge? Why Not?
If you have been invited to attend Wood Badge, please consider it. You will not regret it. If you are concerned about time and money. Contact your local Wood Badge staff, ask at your next roundtable, there are ways to get you into the next course. The benefits of Wood Badge outweigh the excuses not to go. You are a dedicated Scouter, I know this, because you waste you time reading my blog. SO if you have not been to Wood Badge.. GO! And you will have a great experience. I promise.
If you are a Wood Badger… What’s your Critter? Leave a comment and share your Wood Badge story.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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
I suppose it is time to poke at the hive again. I reposted an article by Doug Metz the other day called Honoring the Scout Law. Now I did not write one word of the original post, but I thought it was well written and expresses the views of many Scouts and Scouters currently serving in our organization. I knew that by putting this post on my blog I would get emails, comments, and other communications regarding the content. And yes I did. Most of the emails I received were in line with the sentiment of the post, I wonder how much communication Doug got.
Either way, while it was not my post, and since I received multiple, let’s call them “opinions”.. I figured it was my turn to give you mine.
Now, if any thing I about to write upsets you of causes you to unsubscribe from this blog, well, I understand and I thank you for the time you spent here. I hope that you got something out of the blog or at least enjoyed reading it until now.
So.. here it goes.
The Boy Scouts of America have policies, I understand and agree to live by those policies. What I think is more important than policy is living the Scout Oath and Law. And I think that all policy should stem from them. The policy that excludes certain people from being a Scout or Scout leader is just that and certainly there is room for interpretation in it.
When it comes to homosexuality. I just don’t care and don’t think the BSA should either. I understand the apprehension that the BSA has, but don’t think it is thought through completely. My guess is that the policy is directed at adults and not the youth. Again, I understand, but don’t necessarily agree. Examples of non homosexual adult abusing children out weigh those of homosexual ‘predators’ I think. Now I don’t have the numbers to prove it, but you never really seem to hear of it.
Besides if the BSA was really concerned there would be better checks on who can and can not be an adult volunteer. Really, the current process is lacking if we are really that concerned.
My opinion is allow the Charter Partner to make the decision on who is a leader. Let them go through the vetting process. Ensure that good interviews are in place and background checks. But even background checks are not enough. They will not tell what a person is capable of.. right.
Anyway.. when it comes to sexual orientation, the church, the government, the PTA, and the Boy Scouts of America should stay out of it. As a private organization, the BSA has the right (upheld by congress) to decline membership to anyone.. and I agree with them having the right to do so. I think the screening process needs to be tightened up.
The other argument here is that of a Scout being Reverent and Duty to God.
This is where the argument should just stop. Why? Because the BSA does not define God or how to worship that God. The Boy Scouts of America have a Declaration of Religious principle. It states: “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which a member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership“. This is wide open for interpretation and allows for pretty much anyone to participate. Further the BSA does not define who God is or how we are to worship and so that is up to the member and his family to decide.
Once again, when it comes to religion. The Boy Scouts, the Government, the PTA, and the local Ice cream shoppe should mind its own business. I have seen Scouts have greater connections to their God in the out doors than they will ever find in a church.
Now to the point of a Scoutmaster not signing a book because the Scout “comes out”. SHAME ON HIM. The Scout did the work, as far as you know he has faith in something (as defined by him and his family). You, MR or MRS Scoutmaster I know for certain are NOT God and you need to get out your pen and start signing.
YOU Mr or Mrs Scoutmaster are not allowed to make the decision of faith or sexual preference. If you will decline his membership at the end than you were wrong all along. As far as you know this Scout has been a good Scout, completing all of the requirements as laid out by the BSA. Over the last 7 Scoutmaster conferences you approved all this work and determined that this Scout was worthy of advancement.. now.. you would change you mind? I work with an individual that goes to church every Sunday and is gay. You see in her church it’s ok to be homosexual. I know that her son is being raised by good person and it is my hope that one day she may even consider bringing him to Scouting.
