Scout Law

Scouting- A Way of Life

Picked this up along the way.. it still rings true today.
The Scout Oath and Law are a system of principles, and the program of Scouting is the method of making these principles work in the lives of boys.  Let your boys know that the Oath and Law are the rules of the Troop.  Scouting is a great game.  Boys want to know the rules.  When the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law become practical guides for the games, they then become a code to live by.
Keep in mind as you go along that the purpose of Scouting is”‘…to promote,…the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues,…’ by placing emphasis upon the Scout Oath or Promise and Law for Character development, citizenship training, and physical fitness.”
Knowing the purpose of Scouting and the means of achieving it, you will have made a giant stride in the direction of building good men.
Finally, remember that as the first Scoutmaster Handbook put it- “Our purpose in this Boy Scout Movement is not to exploit methods, not to glorify organizations, not to honor Scoutmasters, but to lead boys into useful lives.”
- The New Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America, 1958

As much as we all have tried to say this in other words.. that pretty much sums it up.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, fitness, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Scouts, Values | Leave a comment

Scouts Own

“Where two or more are gathered in his name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20)
This passage has been stuck in my mind and my heart for some time now.  You see, Church to me is less in the building as it is in the community and in the heart and mind of the believer.  I was dragged into a debate the other day about salvation and church.  I won’t recreate the debate here, but the gist of it was that a coworker of mine seemed to think that if you did not attend one specific church, well than.. you are doomed.
The basis of his argument tended toward the brick and mortar of the church, and in my opinion, less with the matters of the heart.  We agreed on each and every point that should lead us to a good life and a possible salvation, but in the end could not come to resolution on which building we should worship in.
I shared with him the idea that I did not need a church house to be “saved”.  I have everything I need in my heart and mind.  Well this blew his mind.  I talked to him about Scouts own services… held in the woods.  “Can’t be done” he said.. “No substitute for ‘the real thing’” he went on.  I told him that I am a lot more connected with my God when we are out in the woods than I ever have been sitting in the pews at church.  Watching as our young Chaplains Aide conducts the Scouts own service is more spiritual to me than hearing someone go on and on about how I should live my life and oh by the way.. dig deep when the collection plate comes around.
I have heard wisdom beyond their years come from a Scout as he talks about what living the Scout Law means.  I have seen as both young and old men tear up at the sight of Gods majesty as we reflect on his power and wonder sitting at a vista along the trail.  I know God and He knows me and He gets to decide who joins him in heaven.
I have sung praise in snow banks and got on my knees in prayer led by a Scout that does not recite a prayer, but talks to Our Father from the heart.  This is Church… this is where I know God.
We were on a camp out one gorgeous Spring when our Chaplains aide spoke the words, “Where two or more are gathered in his name, there am I among them”.  I looked at one of the Assistant Scoutmasters that was standing next to me, we nodded in agreement.  I then panned the group of Scouts that sat quietly listening to their friend talk about a Scout being Reverent.  I honestly felt the presence of my God right there.
Now I am not saying that churches are not an important part of people’s lives.  But Brick and Mortar buildings only stand to facilitate what goes on inside them.
My coworker is a good Christian man, I am sure that his heart is in the right place.  But sometimes don’t you think the mind should follow.
My sister and I talked the other night about church.  We were both raised in a family that never missed a Sunday.  We believe and participate fully in the sacraments.  As we have aged, we both have spent less time in the building, but our faith has grown stronger.  It was interesting to talk with her about how she feels about this.  There is some guilt about not being in the building, but fundamentally we both feel stronger in our faith.
I suppose I have separated my faith from the business of the church.  I can’t stand the politics and the drama, I refuse to participate in a show.  I want spiritual food and I find that within the context of the Scouts own and my relationship with our Lord.  I have heard some churches refer to the “personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour”.. I have one of them, do I need the building or is two or more of us gathered in His name enough?
It is a debate in the mind now, one that I seem to be winning.  I believe.. sometimes I think the show that runs at 8 and 11 on First street misses the point sometimes.  It’s not a curtain call, its our spiritual well-being that I seek.  I find it in the woods.
This is a heavy topic, I want to know what you think, how you feel.  I don’t want to debate you… but I am interesting in hearing your take on this issue.  Leave a comment.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Ideals, Scout Law, Values | 6 Comments

Can’t or Won’t?

