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!
This weekend, our Troop conducted Junior Leader Training. Because we have so many young Scouts, we decided to do things a little different this year. This year, wanted to ensure that the leaders clearly understood what was to be expected as a leader. Instead of the typical classroom environment, we took the training out doors where we do the leading. An over night camping experience in which the Scouts attending the training committed to doing everything right. The committment of the Scouts that arrived on Friday evening at Camp Discovery was apparent from the word go.
We built a camp fire and pulled our chairs up close. The theme for the weekend was Modeling the Expected Behavior. What that means to the Scouts of our Troop is that as leaders they need to set the very best example that they can. As examples they model the behaviors that we expect to see from the rest of the Troop.
So this weekend, the leaders learned about the Teaching EDGE, Leading EDGE, Ethical decision-making, Communicating effectively, and Learning to teach. The leaders shared expectations and demonstrated to one another what “Right looks like”. This morning after teaching one another how to properly pack gear, leave no trace, and cook a meal, they spent some time on the C.O.P.E course working on team development.
At the end of the training it was time for reflection and reinforcing the theme of the weekend. Modeling the Expected Behavior.
This theme will be the driving force for the rest of the year. It is the hope of those that attended the training that they will affect a positive change in the Troop. They all understand that as they go, so will the rest of the Troop.
In my opinion this was the best Junior Leader Training session I have seen our Troop do. There was a clear understanding at the end of the training and I too feel that the Troop will better for it. With so many young Scouts in the Troop and more coming at the end of the month, Scouts that are willing to take responsibility and be the very best example by modeling the expected behavior, will be have a lasting impact on our unit.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
It has been 11 days since I last posted.. Announcing a winner to the SMMPhoto contest. 11 days since I have really sat at the computer and gave the time to jot something down of significance. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites are great ways to let the world know about our minute by minute world changing activities like loosing pounds, winning an online chess game, or showing off a wonderful sunrise, the Blog to me is not that forum and I reserve the time for the blog to share something I think worth sharing.
With that.. 11 days have gone by since anything of significance.. unless I count the great time that I have been enjoying over the last two weeks.
Spending time with the Patrol Leaders Council last week, preparing for a Kayak trip down the Deschutes River with the Troop this coming weekend, wrapping up the final details for our newest Eagle Scout, playing golf and shaving a few strokes off the long game.
Its Football season, and that absorbs lots of my attention. My youngest son stepped on the Football field on September 2nd under the lights of the stadium and made his starting debut as the Quarterback of the Reynolds High School Raiders.. he’s only a Sophomore and over the last two weeks he has made a name for himself on the field demonstrating that passion and hard work will pay huge rewards on the field.
School has started and now the house is once again full of friends, home work, and the drama of school life as 2 Seniors and a Sophomore kicked off yet another academic year. Eagle Projects, Band practice, Football, and conditioning for the upcoming Wrestling season have taken over the lazy days of summer.
Time spent with family and friends have kept me away from the computer and surfing the web, and you know it felt great.
This morning my two buddies and I played a great round of golf. We walked the course joking and making fun of each others game. It was a great time spent with friends. As we walked the course we talked a little about how life has changed since 2001. Our kids have grown up a lot, our jobs never changed, our families got bigger, and aside from an all expense paid trip to Iraq and the loss of some good people, our lives up here in the Northwest really just went on. We have really felt the impact of watching ground zero transform into a monument. Besides the visit to the Pentagon during the National Jamboree, the pain felt in Washington DC did not ripple its way out West.
This week there has been a lot of build up about the anniversary of September the 11th. A tragic day in the history of America but what are we supposed to do. I propose we never forget about what happened, but not just what happened, but who did it and why. We should never forget it and never forgive it. We should fight these distributors of terror, these cowards that have no honor, every day until they are all gone.
