teamwork

Inspiration

The last couple of days have been days that were inspiring for me.  Inspiring in a couple of ways, lets start with Veterans Day.
Our High School held its first ever “Living History Day” on Wednesday.  This was a day in which the entire school honored Veterans from all era’s.  Inspiring because of the hard work and dedication the student body put into the event.  Along with a coordinator, the students of the largest high school in the state put on a class A event.  Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were invited and in attendance.  They decorated the school with massive American flags and lined the street leading to the high school with hundreds of flags.  A local military museum had an old WW I tank in display as well as a 1910 Taxi from France.  The National Guard had some displays of current equipment, but it was the student body that really highlighted the experience.
The culinary class put out a nice spread of coffee and baked goods and made a wonderful lunch.  The JROTC cadets provided escorts that lead Veterans into the classrooms for 2 hours to talk with and answer questions from the students.  The student body dressed in shirts and ties and the girls wore nice outfits in honor of the special guests.
I was extremely impressed with the questions asked in the classrooms that I had the pleasure of being invited to.  At the end of the school day they held an assembly.  Because the school is so large they can not get the entire student body in one place at the same time, plus all of the Veterans, so the Freshman met in the small gym and listened to speakers from a number of conflicts.  The sophomores met in the performing arts center with a Holocaust survivor.  This brave man made a great impression on the kids.  His story was that of perseverance and will.
The Juniors and Seniors met in the main gym with the bulk of the Veterans.  One of the Tuskegee Airman gave a speech on making your mark in the world and both challenged and inspired the students.  There were recognitions of the services and some of the individuals that were in the gym that truly left a mark with their service.  I appreciate all the hard work that the students put into this event.  I was told by one of my son’s friends that is on the student council that the student government as well as many clubs and sports teams spent the better part of a week preparing for the event.  The day and night before, they stayed at the school and many slept at the school until the final details were complete.
I am proud of these kids.
The second part of this weeks inspiration came on the Football field last night.  Now, if you follow this blog you know that I love football.  I think that every one should participate in some team sport.  I may into that at another time, but for the sake of this post, lets just say that team sports develop in young people values and ethics that when coupled with Scouting, round them out in their growth and make them better people.  The Reynolds Raider Football team has been a program that has struggled for many years.  They have gone season after season without a winning record, there has been little pride in the program and the student body has been patient, but not very supportive.  Last year the school hired a new head coach that brought not only a new and exciting offense to the team, but a new attitude to the team in which the team meant more than the individual.  It has been a real slow go and last year the team won only one game.  Which given the previous years was an accomplishment.
This year the team has been sparked by an enthusiastic group of underclassmen and a solid core of Seniors.  What they lacked in skills and strength, they made up for in heart and grit.  Game after game, they went out and never gave up.  They won two games in the regular season this year.  Yes, only two games, but they scored a lot of points and in the games they lost, the margin was very tight, loosing one game in overtime.  The Oregon Student Sports Association (OSAA) has a unique playoff system in which the top teams get an automatic bid into the playoffs while the bottom teams are given one chance to “make it” into the playoffs to fill the remaining spots in the bracket.  they call this a “Play in” game.  The Raiders played in one of these games last Friday.  With no time left on the clock and down by 7 points, they scored a touchdown.  The coach decided to test his young men.  It was win or lose and the ball was placed for the point after.  They were going for 2 to win the game or go home.
A quick pass in the corner of the end zone and the Reynolds Raiders entered the Play offs for the first time in seven years!
Last night was that first play off game.  Lined up against the number one team in the State the challenge was great.  This would test the team in more ways than just making plays.
The Lake Oswego Lakers are a great team.  They are undefeated and possess all the skill, team work, and an established program that keeps them at the top of the brackets year after year.  Surely a game that would be easy to give up on, but the Raiders took the field last night and stood toe to toe with the best.  They saw how the number one team could move the ball at will and how a team that is dedicated to winning could impose themselves on anyone that lined up.
But here is the inspiring part, did the Raiders quit?  Give up and allow themselves to be taken out of the game?  NO.  In fact, they came out and fought hard on the field.  They passed the ball with precision and pressured the Lakers and made them earn their points.  Mistakes were made and at the end of the game it was not close, but the Raiders kept their heads up and learned from the experience.  The Lakers knew that playing against a 3 and 7 team should not have been a challenge, but showed a lot of class and respect for our team.  This too was a great lesson for our team.  Winning with class and having respect for your opponent.
Heart and dedication is building a football program at our High School.  Next will be better, and the year after will be better yet because of these young men on the field.
<DAD MOMENT>
As you all are also aware, Josh my youngest son, is the Starting Quarterback for the varsity team.  He is only a Sophomore and had a great season.  Last night facing number one, he threw for a touchdown and ran for one.  Those were the Raiders only two scores in the game.  He finished his first Varsity season with many great accomplishments including throwing 22 touchdown passes and well over 2150 yards of passing.  He helped take his team to their first playoff game and is part of the core that will move the team to future success.
</DAD MOMENT>
The final inspiration of the week came on Thursday night when our oldest son met with the District Advancement chairman and his team with his Eagle packet.  His application is in, paperwork complete, and now waiting on his Board of Review.
An accomplishment that I never achieved as a kid.  His hard work, dynamic leadership, and will to finish has earned him the right to join the ranks of those we call Eagle Scouts.  I am so proud of him and inspired by his work.  He turns 18 on Tuesday and Monday starts his final season Wrestling for Reynolds High School.  His hard work in Scouting, School, and on the wrestling mat has brought him many success and set him up for success in the future.
This has been an inspirational week for me.  Inspiration from youth!  I am sure we will be in good hands in the future if what I saw this week and what I see almost everyday is any indication.
Be inspired.. take a look at the kids around you.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Citizenship, Competition, Ideals, Leadership, Patriotism, respect, Service, teamwork | Leave a comment