It’s that time of the year again, when we talk about Troop budgets, recharter, and PLC meetings to execute another great year of Scouting.
The other night at our Troop’s committee meeting we looked deep into our budget to see where we could save the Scouts some money.  The discussion led to us never willing to compromise our program because of money.  If we need it, we will find a way to get it.
It was then that I heard a parent say that some of the boy’s “Can’t” come up with that kind of money.  I reminded them that a Scout is Thrifty and that the money is there.. they need to go get it.  Any Scout that fails to participate in Candy sales, Pop corn sales, and Wreath sales, should never complain about not having money.  We have Scouts in the Troop that go out every year and sell enough popcorn to pay their way, if one can.. they all can.
I refuse to buy into the idea that “Times are tough” and so there are no resources out there.  BULL.  We do not live in the most wealthy community.. and still retail spending is up 20% from last year.  Unemployment is down significantly, and yes there are other Scouts that get it done.
So it’s a matter of “Can’t or Won’t”. 
I never allow a Scout to say they “Can’t” do something.  They CAN DO anything they want to.. they need to try and they need to put their minds in a condition that never allows them to give up.  If one person says no to Popcorn, then keep asking the next 10 people that come by.
“Can’t” is not acceptable.  In the world we live in you can do what ever you set you mind to.  Failing yourself when you say “I Can’t” becomes habitual.
Parents that tell their kids that they “Can’t” do a certain thing are not helping.  I have seen to many parents that will not let their kids try.  No matter the condition, “Can’t” is unacceptable.
I have a few autistic Scouts in my Troop.  They CAN do anything they want to.  The sky is the limit.. NOT Autism.
When they try and succeed.. they win and that builds confidence in them.
So when I hear a Scout or the Parent of a Scout say that they can’t afford something, I have to ask.. “Can’t or Won’t”.  There are too many ways for a Scouts to pay his way through Scouting.
Mowing Lawns, Raking leaves, Shoveling Snow, selling Popcorn, Wreaths, or what ever your Troop does, Baby sitting, collecting cans and scrap metal, walking dogs, painting fences, the list goes on and on… and by the way.. this list is a list of some of the things that Scouts in my Troop do to pay their way.
So you Can’t or you Won’t… which is it?

Henry Ford once said, “whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right!”

 

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Ideals, Scout Law, Values | 2 Comments

Grandma always told me…

“You are either part of the problem or part of the solution…”  a great approach to being a part of an organization.  You truly are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  When we teach our Scouts how to lead, being part of the solution is the driving force that they need to quickly embrace and practice.  Never is it ok for a leader to be a part of the problem.  We and the youth leaders of our units are problem solvers.. never problem makers.
I never allow a youth leader to make excuses.. there are none, ever.  We are accountable for our actions, decisions, and the outcomes of our leadership.  It’s never the committees fault, the districts fault, or the council’s fault.  We are unit leaders, us and the youth, and we run our units.  If something is broke, we fix it.
Last year during our recharter, a couple of our Scouts were inadvertently dropped in Scout Net.  Now I could have raised hell and blamed everyone and their brother.. but what good does it do?  Rather, we took our copy of the application down to the Scout office and got it fixed.  Real simple.  What shocked me though was when the gal at the Council service desk informed me that usually this issue is met with irate leaders that want satisfaction.  Satisfaction at what expense?  Tearing into someones hide?  Very Scout like don’t you think?  Lets assume that all of our units do a good job at record keeping.  Well then there is no issue, right.. we just take down our copy and done.
We are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  It is easy to point fingers and assume that things will be messed up.  Patrol leaders try this all the time.  They try to pass the buck or play the blame game.  This is always a great teaching opportunity. 
In my Troop we use the Happy Hand approach to rules. 
1.  Hold up your Thumb.. Everything is OK.. working together we will get through it.
2. Your Pointer Finger is not to be used to point at anyone.. remember there are 3 fingers pointing back.
3.  Your Middle finger is never to be used by itself.
4.  The Ring finger represents committment.  We are committed to each other all the time.
5.  The pinky finger is fragile…  A reminder to be safe.
Everything there keeps us in the problem solving game and not the blame game.  Teach the Scouts to solve problems and seek areas to improve.  Never allow finger pointing and backing out of events because they think it will not be worth their time.  So many times Scouts with great attitudes can swing a sub standard event.  I have seen it many times.
If they want to complain, they need to offer a solution.
NOW.. that goes for you adults to… How you act is how your Scouts will act.  You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  PICK ONE.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Patrol Method, planning, Scout Law, Scouting | Leave a comment