All of this rings of the civil rights movement to me.. what ever happened to judging a person by their character and not their color, sex, sexual orientation? Hmmmm are we going to preach being helpful, courteous and kind and turn our backs on our neighbor?
We make a promise to live the Scout Oath and Law. Do we keep it? I suppose that is what Doug was asking in his post. To keep myself morally straight does not mean I turn my back on those that live in our community. And who are we to decide that homosexuality is immoral? Again, if are not to discriminate when it comes to our religious declaration than we need not make that call. Morality is shared values and I am certain that even homosexuals find that being Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent are good values. I am sure that all of us agree that Doing unto others as we would have done to us is a Golden Rule. But we are willing to make these decision based on… what?
So do I think Homosexuality is wrong? I have no idea.. truth is, I don’t really care. The older I get the more live and let live I get. Right or wrong is immaterial to me in this case as it is up to the individual and his family. NOT the Church, the Government, and certainly not the Boy Scouts of America. This whole issue to me comes down to Scouts. How do we treat them and how do we handle a Scout that may be searching for answers both in religion and sexuality. Both of those discussions need to start at home, but we all know that sooner or later, they end up in Scouts. How will you handle that conversation? It’s easy to avoid it, but that Scout is looking to you for guidance. You are a mentor, you are a role model. What is your answer.
So that’s where I am on the subject. We can discuss. But I have always been told to be careful when talking Politics and Religion… and the BSA should not engage in either and so neither will I. We can talk about Scouts and how this effects them and I am certainly glad to hear your thoughts on the issue, but I won’t argue this issue with you. Opinions are many on this, share yours… but when you do remember the Scout Law when you hit the submit, send, or enter key.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Last week I was surprised when I was given the patch for the messenger of peace initiative. This is a unit and individual recognition, and so when I got it while I was down at out council office, I was humbled. The person that submitted it said that it was for the “Work I do using media to improve our Scouting world”. Again, I am thankful, and I am sure that our unit is going to get this also for a recent project we completed.
The question came to my mind, why have I not seen anyone wearing this? Are units unaware? Are they just doing it? It’s obviously not about the patch, but the initiative is such a worthy one, that we in the Scouting world should be embracing it.
I went back and reread the letter at the BSA web site. I suppose I have always been one that is impressed with the grand scope of the Scouting movement. In short I think it is cool to be apart of somehting this big and something that is world-wide and yet has shared values. There is not much else in our world, save religions, that can say that. And look what a mess religions have made in the world. I am not suggesting that faith in a higher power has screwed things up.. I am saying however that people tend to screw it up. Scouting seems to have stood the test of time. Yes, we have our ups and downs, but the values and mission of the Scouting movement have not changed. People come and go, but those that “Run Scouting” at the World and National levels all seem to understand the good that will come from Scouting when allowed.
I have talked with many Scouters about our National office and our Council/ District. There seems to be an overwhelming idea that they are in it for the money and numbers. And to that I say.. yes.. yes they are. And then I say I am glad they are promoting the program, getting money and sponsors, pushing recruiting and retention, and developing relationships in our community. If they didn’t do it.. who would. ME? No way.. I am to busy working Scouting where Scouting matters. Being a messenger for peace starts at the unit level. Where the Scouts are. Too many Scouters get wrapped up in the wrong things. They worry about what everyone else is doing, most of the time with little or no impact of them.. but people are people and you have to worry. If they spent as much energy in their units, growing them, teaching them, letting them learn and develop, their unit would be world-class. But they choose to get wrapped up in politics and he said she said. This is how things get screwed up. I guess that’s how things get messed up globally.
So back to my thinking about why I don’t see this patch around. Well that thought led to our global Scouting community and how many Scouts and Scouters in the 220 countries and territories that are participating in this. Just think. Take 220 countries and have all their Scouts and Scouters working toward peace. There would never be war again. Oh silly me. We would have to get the politicians out-of-the-way… but wait… we could. The people could force this change. I really believe that it could happen.