When did things change?

I just came home from the High School.  I volunteer to work the concession stand during the JV Football games so the parents of JV players can watch their sons play.  There were a couple other Dads working with me and during the slow periods of the game, we had a chance to watch the game.  The JV player played their collective hearts out, but still came up short when the last tick of the clock passed.
The discussion that I had with the other Dads though was priceless.  The other night at our Troop meeting I talked during my Scoutmaster Minute about having heart… About never giving up and never letting failure get the best of you.
Today, those Dads and I asked each other when things changed.  Not that “when I was a kid” it was harder… but when I was kids giving up was not an option.  And it should never be an option now.  Our Varsity Football team has had a rough couple years, and I can see why there is frustration and bitter feelings, but this year they are 2-2 and have a promising schedule.  So why give up?  They got down in the last game and many of the players just gave up.  Lost cause?  Never.  Going to lose anyway?  Then go down with a fight!
You see failure is something that is easy.  It becomes an attitude and once you fail and do nothing about it.. it is so much easier to allow it again.  The next thing you know it is a habit.  With teenagers this needs to be nipped before it gets out of hand.
Life is hard and the sooner we expect our kids to be winners the better.  Failure is not an option in life.  Winning is everything.
OK…. SEND HATE MAIL NOW.
Or let me explain.
Winning comes in many forms.  The Score is not always the measure of a win.  Follow me here.  The JV team lost the game today 38-34.  They were down with 9 minutes left in the game.  They could have given up.  But they stayed in the game and played until the whistle blew signaling the end of the game.  They had the ball with 14 seconds left and were driving down the field.  One more play and they had a chance to win the game.  They fell short on the score board, but they did not get beat.  They walked into the locker room knowing that they played the game well and in the end… had a chance to win.  This chance will become the building block that will lead them to victories in the future.  The point here is that those players will not go away without learning from a missed tackle, a dropped ball, or a bad throw.  Yes ladies and gentlemen… when you make mistakes you live with the results.  A missed tackle leads to a score for the other team or a much-needed first down that leads to your loss.
That is life.  Not everyone gets a participation ribbon, and not everyone wins every game, but failing to try will lead to failure.
So when did things change?  When did it become ok to quit?  When did it become ok not to give 100%?  When did “Doing your best” not really mean your best?  Think about that… what does BEST mean?  It dies not mean I gave it a shot.. it does not mean I tried, but it got to hard so I quit.  It means BEST.
Here is how Best is defined:
adj. Superlative of good.
1. Surpassing all others in excellence, achievement, or quality; most excellent: the best performer.
2. Most satisfactory, suitable, or useful; most desirable: the best solution; the best time for planting.
3. Greatest; most: He spoke for the best part of an hour.
4. Most highly skilled: the best doctor in town.
adv. Superlative of well2.
1. In a most excellent way; most creditably or advantageously.
2. To the greatest degree or extent; most: “He was certainly the best hated man in the ship” (W. Somerset Maugham).
n.
1. One that surpasses all others.
2. The best part, moment, or value: The best is still to come. Let’s get the best out of life.
3. The optimum condition or quality: look your best. She was at her best in the freestyle competition.
4. One’s nicest or most formal clothing.
5. The supreme effort one can make: doing our best.
6. One’s warmest wishes or regards: Give them my best

