Service

Scoutings Honor Society?

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!

Categories: blog, Camping, comments, Leadership, Oath and Law, Order of the Arrow, Service, Skills, Values | 8 Comments

Whispering of the Pine

“Philmont does something to people—it is not something that can be put into words easily. Something ‘‘gets into your blood.’’ A love for the land, the atmosphere, the people—all these work together in you to make Philmont an experience that you can never forget. The base of that experience is the presence of God—an awareness that all we have and all we offer to others comes from God. The brotherhood that we share as God’s children and as Scouts brings us to a sense of peace, a feeling that in some strange way, everything is all right. In that sense, we can call Philmont a ‘‘Scouting Paradise,’’ a glimpse of that ‘‘Paradise’’ all of us are called to and will one day experience.”
This passage is taken from the Chaplains Aide booklet “Eagles Soaring High”.  It is the passage that leads to the Day 9 relection.  Since we were on a Short Trek, our Chaplains aid skipped around a bit, so that the reflections matched up with the places that we were on the trail.
The title of the relection is “Country that I love”.  So for those of you playing along at home.  The reflections center around the Philmont grace and the Philmont Hymn.
What I found impressive at Philmont was the never-ending use of the theme.  A love of Philmont.  It echoed in every part of the trek.  The Wilderness Pledge not only reinforced the ideas of Leave No Trace and Good Stewardship, but a willingness to protect Philmont.  The Tour of the Philmont Villa tells the story of Waite Phillips and his generosity to the Scouts.  It concludes with the question, although never spoken, but what will you leave behind?  How will your generosity manifest?  The Philmont grace reminds us of the good things that we have in life and that we need to be thankful for everything that has been given to us.  The conservation project leaves not only our mark on Philmont, but makes it better for Scouts that will one day pass on the trail that we lay before them, just as Scouts before us groomed the trail so that our Philmont experience was just that much better.  And the daily devotions led by the Chaplains Aide remind us as we sit among the Aspen and Purple Mountains that Philmont is greater than ourselves and truly is Scouting’s Paradise.
So when the passage tells us that “Philmont does something to people”… it certainly does.
I can honestly say that I have left Philmont, but Philmont has not left me.  Now it’s back to the daily grind and loving being back home with my family, but the Whispering of the pines still echo in my mind.
So what does Philmont do to people?  It changes them in many ways.  Some of the changes may not happen for a while, some came home different, but everyone changed.  They all tested themselves in one way or another.  They all found strength on the trail.  They all learned a skill or sharpened one.  They all found peace in the mountain.  They all had a great adventure.
Some fell in love with Philmont right away, while others took the whole trek, some are even still reflecting on how Philmont has made a change in their lives.  And yep, some still resist the whisper, but it’s there.
I am fortunate to have been able to go to Philmont, I am fortunate to be a Scoutmaster, and I am lucky to have walked the Country that I love.  Some of the Scouts find it hard to think beyond the next climb, they find it difficult to open their eyes and ears to what is around them.  The ‘coolest’ of Scouts will hear the whisper of the pines… it’s just a matter of time.  For the seven Scouts of 810-N2 and the other Advisor, I know we changed.  I find myself whistling the Philmont hymn and I catch myself singing ‘the Tooth of time’s been chewin’ on me’ as I go about my daily life.  I have relived the climb up to Shaefers peak and laugh to myself when I think about our Burro racing team at Harlan.  The walk in the rain from Ute Gulch into Cimarroncito and the bear sighting just outside of Hunting lodge all bring a smile to my face.  But I knew we had changed when I watched the crew as they sang the Philmont hymn at the closing campfire.  The mood was somber, but the look of satisfaction as they all sang together for the last time as a crew.  The next morning as they proudly wore their Arrowhead award, being marked among the Scouts that have completed a Philmont trek!  Yep, they changed. 
I look forward to watching these Scouts grow and take what they learned at Philmont and use it in life and in our Troop.  They are better people for the experience and I know that Philmont is a part of them.
If you have never been.. go… if you have been.. you know what I mean.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, High Adventure, Philmont, Service, Values | 1 Comment

Messengers of Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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

Prepared. For Life

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

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

Selfless Service

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

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

My Son, the Eagle Scout

Tonight my son was presented his Eagle Scout Award. I can not express in words how very proud I am of him.  Over the past 11 years him and I have been on a great adventure.  At times the trail was rocky and hard to navigate.  At other times the trail was smooth and wonderful to pass.
Over the past couple days we have been gathering the memories of his Scouting career.  He had a great experience in Scouting and I am glad that I was able to come along.
This video is the presentation that we showed at the Court of Honor tonight.  After the video he was given the Eagle Challange and Charge and repeated the Eagle Oath.  This was presented by my father, John’s Opa and our Troops Eagle Mentor.  He was presented his Eagle Certificate by my father in law, an Eagle Scout.  The voices you hear in the video are my wife (John’s mom), his twin sister, and me.  John’s brother, currently a Life Scout was the master of ceremonies.  There was a great crowd of Scouts, Scouters, family, and friends in attendance.  I am a little biased, but it was one of the finest Eagle ceremonies I have seen.  John delivered a wonderful speech about his Scouting experience and thanked many people for helping him along the way.
Enjoy the video.  I am so proud of this young man, he’s the kind of young man you would love to have as your son… but he’s mine and I am proud.