Remember that in 1920 there was a world Jamboree.. just a few years after the First World War. If you know history, just because the war was over does not mean that things were peaceful, especially in Europe. 34 countries showed up
As most of you know, I am a combat veteran and I certainly support the efforts of our military and those that lead it, sometimes begrudgingly. And I am believe that what we did in Iraq was just and worth it. I have no regrets. But when I look back at the pain that wars cause, the ripping apart at families, the destruction and the lives that have to be repaired after these conflicts it is it not uncommon to ask, Why? What for? Now there are bad people in the world and I for one am glad to know that the world no longer has a guy named Saddam Hussein on it. Those people need to be stopped and removed. The Hitlers and Stalin’s of the world need to go. But dealing with the “Bad vacuum” is the next issue. Enter Scouting and people with real good values.
As a messenger of peace I think it is up to us to do what we can to fix our Three meter zone. We all can do it. We just don’t.
I guess it all comes down to people. How do we change them? How do we effect that change in our community. Baden-Powell had that idea back in 1907 and started seeing the reality of a world-wide peace movement as Scouting grew. It is now up to us to carry that torch. Will you?
Stop worrying about the things you can’t control. Control the things you can and be an influence. Influence this change in your units and community. Demand more of your elected officials.. you know the folks that swear to work for you. Hold their feet to the fire and don’t settle for men and women that lack character to be our leaders. Work hard to fulfill the mission of Scouting. Be a messenger of peace, let your actions speak louder than your words. And for goodness sake let people know that we are committed to being an instrument of peace.
So what does it mean when I challenge you all to “Have a Great Scouting day”? Live the values of Scouting. Keep the promise that you make in the Oath. Be a messenger of peace.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Time to stir the pot again and call out those Scouters that choose to be Patrol leaders, Mommy/Daddy Coddlers, baby sitters, in short.. those that don’t do it right.
Yep.. I’m gonna piss some folks off with this one and to be honest. If the shoe fits wear it.
I am going to preface all of this by saying in our Troop we have kids with ADD, ADHD, Autism in many spectrums, ADOS, OCD, etc…
The reason I must say that is because we don’t treat any of them different. They are expected to be Scouts. They do the work, they learn, they participate, and they don’t have their moms and dads hovering over them. Nope they have a Troop guide or a Patrol Leader that expects them to be part of the team.
They eat, sleep, play, and work as part of their patrol. That is the way it is supposed to be. We don’t let the moms and dads camp with the patrols when they go. They stay with the adults. They are not part of the program, they are just there for the fresh air. And some of them are in the Order of the Arrow.
So this morning I got an email from one of my ASMs. He is down at the Conclave for our OA Section. The Order of the Arrow, you know, Scouting’s honor society. Anyway, his email was simple.. he asked; “The OA is Scouting’s honor society right?” Those that have demonstrated their ability to be considered an honored camper, one that is dedicated to serve, and a Scout that has been chosen by his peers as someone who represents values found in the Oath and Law. Right?
Well, I suppose not any more, at least according what he witnessed down at Conclave. Dad’s hovering over Scouts to make sure they got out of their tents. Rolling up the sleeping bag for the Scout? Making sure the Scouts clean up after themselves? Now th is is minor stuff I guess, but what I know for sure is that when minor stuff happens, so does major stuff.
Now, I am a Brotherhood member of the OA. And very proud to say so. I consider it an honor to have been chosen to be a member. I also expect other members to act in accordance with the values and attitudes set forth by the Order of the Arrow.
Here is what I think the problem is. Too many people are just getting in. There are no secret clubs within the BSA, but if we are going to call the OA Scouting’s Honor Society.. well then lets act like it. Lets be selective on who gets in. Why not honored campers or Scouts… it is not for everyone.
I see this at ordeal weekends. The candidates are supposed to spend a day laboring in silence. This is not a suggestion, it is asked of the candidate so they can spend time-serving and thinking about a life of service. I don’t want to give too much away here, you may want to go through the ceremony one day… but I can’t tell you how many times I have asked Scouts and Scouters to remain silent explaining to them the reasons only to get a roll of the eyes and “Whatever dude”.
So how does this get fixed. The Scoutmaster.