One of the ways we fight them is by not letting them disrupt our way of life and our will to be free. We when compromise and dismiss the fact that these terrible beasts are out there to hurt us we let them win. We need to fight and fight and fight. I will fight them every day. I will never forgive them and never forget what they have done to my country. And most of all.. I will not let them win.
If this offends you.. I am don’t know what to tell you… I am not sorry.
What these animals did to our Country is no different than what the Japanese did on December 7th, 1941. And we destroyed them. We won.
We have to make this 10th Anniversary of the 2001 Attack on America a resolution to win.
So remember where you where that day. Remember how you felt. Remember the lives lost, the damage done.. then resolve to get on with our lives and win this war on terror. I AM NOT AFRAID!
To make this Scout like.. a Scout is Brave.. a Scout is Loyal.. and a Scout makes a promise to do his duty to GOD and COUNTRY.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
I spent the better part of the weekend at Camp Pioneer. This weekend, among other things, the camp celebrated its 75th Anniversary. I received an invitation along with other Scoutmasters and folks throughout the Council, so I RSVP’d and attended. It was extra special as my oldest son is on Staff at Camp Pioneer this year, so it was an opportunity to see him. My Troop is heading up to Pioneer in a week, so it was also a real good chance to pick up some Blue cards, look at the program areas and just hang out in my favorite camp our Council has.
Friday night was the celebration for the Anniversary. They had a special dinner and then a program in the Dinning Hall. A slide show of the history of the camp and some “Then and Now” pictures. The 1974 Aquatics staff was there.. all of them. It was neat to hear their stories and meet them. They have all gone on to do good things with their lives and to hear them speak about the camp with such fondness really hit me.
Their collective love for this camp brought them back, not only as youth, (many had staffed at the camp for up to 7 years), but now to be a part of the 75th Anniversary. What really touched me was the strong tradition that they embodied. This was particularly special to see and as I watched today’s staff interact with them I saw light bulbs flash on. I saw the passing of the torch.
I brought our son home for the night and as we drove the 128 miles we talked about this tradition at Camp Pioneer. He said that up until he talked and heard the 1974 staff share their stories he did not understand where some of the stuff they did came from. Songs that are sung, ways that programs are introduced, skits, and camp traditions. It made the camp come alive for all us that love Camp Pioneer.
I have always loved Camp Pioneer and this weekend really increased that love. Yesterday before I left camp I sat and looked over the spectacular view. The lake and the over looking Mt. Jefferson called me. As I sat in the Chapel bowl I could hear the staff wrapping up the end of the week’s session with the Camp Song.
Camp Pioneer we’re loyal to your code, Together we will hike the eagle road, We love your lofty pines and lake so blue, Camp Pioneer our memories always turn to you, In love and friendship we will work and play, A helping hand to each upon his way, And may our faces shine, And spirits intertwine, Camp Pioneer, that’s why we’re here, Camp Pioneer.
Hip Hip Hooray, Hip Hip Hooray, Hooray, Hip Hip!!
It brought a smile to my face remembering the 1974 staff singing the song on Friday night along side the current staff.
Then as we walked out to the parking lot after dropping John off to head home the sound of Pioneer Vespers rang in my head. I could not help but feel that Scouting traditions are alive and well and summer camp is that place that really brings it out in all of us.
When this land was untamed and free, A few brave men built a great country, Fighting for freedom, Despite their fears, We know these men as Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you.
Here in the Cascades, the spirit lives on, A brotherhood of love, our voices in song, Learning to be leaders, For Future years, We shall be known as the new Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you. Camp Pioneer is calling you.”
Have a Great Scouting Day!
In this weeks poll I want to know about your Troops annual planning session.
Your choices are: Totally on the Scouts, meaning the Scouts put together the annual plan and submit it to the Troop committee to receive the support to run the program. The PLC does the planning.
It’s all about the Adults, meaning the Scouts just take what the adults decide. The PLC does not do the planning.
Lets go 50/50, meaning Adult input to the PLC and they split the planning responsibility.