Giving it all away

Character is something that I talk about a lot with the Scouts of my Troop.  It is a subject worth discussion often with these young men that are influenced by popular culture, peers, and sports figures.  Now, if you have read this blog for any period of time, you know that I am a huge fan of Football, especially College Football… so it is no surprise that when I heard the news yesterday about USC loosing their 2004 National Title it was going to have to be worked into the Scoutmaster Minute.
The stripping of USC ’04 Title is a great example of what a lack of character will get you.
Again, when you have Character… there is no one on the planet that can take it from you… you can certainly give it away, and once you do, you will never get it back.  And a lack of Character will get you in trouble in the long run.
USC gave away their Character.  They knew what was going on and made a choice to do nothing about it.  They cheated.  Now I say they because we are talking about an institutional problem.  One player and a coach that seemed to look the other way and break the rules.  They are a part of the problem and the University chose to remain a power house in the NCAA rather than do the right thing.  The price.  7 years later they are stripped of the title.  They lost Scholarships for incoming students, and they are now left out of 3 years worth the chances to win another title.  All because of a lack of character, character by the way they will never get back.
You see, they may win another National title years from now.. and Football player will still want to go to that University, but in my eyes.. and the eyes of many, they lack Character and always will.
As Scouts we have a guide that will never let us give it all away.  A guide that will never allow us to cheat.  You can’t cheat as long as you are Trustworthy,Loyal and obedient.  You can’t hurt when you are Friendly, Courteous, Helpful, and Kind.  You will do the right thing as long as you remain Brave and Reverent. 
The Scout Law is a great foundation of Character.  It will keep you from Giving it all away!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, teamwork, Values | Leave a comment

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The First Scoutmaster Conference

A young man sits across from you at a table, he is new to the Troop and seeking that first badge.. the Scout Badge.  He sheepishly asked for a Scoutmaster conference, and now he is stepping off on the Trail to Eagle.  The first Scoutmaster conference as a Boy Scout can be an intimidating one.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Here are three easy steps to making a great first Scoutmaster Conference.. for you and the Scout.
First.  Relax.. both of you.  This is a great opportunity Mr. Scoutmaster NOT to be the stoic figure looming in the back of the room, this is a great chance to make a first impression to the Scout that you really care about him and the Troop.  So relax, smile, and have fun with it.
Second.  Help.  It’s ok to coach a bit when the Scout stumbles on the Scout Oath or Law.. its ok to talk him through the Outdoor code.  He will get it.  If its not tonight.. well then there are 6 more opportunities for him to master it.  This is the Scout badge.. Not Eagle.  Set the tone of learning and perfection will come.
Third.  Encourage..  The Scout is new, he’s nervous, and he is looking to you for something that prior to this meeting his Den leader or Mom and Dad have given him.  He is looking for praise and accomplishment, and for maybe the first time he is doing it on his own.  Encourage him to think about his answers and assist him when needed, he will get it.  Encourage him at this first meeting to be an active part of his Patrol and Troop and to take advantage of everything Scouting has to offer.
Over simplify the process for a Scout to earn that Joining badge.  That’s what it is.  Don’t add to it, don’t take away from it.  Just keep it simple and have fun with it.  Its Scouts after all.. just Scouts.
Your Day 3 Health tip:
Get fit with friends or family.
Being active is much more fun with friends or family. Encourage others to join you and plan one special physical activity event, like a bike ride or hiking, with a group each week.  This is a great one to try with your Patrols or Troop.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, Motto, Oath and Law, Scout, Scout Law, Scouting | Tags: | 1 Comment

Getting what you want!