The Scoutmaster sets the ballot for the annual election. The youth vote on the candidates, but the Scoutmaster sets the ballot for those eligible.
Just because a Scout meets the criteria of being 1st Class, 15 nights of camping with 6 of which are at resident camp does not gain him entry into the Order of the Arrow. Sorry, but true.
So Scoutmasters hold the key to making sure that honored Scouts get into the Order. This makes the OA stronger. At least it will take on the appearance of an Honor Society.
I am glad that kids that make “C’s” are not in the National Honor Society. I am glad that you must have good grades to get in. I am glad that not everyone that trys out for the Varsity Football team make it. I am glad that not every Scout will be an Eagle. Do I want them all to try, yes. But I am glad that only 4% will make it. It makes it special. Sometimes, less is more. When there is less there is harder work to get to it. If it is Scouts goal to be an Eagle Scout he needs to work hard for it. If he wants to get into the OA, he will demonstrate leadership, service, and living the Scout Oath and Law before he gets elected. If he wants to be on the varsity Football team, he will hit the weights, run, and practice all summer to get there. If he wants to be on the honor roll, he will study hard. He will work for it. None of it will be given to him.
When I was in the Army, I was promoted to Command Sergeant Major at the age of 36. I worked real hard, went to all the right Schools, and applied my self. On any given day in the United States Army there are only 550 Sergeants Major. I was one of them. It was an honor to be the Sergeant Major of an Infantry Battalion. And it was an honor to be counted among the 550 other Sergeants Major that put themselves in that position.
So it is with anything that is deserving of the title “Honor”. Not everyone gets a participation ribbon in life. And when we push Scouts through, or allow the nature of organizations to be less for the sake of having more we tear away at the organization.
So when we see mom and dad rolling up sleeping bags or hovering to make sure that Franky First Class gets to meals on time, we have failed. We have failed the Scout and we have failed the organization. It is no longer an honor. It’s just another weekend in a tent.
Ok.. I know you have an opinion, I gave you mine, lets hear it. Please leave a comment.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
As I have been digging into my copy of Aids to Scoutmastership the last couple days, I have become more and more a fan of both Scoutmastership and of Baden-Powell.
There is a chapter in the book called “Scouting is Simple”… here it is:
- The aim of Scouting is quite a simple one.
- The Scoutmaster gives to the boy the ambition and desire to learn for himself by suggesting to him activities which attract him, and which he pursues till he, by experience, does them aright. (Such activities are suggested in Scouting for Boys).
- The Scoutmaster works through his Patrol Leaders.
And yes ladies and gentlemen, it is just that simple. I think the message of the last couple days and weeks has been leading to this thought.. keep it simple.
To many well-meaning committee members, district folks, and those that feel the need at the council level to get into Troop business, they have clearly not read Aids to Scoutmastership.
The role of the district and council are not to get into troop affairs. The Aim of Scouting is to develop Character, Citizenship, and Fitness. That is all Troop and Patrol business. The Council and District are there to support the units when needed.. not to replace the Troops annual planning (boy led) it is also there for administrative functions as a ‘go between’ to the National organization.
So far as giving the boys the ambition and desire to learn. Once again.. Troop stuff. Providing opportunities at the council and district level does not promote desire and ambition. This has to occur in the context of the Patrol. Troop guides, Patrol Leaders, and Senior Patrol leaders that have been trained to provide purpose, direction, and motivation, for the unit to be the best it can be. Again… Troop stuff.
And finally.. and my favorite!!!! Working the Patrol method. In all its pain and agony, its fun and success, its trial and error. The Patrol is where Scouting happens. It is that simple.
So, as BP says.. Scouting is Simple. Don’t complicate it. If your unit is not keeping it simple, it may be time to evaluate what’s going on in it.
Keep the conversation going.. let us know what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
In the last post, we got a pretty good feel for the general attitude toward the “Merit Badge Mill” for a lack of a better term. It seems that there is not a lot of support for this style of merit badge earning.