I think that it would serve our young people to look at that definition and see if they, when they say they did their best are they at least within the definition?
So I wonder when things changed.  No one would ever dare give up when I played ball in school.  Our team mates were our friends, they were the guys that we knew we could count on, we knew they would never give up.  I don’t see that in all the kids today.  They are more concerned about themselves and not their team mates.  Life lessons missed.  In life they will need to be dependable, they will need to be counted on.  Giving up now will set them up for quitting later.
Maybe it’s just me and those two other Dads in the snack shack today.. but hope was restored watching that JV team.
This is all just as relevant in Scouting.  Quitting on a patrol, giving up when the challenge is to hard, not finishing when you are being counted on.  All of these tests of character beg the question, when did things change?

“I’ll never give up; cause if I do; I give up on the ones beside me; I’ll never give up; cause if I do; I give up on the ones who believe in me; if the person next to me is down; I will pick him up; and he the same; I’ll never give up; I’ll believe in the cause; I’ll fight to the end; and WE WILL WIN!… THIS IS THE RAIDER PROMISE” – 

This is the Raider Promise, they say this before and after ever game, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone made a promise to never give up, to help other people at all times, to live a set of values, to be a good member of a team or patrol.  Wouldn’t it be nice?
And you wonder why I think sports are valuable…

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Competition, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Patrol Method, teamwork, Values | 2 Comments

Challenge

This past weekend our Troops plan was to float a portion of the Deschutes River in Central Oregon.  We all knew going into this activity that there was risk as well as the opportunity to challenge our selves.  What we could never plan for was how well the Scouts did in the adventure leading to the adventure.
The Big River Campground is three and half hours away from our meeting hall, so we left a little earlier than we typically do to give us time in the day light to set up camp and relax for the night.
An hour out of town one of the cars in the convey starts “acting up”, so we pulled over, checked out and pushed on.  Two hours into the trip that same car came to its final leg in a town called Madras.  The car was finished, could not move.  So we parked it and started planning on first how to recover the car and then second how to keep moving to camp.  We decided to leave the car where it sat, right behind the Sonic.  The owner was kind enough to let us keep it there.  The next part was a bit more of a challenge.  We had to transport 4 Scouts and a Driver to Sunriver… another hour and half.
We squeezed one more small Scout into a seat belt and left the remainder at the Sonic with the driver.  The rest of the Troop moved on to the campground.
On the return to the Sonic from the campground one of the ASMs that was the shuttle car struck a deer on the highway.  The deer was extremely hurt and so a call to 911 sent the State Police to the scene.  They took car of the deer filled a report and the ASM was on his way back to Madras.  Not a scratch on his car.
They loaded up the car and turned around heading to camp.  By the time they arrived in camp it was 3 AM.
So where are the Scouts during all of this… well most of them do what all Scouts do when they get in the car… sleep.  But what was surprising was the first year Scouts that proved that they wanted to be helpful.  They volunteered to stay back.  They helped unload, move and reload gear, they seemed to be everywhere doing everything.  Hats off to them.
The adventure on the water was amazing.  We floated the river returning back to camp around 6:30 PM.  Needless to say spending a day on the river, a lot of the boys having a limited amount of sleep made for a real quiet night in camp on Saturday.
On the way home we rearranged all the kayaks and stopped into Madras to get the broken down car.  We got it into the boat trailer, again the Scouts of the Troop giving 100% in chipping in to help as went and got the Troop Cheese Burgers and Fries.
We ate and returned home.  Stories to tell and adventure had by all.
That’s what its all about.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, canoe, Character, High Adventure, Scout, teamwork | 1 Comment

Train ‘em, Trust ‘em,….