Values, Mission, Goals…. at the fore front of my mind right now as I assist a group of new Wood Badgers in the working of their tickets…
Tickets?  In Scouting, if you are not familiar with Wood Badge then this is a foreign concept.  Simply put.. it is working goals to fulfill your mission.
OK.. enough already, we just want to go camping and sell Popcorn!!!  What is it with this Values, Mission stuff?
Well, we are all heading somewhere, right?  We all have an idea of what we want our Scouting units to look like… right?  Well how do you get there?
Enough of the cryptic talk.. lets talk about your vision.
First.. what is it that you believe in?  What makes you tick?  Answer these two questions carefully.  A good personal assessment of your values is an important part in establishing your Vision en route to your mission.  You need to be honest and really know who you are before you can effect others.  So what is important to you?  Faith, Family, Values like those found in the Scout Oath and Law.
Figure this out and write it down.. not just words, but why its important to you?  Write it down.
Now that you have a better understanding of who you are and why its time to find out what you want.  What do you want out of life, your family, your work, Scouting, health, and hobbies?  In short, what do you want our of your life?  You may want to be financially independent, have a richer faith life, loose 10 lbs or become a teacher.  The sky is limit and you and you alone are the only one that can set the course to reach it.
So do you know what you want?  Write it down.  If you are like me, you will have a list of the things that you want.  Things that you want to change, do, get better at, and impact in your life.  Pick 1.. yep, just 1.  Write it down.
Now, lets go get it.  But first.. you need to throw away all obstacles, the first of which is your idea that you cant do it.  What ever you want.. you will have.. if you want it and are willing to work for it.  So write it down and lets go get it!
Make a list of 5 things that you MUST do to get what you wrote down.  Not 4, not 7.. 5 things that will lead you to your want.. Oh and by the way.. lets start calling “your want” “YOUR MISSION”.  Here is an example:
I want to develop a training program for Webelos Scout leaders and Troop Committee’s to increase crossover numbers in our District.  That is the mission.
So 5 things that I need to do to get what I want.
1.  Find out if there is a current plan in place and identify the short falls in the plan.
To do this I will talk with current District advancement chairman and Webelos to Scout transition volunteers to find plan or documentation.
I will do this in the next 30 days, this needs to be completed by June 20th.
2.  Knowing the short falls of the current plan (assuming there is one) I will rewrite the plan with the objective of increasing the crossover percentage by 30%.
To do this I will write a plan that will be distributed to all Packs and Troops in the District.  This plan will outline methods of contacting Packs and Troops within the District, obstacles to over come in the process, and ways to build relationships between units.
I will have the plan complete in the next 60 days.  This goal will be complete by July 20th.
3.  At the August Roundtable, I will present the plan at the Webelos Den Leader break out.  I will distribute copies of the plan at the time and field questions and concerns about the plan.
To ensure a good turn out at the break out I will make contact with Packs through the District emailing system.
This will be completed after the August Roundtable and the emails will go out in the Thundering News Flash in July.
4.  Make contact with Packs that have a low crossover rate and Troops that are not maintaining steady growth.
To complete this goal I will get last years data on troop new Scout registrations and Pack Cross overs.  I will call those units and set up a time to meet with unit leadership to offer assistance in increasing their crossover/ recruiting percentage. 
I will accomplish this by November 2011.
5.  Assess plan and make adjustments to the plan based on Troop and Pack receptive nature and amount of prospective Webelos Scouts that plan on crossing to a Troop.
To do this we will contact Webelos Dens and ask that they fill out Boy Scout applications at time of Troop Visits.  Once a Troop has been identified as the Troop that they are planning on going to, an application will be filled out and reported.
This will be completed by February 2012. 

This simple, measurable, specific outline of 5 goals to reach the mission of developing a training program for Webelos Scout leaders and Troop Committee’s to increase crossover numbers in our District can be accomplished if I work at it and not allow road blocks to stop my progress.  I must be willing to work it to the end.
This outline can be worked for anything in my life.  To lose weight, get healthy, find a deeper understanding of my faith, be a better husband and father, well.. anything.
This is what we Wood Badgers call a Ticket.
It is a great assessment tool and a way to ensure success in anything that you do.  Remember when you are setting your Goals to use the SMART tool.  Specific, measurable, Attainable, relevant, and Time based.  Use it and you will be and do whatever you want.
I promise.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, Patrol Method, Scout Law, Scouting, Skills, training, Values, Webelos to Scout Transition, Wood Badge | Tags: | Leave a comment