Now, I did receive some emails that found that style the best practice in, as one guy put it “the world we live in”. But those comments were far less than those opposed. In all fairness… I did ‘accept’ any comment that was made on the blog. I did not respond to all of the emails, especially the one that called me “Old fashioned and not in touch with today’s Scouts”.
Which led me to thinking this week… What kind of Scoutmaster are you?
It was brought to my attention that the 1998 Scout Handbook does not make mention of Baden-Powell. I have not checked this out for myself, but if that is the case, it begs the question.. Why?
But back to the subject at hand.. What kind of Scoutmaster are you?
Baden-Powell said in “Aids to Scoutmastership” that we need not be “Know it all’s”
To be a Scoutmaster you need:
- He must have the boy spirit in him; and must be able to place himself on a right plane with his boys as a first step.
- He must realise the needs, outlooks and desires of the different ages of boy life.
- He must deal with the individual boy rather than with the mass.
- He then needs to promote a corporate spirit among his individuals to gain the best results
Now BP goes on to explain all these points in the book and I won’t just copy and paste the whole thing here.. Google search Aids to Scoutmastership and get your own copy and read it. But I will say that if you do as BP says.. you may just be a good Scoutmaster.
Scoutmasters should be a friend to the Scouts. He should remember that these are boys and not adults. We ask a lot from these young men which is all a part of the program, but at the end of the day they are boys. They have issues at home, school, sports teams, and the everyday life of a teen ager. So for the Scoutmaster that places himself on the “right plane” with the Scouts does a better job understanding them and working with them as they grow and develop.
The Scoutmaster needs to understand where the Scouts are in life. Once again, they are not men, they are boys and they all grow and develop at different rates. Some 14 year olds are more mature that others. Some 12 year olds mature faster than some 15 year olds. So it is important that the Scoutmaster works with the Scouts individually and not paint broad strokes with his Scoutmaster brush. At the same time, the Scoutmaster needs to build the team up as well as the individual. The team (Troop and Patrol) is an important part of the Scouting program and a huge part in developing young men.
On the other hand. And I know too many Scoutmasters like this, they are ‘roped’ into doing the job, they have no real desire to do the job but they do it because their son is in the troop, and they have no desire to learn the program or assist in running it right.
Now is that a subjective statement. Not so much. In the introduction to being a Scoutmaster in the Scoutmaster training program, the trainers introduce the new Scoutmasters to the 8 methods of Scouting. And with few exceptions the methods have remained the same for 102 years. Those same methods that BP himself outlined.
In both Aids to Scoutmastership and Scouting for Boys, you can find all of the methods that we currently use to achieve the Aims of Scouting.
The Patrol being the foundation for the Scout to start learning. The ideals found in the Scout Oath and Law as well as the motto and slogan take that foundation and apply it to their daily lives and the attitudes that shape the Patrol as a group. Scouting is done and should always be done in the outdoors with a Patrol. The Outdoor program is fundamental in the Scouting program. It is as BP said “our classroom”. Advancement opportunities set challenges and goals for the Scout to meet. The Advancement program tests the Scouts ability to manage his goal setting and give him a measurement of his own success. Not the success of the unit, but himself. The association with adults is a method that is often confused. Confused, because it is a method for the Scout.. not the adult. In associating with adults the Scout learns to manuever through the world. It places the Scout in a position to learn to be comfortable in job settings as well as social settings. The adults role in this method is to be a good example. Personal Growth is perhaps one of the most important methods that is often overlooked by Scoutmasters that do not take a personal care for each of the Scouts in their Troop. The Scoutmaster that does the job for a set amount of time or because no one else would take the job often look at Scouting as a camping club. Merit badges just happen at Summer camp and it really doesn’t matter if there is personal growth in the individual Scouts. I mean, after all you only have to care for them on Monday nights and one weekend a month… right? The uniform is where I see most of the lack of care for methods. Cost is always an excuse, but rarely a solution is given. The uniform has been a part of Scouting since the very beginning and should remain a method as long as Scouting exists. It is not a financial burden if the Scout believes and lives the part of the law that suggests that he is “Thrifty”. Adults create the burden by not enforcing the standard. To many parents fail to see the value in Scouting’s values and would rather take the easy way out and just say that it can’t be done. Hog Wash! And finally, when it comes to methods Leadership development. Now, I do know that I put this one last and that is not how they are listed… but here is where I see a big gap in the ways in which Scoutmastership is practiced.