Categories: Advancement, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Service, stories, Values | 5 Comments

Methods- Patrols

The Patrol is, like the ideals, the foundation of the Troop.  The Patrol is where the Scout learns citizenship, it is where they practice democracy, leadership,  and teamwork.  It is where they find companionship, life long friendships, and a place where they belong.  The Patrol is unit of Scouting.  Whether for work or play, the Patrol is where Scouting happens!
In the Patrol you have democracy on the small-scale.  The boys choose the leader they would like to follow, they plan their own activities and take part in activities planned at the Troop level.  When they plan, they execute those activities together.
In a good Patrol, Scout spirit is steadily at work, prompting the participation of each Scout.  The 1947 Handbook for Scoutmasters says, “The life in the Patrol creates in its Scouts a strong feeling of comradeship, of obedience to a common cause, and the willingness to help and share so necessary in life.”
The Patrol eats together, camps together, cheers together, and pulls together when the going gets tough.  They share the joy of accomplishment, and put their heads together when they fail.  They learn together and assist one another in their Scoutcraft and other skills.
The Patrol elects its own leadership.  This is an important part of Patrol life.  The decisions the Patrol makes in choosing its leadership is up to them and should not be influenced.  The Patrol Leader grows as a leader and the rest of the Patrol develops strong skills at being good followers.  Soon ever Scout gets his turn, and he will reap the benefits of good followers when he steps up to lead.
The Patrol leader is part of the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC).  They run the Troop.  Using the Patrol Method, the Patrol Leaders Council will make decisions that have the best interest in the Troop in mind.  They will push the Patrols in directions of adventure, service, and committment to the Troop.  The PLC along with help from the Scoutmaster is heart of the Patrol Method.  When Baden Powell spoke of the Patrol Leaders Council he said, “… is not so much to save trouble for the Scoutmaster as to give responsibility to the boy- since this is the very best way of all means of developing character.”
I am a firm believer that the Patrol is the heart beat of the Troop.  Patrols that demonstrate spirit and enthusiasm tend to be great Patrols and have a lot of fun getting the most out of Scouting.
A note on the Patrol method.  There are NO ADULTS in Patrols.  Adults do not participate with Patrols and aside from the Scoutmaster have no say in the Patrol Leaders Council.  The Patrol method is not always pretty.  It takes on many shapes and sizes and the level of struggle will vary from Patrol to Patrol.  It is important for the Senior Patrol Leader to tackle as many of those struggles as possible.  He, after all is the leader that Patrol Leaders look to for the answer.
I have a pet peeve about adults calling themselves a Patrol in the Troop setting (outside of Wood Badge of course).  The Patrol method is to be led, practiced, and perfected by young men.
Give them a chance to run their Troop.  This is an important method, with out the Patrol method you do not have Scouting.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Citizenship, comments, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Patrol Method, Scouts, Service, Skills, teamwork, Values | Leave a comment

SMMPodcast # 104

Welcome back to the SMMPodcast, we dusted off the mic and got back to talking Scouting!  We are trying out a new segment.. “The Mobile Thought”..  In this show, we talk about Reverence, Troop Elections, and Youth Leadership.
Hope you enjoy the show.  Let me know what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Direct LINK
Listen here

Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, podcast, respect, Scout Law, Scoutmaster conference, Service, Values | Leave a comment