As a primer, here is how our Troop handles the annual planning session. We start our planning at Summer camp. This is a great opportunity for the patrols to take a look at the previous year and get the most input from the patrol members. Sometime about mid-week at camp the PLC will meet and discuss the input from the patrols.
After summer camp the PLC will again sit down with all the calendars and look at months, dates, and locations from the next years plan. I sit in with them on this planning session to answer questions and offer advise when asked.
Once the PLC is satisfied they have a 12 month plan, they bounce it off me and then the SPL and I take the plan to the Troop committee.
The Troop committees job is to say “Great plan, lets support it” and that is what they do.
Our Senior Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leaders Council does the planning for the year. That is the way it is supposed to happen, this is their program. Having them plan their year gives them ownership, tests leadership, and then as the year unfolds and they understand the program, their monthly PLC meetings are better organized and the plan is executed by the Scouts.
It’s not always pretty and often the planning is painful to some… but letting the Scouts run their Troop is the way Baden-Powell intended it.
“The more responsibility the Scoutmaster gives his
patrol leaders, the more they will respond.”- Baden Powell
Have a Great Scouting Day!
The other night at our Troop meeting I was approached by a frustrated parent. He asked why I continuously gives the boys the “run around”. I asked him what he meant, even though I kind of knew where he was going. He told me he has been sitting back watching over the last few weeks as Scouts come to me with questions. He wanted to know why I never just answer the questions that the Scouts have. I asked him to give me an example. He stated that a young Scout came to me with a question about meals last week, he wanted to know how many they needed to plan for. Apparently my answer to the Scout was, “Have you talked to your Patrol leader about meal planning for the next camp out?” The frustrated Dad wanted to know why I didn’t just tell him that he needed to plan 4 meals.
He went on to ask why I didn’t answer another Scouts question when I was asked about an activity. Again, he says “you pawned it off on the Patrol Leader”.
The straw that broke the camels back however came when a Scout came to you, he said, asking if I could show him how to tie a certain knot. Frustrated Dad threw his arms up when again I called the Patrol leader over and asked him to show the young Scout how to tie the knot.
“What is it that you do?” he asked. I teach leadership I replied.
“How is this teaching leadership?” he asked. Well, its like this. If I just answer the question, then why do we need Patrol leaders? If we don’t have Patrol leaders, how does the Scout learn to lead?
When we are camping for example, there are countless opportunities to use leading questions to teach leadership, skills, and camp craft. Questions that get the Scout to think and act.
On our last camp out, the Senior Patrol Leader gave direction to the Patrol to camp in a certain area. One Patrol chose to camp on the slope of the hill on little plateau’s created on a trail. This was fine as it practiced good leave no trace, but I had a few questions for the Patrol leader regarding placement of a few tents. I did not tell the PL to move the tents, but did take the opportunity to talk about terrain and ask him what he thinks might happen if it started raining. We talked about it for a minute and he came up with a solution. He was hell-bent on not moving the tents.. so they dragged some downed logs over and placed them in front of the tents across the trail creating a break or diverter should it start raining. He did tell me that they had made sure that the doors of the tent were facing down hill and away from the possible flow of water.
It rained like cats and dogs on Friday night.. and sure enough, their plan of pulling logs over the trail worked, not a single wet sleeping bag.
It is the leading question that teaches. Allowing the Scout to think a problem through and not just giving the answer. This empowering of the Scout to think and act is a valuable lesson to him. Sending a Scout to his Patrol leader for answers is just as powerful. It teaches that we have leaders that have purpose. It makes the leader stronger, because at the point that another Scout comes to him with a question he must do something… lead. He needs to have the skill sets and knowledge to answer the question, solve the problem or seek help. These are great tools in teaching leadership.
So frustrated Dad, there is a method to our madness…
And what do I do? I teach by example.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
That’s where you will find adventure and success. Life is hard enough for an 11 year old with out standing on the edge of a cliff. But that is where the Scouts of Troop 664 find themselves every year when we climb at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon.