Leaders are made, not born and sometimes that trial and error called learning is not pretty. The Patrol and Troop are the practice grounds for leadership development. And to be honest.. it’s real ugly sometimes.. that is when the good Scoutmaster needs to allow it to be ugly. Parents don’t like to see that.. but it is the best way for a Scout to learn. Mistakes are opportunities to learn as long as the Scoutmaster is there to teach, coach, train, and mentor the Scout. By applying “Guided Discovery” the Scout will develop into a leader. He may not be the next Patton or [insert your favorite leader here], but the lessons he learns while discovering his leadership potential will serve him later in life.
In short.. What kind of Scoutmaster are you? Are you one that embraces the lessons taught us by Baden-Powell or do we throw it all out the window for “modern thinking” and convenience. “Old fashioned and not in touch with today’s Scout”. I don’t know about you, but can you disagree with the Values of Scouting? How about the methods? These are time-tested and work well when applied by caring Scoutmasters.
If that makes me old-fashioned… so be it.. but if you do as BP suggests.. you can never be out of touch with today’s Scout. They are the same as they always have been… they are boys looking for adventure.
I am curious to hear what you have to say about this. What kind of Scoutmaster are you?
“What the Scoutmaster does, his boys will do. The Scoutmaster is reflected in his scouts. From the self-sacrifice and patriotism of their Scoutmaster, Scouts inherit the practice of voluntary self-sacrifice and patriotic service.” – BP in Aids to Scoutmastership
Have a Great Scouting Day!
The rabbit comes out of the hole.. goes around the tree.. and back into the hole.. now pull…
It’s a bowline.
Its that simple. That simple to teach, that simple to do. And it’s a knot that every Scout must know.
BUT… how many Scouts will try 50 other ways to tie it? How many times will it take for them to get it right doing it “Their way”? It’s called the work around.
Many times we teach our Scouts, our kids, our co workers, something that is simple and effective. We teach them a method or a skill that is time tested and works just fine the way it was intended to be worked. And yet many will do their very best to find a “Quicker way” or a “Cooler way” to do it.
I watched this at our last camporee when Scouts from all over our district struggled to come up with new and unique ways of completing a skill. Now I am all for thinking outside of the box and I certainly am the kind of guy that believes that there are better mouse traps out there.. but when it comes to things that are already as simple as it gets, time tested or a method that is the way it supposed to be. Then I suggest the energy is spent doing the skill, task or method correctly the first time. I was amazed at the energy that Scouts put into to negative results.
Another way to look at this is of course the Scout Law. The other night I sat with a few Scouts for their Scoutmaster conferences. I always ask them what they think of the Scout law and what particular parts of it mean to them. The energy that a Scout will put out to miss the mark is something that I really do not understand. I guess its the fact that simple can be hard to these kids that gets me.
According to Webster the word Trustworthy means ‘worthy of confidence and Dependable’. I think this is a great application of the meaning when it comes to the Scout Law. Can we be confident in that Scout to do the right thing, to be a good man? Can we depend on him to make sound decisions and have good judgement? Simply put, the word literally means ‘worthy of trust’ and yet our Scouts will look for meanings that have little to do with it. I had one Scout talk about being Trustworthy like this. “Well it’s like not robbing a bank.. you know that I won’t rob a bank because my parents give me money. ” Ok.. not the greatest example, but when I hear answers like that, it means to me that they either don’t get it, or they are having a hard time articulating the answer. Either way, it’s always a good time for me to talk about keeping things simple and doing things right the first time.
So take a look at your Scouts. How much energy is wasted in looking for ‘the better or cooler way’ and never tying the bowline?
I’m just saying.
Have a Great Scouting Day!