Delivering the Promise

At last nights Roundtable I was pleased to see a great turn out in the Boy Scout break out.  Last nights attraction was Camporee and what units can do to get ready for it.  We had about a half hour left so I thought it would be worth our while to talk a little District talk with the leaders that took their time to be at the break out.
Now first of all.. I have said it before, and I am sure I will say it again.. at Roundtable we typically are preaching to the choir, but there were plenty of newer faces in the room, so putting on my District Chairman hat, I stepped up front and spent a few minutes sharing some district news, reported back a little on the District Journey to Excellence Score card, and made myself available for questions.
Summer camp.  This became a big subject last night.  There are way to many units that still have not reported a summer camp sign up for this year.  It is a fact that Scouts that attend summer camp stay in Scouting longer.  We looked at the numbers. Only 1/3 of the scouts signed up for our council camps are from our council.  That means that lots of units from outside of our council are flowing into our camps.  That’s a great thing, except to say, that means that lots of Scouts in our council are not going to summer camp.
Retention.  Summer camp leads us to retention.  IF lots of Scouts are not going to summer camp, then its no wonder why they are not staying in Scouting.  Our numbers show that we are doing well crossing Webelos into Boy Scouts, and we are doing a great job getting boys to join Scouts “off the street”.  But we are not doing the best we can to keep them in Scouting.  It is no surprise that boys leave the program when they are not engaged.  If they are not having fun, or participating fully in Scouting, they will leave.  I mean, why stay?
Program.  Back when I was a new Scoutmaster, a mentor of mine shared with me that regardless of everything else the key to a successful unit is the program.  He said Program, Program, Program!  I have shared this here before to, my “Field of Dream” philosophy.  If you build the program, they will come.. and stay.  Monthly camp outs, Summer camp attendance, advancement focus, service opportunities all add up to great program.  Youth leadership that is driven to lead to the next adventure keeps them excited and wanting more.  A solid program at the unit level is the answer to most if not all of the problems we face in the Scouting movement.
Which brought me to the final point of the evening.  What is the role of the Council and the District?   Resourcing.  It is not the role of the Council or the District to run units.  They are there to assist in the administrative tasks, financial opportunities, and resourcing of program (materials, camps, etc).  I think too many people wait around for the Council or District to do things for them.  The unit is where Scouting happens.  It is where Scouts become men of character, good citizens, and discover fitness.  If you wait around for the council to do that, you will never be a successful unit.  The council and district can not build you a program that is successful.  They can assist with the resources that will help your success… but wait around and you will fail.
A question came up about the DE and his role.  Again, he is a resource manager.  He is there to raise funds, develop relationships in the community to build and grow scouting.  He is there to assist units in training, growing, and ensuring that the promise of Scouting is being delivered in those units.  But wait for him to do the work at the unit.  You will fail.  This is not a bad thing.  This is the way Scouting was designed.  Scouting is owned and operated by the volunteers that care to serve our youth.  Bottom line.  We are Scouting and we Deliver the Promise.  We, the volunteer.  Our District committee is made up of volunteers, our Council committee is made up of volunteers, but more importantly, our units, Packs, Troops, and Crews are made up of thousands of volunteers that every single day do something to deliver the promise of Scouting to the great kids that come seeking fun and adventure.
It was great to be able to talk with some of those volunteers last night.  As I looked at the room and saw the faces of the BSA, people that really care.  I know that all is well.  The numbers are the numbers, and they will come around.  The people care and will do what ever it takes to develop those programs to make Scouting the greatest.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, fitness, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Scoutmaster minute, Service, Summer Camp, training, Webelos to Scout Transition | 5 Comments

…And Conservation Minded

Last weekend I sat down with a rather large group of brand new Scouts.  Most of them came from the ranks of Cub Scouts, but some had not and so getting into the habit of saying oaths and pledges for the most part is something to get used to.  We pledge to do our best, we say the Scout Oath and Law, and we learn and pledge to be good stewards with the principles of leave no trace and the Outdoor code.
Now, the fellows that had earned their Arrow of light did a real nice job with the Oath and Law, new others picked it up alright, but they all struggled with the Outdoor code.
Some told me that they never heard of it, while others said that they just did not spend time learning it.  That’s ok I told them, in Boy Scouts not only will you learn it, but you will live it.
It’s a simple pledge, that I fear to many Scouts and Scouters take either lightly or not at all.  I have heard Scoutmasters that say, we have leave no trace, why do we need the Outdoor code.
Well for starters, its simple and easy to learn.  IF it is simple and easy to learn, it’s more than likely something the Scouts will use.
I teach the Scouts the 4 C’s.  Careful with fire, Clean in my outdoor manners, Considerate of others, and Conservation minded.
OK.. Careful with fire.. we all get that.  Clean.. yeah, we know to pick up after ourselves and leave it better than we find it, Considerate of others… that can be a challenge sometimes, but we know when quiet time is, and we know how to camp in smaller groups etc.  But Conservation minded?  This is a concept that many of the young men did not seem to grab ahold of.  They know about the environment, after all, that’s all they hear about in the Schools and on TV.  How we are running out of water, there are no more trees, and that we are all going to fry because of global warming.. errr.. climate change.
Well that is a real hard sell here in Oregon.. lots of trees, plenty of water, and it seems that the temps are never going to rise.  Anyway… we all know about being Environmentally aware, so what is with this conservation minded thing?
I consider myself a conservationist.  I believe that the outdoors is there for us to enjoy… but we need to take care of it.  I believe in being a good steward of the land and our resources.  Like the loggers here in Oregon and around the US.. for every tree they cut down they plant 11 more.  This is good stewardship.  Instead of blazing trails, we stay on established trails and we do not create new trails by cutting through switch backs.  We stay out of sensitive growth areas, we do not harm the land with fires when we don’t need them, we pack it in and pack it out.  We take fewer cars on outings.  Yeah, we fill every seatbelt before we add a car to the list, does this mean that some adult do not get to go.. sometimes, but it is all apart of how we can do our share to be conservation minded.
And then there is the service.  We repair trails, we clean up our nature area, we learn about the land we camp in and how we impact it.  Conserving what we have and not wasting our land, water, and other natural resources is being conservation minded.
It is when I sit with the new Scouts that I have an opportunity to share the BSA’s view point on this and teach them the outdoor code.  It is simple and easy to use.  I learn alot about them, and they learn alot about why we pledge the things we pledge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Citizenship, Ideals, Leave no trace, Motto, Oath and Law, respect, Service, Skills, training, Values | Leave a comment

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