Spending time with your Scouts on C.O.P.E courses is a wonderful experience. Scouts are challenged to step away from what they know is comfortable. The team building exercises and challenging tasks push Scouts to push themselves, not only for the sake of pushing themselves, but for the sake of the team. Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience courses test the Scouts to do their best.
The other thing that C.O.P.E teaches is the idea that Scouting is among other things a “Personal Experience”. Now it is wrapped up within Patrols, Troops, and buddy teams, but at the end of the day, it is up to the Scout to demonstrate self-reliance and have an attitude that he is willing to accomplish any task that he gets the personal experience. Our Method of Advancement is one way that is completely a personal experience in Scouting.
The Scout is responsible for his advancement. If he wants to be an Eagle Scout, there is nothing in his way except for himself. The requirements are clearly outlined in his handbook, he has the support of his Adult leadership, and he is driven to complete the task. Advancement is up to him. Not his buddies, his Scoutmaster, or parents.
The merit badge program is much like the advancement method in that it to is a personal experience for the Scout. There are required merit badges, but by and large with the large amount of badges spanning every vocation, hobby, sports, and skills, the Scout can pick and choose what he likes, wants, and needs to move forward with his Scouting experience.
Last night I talked with many of the new parents about Summer camp. They had questions about merit badges and what we expect the Scouts to do… more so… what merit badges I expect the Scouts to earn while at camp. My answer was received better by some parents than others. My answer was that it was up to the Scout on what he earns and how many merit badges he try to earn. My expectation is that they have fun at Summer camp. If that means 6 merit badges or no merit badges I am ok with that. “But we are paying a lot of money for summer camp” a parent said… yes I understand that. What do you think you are paying for? In my opinion we pay for the personal and shared experiences that are found only at Summer camp. Summer camp is a week-long C.O.P.E course. There are challenges, skills, and tests all week. How the Scouts handle those both as individuals and as a team determines the success of the week at camp. Merit badges and how many the Troop can earn is not the measure of success. In the end, not one merit badge will lead to a memory that they share. I can tell you stories all day long about the summer camps that I attended from 1978 to 1984. But I can only tell you 1 story about a merit badge, and it really had little to do with the badge, it had more to do with me falling asleep and getting lost while trying to earn it. My expectation is that the Scouts have fun and build a catalog of memories. I want them to have a great Personal Experience in Scouting. Have a Great Scouting Day!
In this show I have a lengthy chat with a fellow Scoutmaster and great Friend Bob Pierce. Join us as we talk a little bit about everything. Jamboree, Dutch oven cooking, Troop Guides, JLT, Anuual planning, Parents and Philmont just to cover some of the bases. It’s what happens Scoutmasters get together and shoot the breeze. The show was recorded on location at the Annual rendezvous of the Order of the Arrow at Camp Meriwether, so the crashing of waves and other camp sounds fill the background of this nice talk with my buddy Bob.
Hope you enjoy the show.
Please leave some feedback, drop us an email, or leave a comment in the comments section. Thanks for listening. Have a Great Scouting Day!
Over the last quarter of the year last year (2011) we received a bunch of new Scouts into the Troop. They all seemed real gung ho about joining and could not wait for the adventure to begin.
We are preparing for our first winter camp out with the new Scouts right now. In two weeks, we will be taking them up on Mt. Hood for their first weekend with the Troop and after the last few weeks and what’s left of January worth the training, they will step off on their Scouting adventure.
Last night at the Troop meeting the Scouts demonstrated layering. Each Scout showed up and was inspected by the older Scouts in their winter clothing. They were given a pass or no pass on their choice of winter clothing. They all did great.
I gave out a bunch of spare stuff I have been collecting and outfitted about 5 Scouts with pants, sleeping bags, and other cold weather items.
When these new guys crossed over in November we talked about gear expectations and what they needed to have versus what we would provide. I explained to them that they were joining at the perfect time.. Right before Christmas and gave them suggestions for their Christmas wish list.
So last night as I talked with a few of the new parents and answered their questions and concerns the subject of gear came up. It became obvious that lots of camping gear appeared under the Christmas trees of many of the Scouts.. nay.. all of the Scouts got some piece of new gear.
One of the new Scouts came up to me and said he was excited about the up coming camp out. He asked if he was going to be cooking for himself and his buddy on the trip.. I replied that most certainly he would be cooking if he was going to eat. He got a huge smile on his face and said . YEAH!!! I got a stove for Christmas! So I asked him what kind.. “The Jet Boil SOL” he said. Now, I have said before that I am not a big fan of the Jet Boil… but these new units are much improved.. so I may be swayed a little. Then the little guy got me… he said he’d been cooking on his new stove at home. I said fantastic. His mom chimed in stating that he had made spaghetti and a few Mountain House meals.. then the Scouts told me.. “A MINUTE 45!” I said “Whats that?” He said he can do Hot Choco in 1:45! His smile was from ear to ear. Just then, I had a crowd of the new Scout patrol around me.. They were all sharing with me all the cool camping gear they had got at Christmas. I was smiling and laughing with them.. and of course shared the list of cool camping gear I got for Christmas too. One of the mom’s told me that I had created a gear monster! SCORE ONE FOR THE SCOUTMASTER!