Here is what happens. A young man gets ready, harness and helmet on.. he is looking for adventure and sees the older guys doing it.. it looks fun, but that is a long way down. He’s been through the training, knows all the knots, the commands, and how he is going to lean out, get into a good “L” shape position, and start his decent. He knows that he has all the skills necessary to go over the edge. But then his brain asks him the question; “ARE YOU NUTS?”
This is when it happens.. It? What “it”? This is where the Scout learns about himself and how far he is willing to go, but then when he reaches that point.. he takes just one one step. He tests his courage, his inner strength, and his will to trust.
On this face of rock he will be tested by himself and come out victorious. Every small step is huge victories. The tears that run down a dirty cheek soon give way to smiles and high fives! He has conquered a small part of his mind and now is more confident. He walks just a bit taller on the way back to the truck even though he is tired and hungry. He has an adventurous story to share. Him and his patrol mates did something that their class mates won’t do. Monday at school he will show pictures and tell of his great adventure.
So here is what I know for sure. The old Scoutmaster handbooks talk about what makes a boy… Paraphrasing… He likes to be with his friends, he likes to feel important, he wants to share work and play hard, he wants to make decisions and but likes to know he is supported by his friends and adults. He wants action and fun! He wants to run, play, fight, and generally be on the move. HE craves adventures and changes in his surroundings. He wants to experience new things, feel the wind in his hair, the sun in his eyes, and is looking for that great escape for the everyday things in his life. He wants to learn and see new things and have new experiences. He looks up to somebody and has a vision of what he wants to be.
I paraphrased that from the 1965 Scoutmaster Handbook. Everything applies today. 100%! Get them outside and provide adventures that will test them, push them, make them think and grow and you will have done what the boy wants. That is Scouting my friends.
This weekend my Troop spent 12 hours climbing, rappelling, and practicing rescue techniques at Smith Rock. We camped on a ranch in Madras and had a ball. I got to see a lot of growth this weekend. And when the parents came to pick up the guys on Sunday, I wish you could have seen the young men, smiles from ear to ear anxious to tell the story to mom and dad.
The moral of the story… boys are boys. From 1910 to 2011 the only thing that really has changed in their Scout uniform, what is inside is just as healthy and wanting as ever before. Seek those adventures and somewhere between a rock and hard place they will find themselves.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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!
In the new Guide to Safe Scouting there has been a rule change on allowing Patrols to camp alone.. without Adult supervision. This was always a great part of my Scouting experience when I was a youth and it is a bit heart breaking to see that the BSA has changed this. I know it is because of Lawyer’s and over protective parenting… Boys are no longer allowed to be boys.
BUT Worry not Scouters that love the real Patrol method. Your Patrols can still camp alone.. well kinda.. 2 Deep leadership does not mean holding their hand. They can still camp in their own camp site.. away from adults. Adult leadership need only be present.. but not on top of them.
We do this all the time. The Scouts take off down the trail.. they establish a camp site, we make one a couple hundred yards away. That is still in range to provide the necessary “Leadership”.. and yes I use that in quotes.. we should not be providing “Leadership” at all. We provide guidance, mentoring, coaching.. but not “Leadership”. In fact it is not really leadership at all in the Boy Scout program.. the Safety Sandwich talks about Supervision and Discipline. We adults provide adequate supervision. And if you can accomplish that by being a fair distance away than you are well within the G2SS. I am not saying buck the system. I am saying allow Boys to be Boys. Allow them to explore and seek adventure. Allow them to be alone with their buddies, not having to look over their shoulder to see if an adult is going to jump in. Never forsake safety or propriety… but let them go. Supervise and train them to do what is right, and they will. I have faith in them… just like my Scoutmaster had faith in me.
Anyway. Let them camp alone.. just be near by. The results are the same. Patrol time.
Here is the link to the new Guide to Safe Scouting.
Have a Great Scouting Day!