I Believe

Yesterday I received an email from a fellow named Thom in PA.  I won’t post his email here, but the jest of it was that he challenged the idea that the Boy Scouts of America should be inclusive of all religion.  His argument is that the Boy Scouts started as a Christian organization sighting the writings of Baden Powell on the subject.  He said that what I talked about in Show # 83 about accepting all is not accurate and that Christianity is the only “True” religion.
While I do not want to engage in a debate on religion, I did think it necessary to state where I stand in this issue.. and possibly reinforce the BSA’s stand on religion.
BSA first.
“The Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America maintain that no boy can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God. Scouting is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion. Membership in a religious organization is not required.
Scouting respects the convictions of those who exercise their constitutional freedom to practice religion as individuals without formal membership in organized religious groups. In all cases religious instruction is the responsibility of the parents or guardians of the Scout and the religious institution to which a Scout belongs. It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that the religious organization or institution with which a Scout is connected shall give definitive attention to his religious life.”
We as Scout leaders are to encourage a Scout to explore their faith and recognize their duty to God.  The Scout pledges a “Duty to God” in the Oath, but does not define who or what that God is.  That is up to the individual Scout and his family.
OK, now here is my take.
First of all.. I believe in One God, I believe in his son Jesus Christ who was born of the virgin Mary.  I believe that he was delivered by the Father to take away the sins of the world.  I believe that he was crucified, he died, he was buried, and that he rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again to judge us.  I believe that a church house is not the only place to find and talk to God.  I believe that God has many names, but he is still God.  You may call him God, or Allah,Yahweh, Brahman, Bhagavan, Waheguru, you can call him Tian Zhu, or Shangdi, I don’t care.. he is still God and will answer (in his time) when you call.
I believe that God gave us free will and what we do with that will determine our final destiny.  I do believe in heaven and hell and that when you do whats right you end up in heaven.  I believe in forgiveness and Karma and that both are healthy and both can hurt.  I believe that the Boy Scouts teach young men (and women) to always do whats right.
I believe that no matter what church you call your own, that they all teach basically the same thing and that is the Golden Rule.   “Do unto others as you would have done to you”.  Treat others with compassion, respect, dignity, and love.  I think that the twelve points of the Scout law lead you to the Golden Rule.  Is it a wonder that Reverent is last then?
I don’t think you need religion to teach you that, but since it is there, why not learn from it.
I believe that there are bad people in the world that do bad things, some of them are preachers, teachers, and youth leaders.  Some are politicians and businessmen, all of them excercise that free will that we have been given and all of them will be introduced to karma and will be judged in the end.
I believe that a mans character is precious and should be safeguarded.  It can be given away and never gotten back, but the way to maintain that character is by doing the right thing.. always.  That is what I believe.
I believe that getting out in the wilderness brings me closer to my God.  I know that I have had better talks with him there than in any church.  I am Catholic, and believe what I have learned in the church, but I know that the Church is governed by man.. and that can be a problem sometimes.  I think the church as an institution try to do good things and bring people closer to God, some times it does not seem that way, but the true test is that she has remained for over 2000 years, so something must be right.
I believe that God is who YOU want him, her, or what ever to be.  It is many trails that lead to the same location.
The bottom line Thom in PA… Who are you to judge?  Who are you to tell a young boy that he can not be a Boy Scout because he calls God Allah?  Who are you to exclude a young man because he does not go to your church or he does not prescribe to Christianity?  Who are you to say that the Bible is the only Holy Book?  The Torah had been around long before the Bible.  And what about that Golden Rule?  They have found documentation referring to it dating 1600 years before Christ in Ancient Egypt.
I guess what I am saying is that we are not the ones that need to be defining who God is and what God is.  We all believe, and it is up to the individual to decide what that is.
The BSA does not define God, nor should they.  We have the Oath and the Law and the free will to practice what we preach in that regard.. and you know what.  It all leads to GOOD, and in God’s eyes.. that’s ok.
He told me so.

Have a Blessed Easter everyone.. and a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | Tags: | 2 Comments

A Scout is Reverent SMMPodcast #83

In this show we explore ways that we can encourage our Scouts to find their faith.  A Scout is Reverent, so how do we help them practice it?
In this show we also start our new segment Blog Roll!
This show is sponsored by the Other Scoutmaster Handbook
Enjoy the Show!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, podcast, Scout Law, Values | 1 Comment

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