These new kids are ready to go and pumped up! They are embracing the adventure and I look forward to many adventures with them!
Last night’s Troop meeting was the Scoutmaster Pay off! Have a Great Scouting Day!
There once was two young Indian braves that were best of friends. They grew together, hunting, playing, and learning to be men in the tribe. Over time, both of these men caught the eye of a young women in the tribe, and they both began to try to win her heart.
As time went on, the young women favored one over the other and they began to court. This angered the other friend and he began to speak of his friend in ways that ultimately destroyed their friendship and the honor of young man preparing to be married. He said vicious things about his family, he talked about this character in ways that ruined the reputation of the brave.
One day as the two former friends passed, he noticed that he had truly hurt him, a tear was in his eye. The brave that slandered his fellow tribesman ran to the Wiseman of the tribe.
He asked the Wiseman if there was any way to repair the damage that had been done.
The Wiseman instructed him to go and climb to the highest peak, there he would find the nest of an Eagle. In that nest would be feathers, he was to gather up all of the feathers and bring them back to the village.
The young brave set off of the journey to the highest peak. Days upon days, he walked, always thinking about the things that he had done. He reached the mountain and began to climb until he finally found the nest on the peak. He gathered the feathers and started his journey back to the village.
He was greeted at the village gate by the Wiseman. “I have done as you instructed” he declared showing the feathers.
“Good, now return to the peak and let the feathers go.. let them fly to the North and the South, the East and West” said the Wiseman.
And so the brave turned and started his second journey to the peak. He arrived at the mountain top and let loose the feathers. They blew in every direction.
Upon returning to the village, the brave once again was greeted by the Wiseman. “I have let loose all the feathered and they have blown across the land” said the brave. “Good, my son, now go and pick up all of the feathers that you have scattered” the Wiseman replied. “That is impossible, I can never find, nor pick up all of the feathers that I have spread across the country side. There are to many, and I do not know where they have gone.”
“Such are your words” the Wiseman began, “Once you loose your words, like the ringing of a bell or the letting go of the feathers, you can never take them back or collect them again. They are gone, in the wind, and where they land you will never know. Hurtful words and words that bring pain and disrepute can never be taken back, so if you are to spread your words, make sure they are good and helpful. Words that heal and are friendly.”
The words of the Wiseman are so true. Words mean nothing, until they touch the ears of the listener. Make them count.
Think before you talk and be watchful of how you speak.
All of us can learn from this message, I have.
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.”
Every Troop has its traditions, customs, and special awards and recognition. I thought I would share with you a special award that our Troop does every year. This is my favorite award of the year and I take a great deal of pleasure in presenting this at our Court of Honor after Summer camp.
We call it the “Bobby Walker Award”. It is named after a Scout that used to be in our Troop. Now without going into to much detail on Bobby, lets just say that Bobby had a hard knock life. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a truly hard knock life… ok then now you get it. Bobby was brought to us by a sponsor from an organization in Portland. They were looking for some “other experiences” for Bobby to see and do. Well, much to everyone’s surprise Bobby took to Scouting like he was Baden-Powell son. He loved everything about it. He had a uniform, he had friends, he loved to camp and hang out with his new buddies, but most of all.. He LOVED Summer camp! When we arrived at Summer camp, Bobby fully immersed his whole being into the camp. He would work merit badges, spend lots of time at the water front (he learned to swim at summer camp), he loved the camp fires, the songs and skits, well… just everything that summer camp is supposed to be. The week at summer camp for Babby Walker was like a week in heaven.
After one particular summer camp I was so moved by watching Bobby over the week that we (the ASMs and I) decided to give him a special award. So I purchased one of those Boy Scout memorabilia boxes from the Scout shop and we presented it to him at the Court of Honor. We called it the Spirit of Summer camp award that year.
The next year Bobby had to leave our Troop. There was no good byes or reasons why, his sponsor just showed up without him one meeting night and with a tear in his eye told me that Bobby was “moving on”. I never asked any more about it, but it saddened me.
So the next year at camp the Troop and I decided that the award would be called the Bobby Walker award. Awarded to the Scout that demonstrated the best of what Summer camp is all about. To the Scout that immersed himself into the camp. Each year we give a Scout memorabilia box to the most deserving Scout as voted by the Assistant Scoutmasters and I.
This has become a great tradition in our Troop and each year the Scouts look forward to seeing who gets the Bobby Walker award. It is also a great opportunity to share the story with the Scouts to remind them that they are the lucky ones. I’ll do a post on that another time.
So what are some of the traditions and special recognitions of your Troop. Leave them in the comments section.
Ahh… yes we do need patches.. we love patches… are you kidding me?
I have been in Scouting since I was 7 years old. I have always “collected” patches from my Scouting experiences, places I have been, camps, councils etc. But it was not until last years Jamboree that I traded patches. All that time and I never traded a patch. Then I got the bug. Collecting and trading patches took on a whole new meaning for me at Jambo.
First, it is a terrific way of making new Scouting friends. What I loved about trading at Jambo was the conversations over the patches and the handshake at the end of the trading session.
Second, the patches themselves all tell a story. As I look back at the patches from my youth and the patches that I have received recently, they all tell of an adventure, a personal connection, or a great place that I saw. Not to mention the friendships that were made along the way.
And Finally, the fun I have with the collection. People collect many different things. Stamps, cars, baseball cards, Scouting literature. But Patches to me are a great Scouting tradition. They have been around for years and are a part of Scouting that connect us with the past and future.
Recently a bunch of us Scouters on Twitter started a Twitter Patch trade-o-ree… A patch is sent and another returned. So far my collection has grown with some really cool patches. Now so far the Twitter Trade-o-ree has been all CSP’s, but I can see more stuff happening in the future.
And why? Because these little pieces of embroidered cloth mean friendship, Scouting, and they all tell our story from the many corners of Scouting in which we live.
So many thanks to those of you that have already traded. If you would like to get in on the Twitter Trade-o-ree..
I am @smjerry.. shoot me a DM and we will trade. It’s been lots of fun so far.. and I have lots of room in my collection for more!
Join the fun of our Twitter Trade-o-ree!
Today marks the last day of the second 100 days of Scouting blog campaign. But as I thought about it, I remembered back to what my good friend Mike Walton who at the beginning of the #100daysofscouting blog campaign wrote about the first one. And that was “I live Scouting everyday”.
Now we bl0ggers like to share our thoughts, ideas, and sometimes just ramblings about Scouting and just because we are now 200 days into blogging about it through this online blog event. I agree with Mike in that we all do live Scouting everyday and so lets just talk about it, write about, and show the world that Scouting is alive!
Its my hope that all the great Scouting bloggers out there keep it.. call it what you want, but just keep sharing. I have been doing this blog since 2007, far more that 200 days and it has always been about my adventure in Scouting. Sharing the dream and helping to deliver the promise of Scouting. It is also my hope then that we continue to grow our Online Scouting community and we all share the adventure, the challenge, the leadership that is so evident in our blogs.
#100daysofscouting.. its been fun. So my challenge to you is to keep those blogs going. Give feedback to the blogs you read, and keep our Online Scouting community alive, and Live Scouting everyday!
I apologize that there will be no podcast out today… I intended to record while at Wood Badge, but for those of you that know what it is to be a Troop Guide.. well there is just no time. And so I will get back on track next week with some great Scouting programming. Have a Great Scouting Day!
Summer camp of 2006 took Troop 664 into the Jefferson Wilderness area and Camp Pioneer owned and operated by a great staff of the Cascade Pacific Council. The weather for the week was fantastic and we loaded up and headed to to Camp. When we arrived at camp, we went through the usual tour of camp, swim test, and set up routine. The afternoon of the first day is always laid back and full of information meetings and getting to know ya’s.
After lunch the Scouts had free time until dinner. Most of the Scouts of 664 decided it was high time to get their lines in the water and see about pulling in some nice brown trout that the lake at Pioneer is famous for. The Scoutmasters had to report to the Chapel at camp, the absolute best chapel in all of Scouting. The view is second to none, carved into the side of a slope with the lake at its feet and the best view of Mt. Jefferson in all of Oregon. The Chapel puts you right in Gods palm. As the Scoutmaster’s gathered Red hats dotted the banks of the lake and fishing had begun. It looked like the whole Troop was out there seeing who could get the first fish. As the lecture on Camp policies and procedures began, we noticed a young Scout on the bank, he looked to be fighting a whale. Immediately the lecture stopped as we all took in the sight of Summer camp memories being made. The pride that a group of Scoutmasters had for this young anonymous Scout could be seen in the smiles of the group as we all rose to our feet. Suddenly the fish was out of the water. And joyful Scout shouted to his buddies that he had a big one. Then as if looking for a nod of acceptance the Scout turned toward the Chapel found my red hat and made eye contact with me. I gave him a big thumbs up and yelled across the lake “WELL DONE CHAD!” His reply sent the group of Scoutmasters in to hysterical laughter. “WHAT DO I DO NOW? Chad yelled back.
Now concern for this poor fish took over as I excused myself from the meeting and ran to the other side of the lake. “I think its dead” one Scout said. “Give it CPR” said another. “Does this mean we have to Eat it?” came a voice from behind a bush. Amazingly the fish was still alive and it did in fact swim away after we removed the hook and held it in the water for a minute.
For the rest of the week we think we saw that fish a few more times, but not another fish was caught, not for a lack of trying, those lines stayed in the water all week long, every day before breakfast and after dinner the Scouts of 664 made an presents on the banks of the lake.
Chad got the first and only fish of the week, and in the process became a story for the Troop to last a life time.