I have said this so many times it is almost becoming cliche’.. but I’ll say it again…
TRAIN ‘EM, TRUST ‘EM, AND LET THEM LEAD!

Last night the SPL of our Troop held the Patrol Leaders Council meeting.  Because of a work conflict, I knew that I was not going to be able to be there, but two of the Assistant Scoutmasters of the Troop would be attending to maintain a safe environment and open up the meeting hall.
I called into the PLC for my two minutes of points that needed to be passed on from the committee and things that I thought needed to be attended to.  It was fun for the Scouts to be on a conference call with the Scoutmaster.  The SPL put his iPhone on speaker mode and placed it in the middle of the table.
I spoke my piece and asked if any one had questions.. then said good-bye.
Later that evening I got a call from… yeah.. you guessed it.. “Frustrated Dad”.  He wanted to know why I was not at the PLC meeting and who was running this show?  Well the answer to the second part was obviously easy.. The SPL is running the show.  As to why I was not there.. Work, sorry, moving on.
Once again I had to explain to him that I trust the SPL.  I know that he has been trained and mentored well and that we had talked before the meeting so he could bounce he agenda off me.  He will be shooting me an email sometime today also to recap the meeting.  Not that I asked.. he just does it.
When we train the Scouts, trust them to do the right thing, and let them do the leading.. they do pretty darn good.  The decisions that they are making, planning for, and executing are shaping them to be better leaders.  They are practicing communication skills, working with others, and yes learning from mistakes also.
The question was asked, “How can you teach them if you are not there?”  Well, I said, I am there.. I am there for them always.  I will be able to coach and teach the SPL when ever he needs it.  Again, going back to the prep work that the SPL did before the meeting.  That was a good time to coach, and I did. 
Remember that Baden-Powell told us never to do what a boy can do for himself… well that does not stop at setting up his tent and fluffing his pillow.. that is directed at the leadership of the Troop.  Never lead the Troop.. that is why they hold elections and serve.
I had to remind Mr. Frustrated that none of the adults in Boy Scouts have the word “LEADER” on their patch..  That stops at DEN LEADER…

Well, I am proud of our PLC, they held a meeting, that I am sure went well, they are leading the Troop, which I know is going well, and they are having fun.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, comments, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Patrol Method, planning, Scouting, teamwork | 1 Comment

Somewhere between a Rock and Hard Place

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!

Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, Character, Climbing, High Adventure, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Patrol Method, Risk Management, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, Skills, teamwork, training | 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

Standing on the shoulders of Giants

When I became a new Scoutmaster a good friend took me aside and gave me some great advice.  He told me that its all about the Troop program.  We were building a Troop from scratch and so he assured me that if we built a great program, the Scouts would come and we would have a troop that would do great things.
That was 7 years ago.  We built a great program and as the Scouts got older they all added to that program building it stronger and stronger each year.  Annually our District, like every other District in the BSA hosts their District Dinner or Annual Awards Banquet.  For the past 4 years Troops 174, 544, and my Troop (664) have been competing for the Troop of the Year.. Trading off between the three of us, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, typically separated by 1 or points between Troops.  My Troop has never been number one.. until now.
Last year Troop 174 won the top honors and we came in a very close second.  There was a 3 point spread between 1st and 3rd place.  This year there was a 4 point spread between 1st and 4th place and once again the three Troops were in the hunt.  When they announced that Troop 544 was third place, I immediately thought.. “Well, we got second again this year”, then they announced that 174 was the runner up.  My committee chair looked over at me and we smiled.  “And the Troop of the Year is 664!” our Awards chair announced.  7 years of building and working with our Scouts to build this program and here it is the Troop of the Year for our District.
I am proud of the work that the Scouts have done, the support of a fantastic committee, and the dedication of some great Assistant Scoutmasters that made this all happen.
It all started with a Giant helping me get started.  Thanks

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: planning, Service, teamwork | 1 Comment

A game with a purpose

You can not escape the Wood Badge experience without hearing “Game with a purpose” at least 100 times and the reason is that all of it is a Game with a purpose.  Scouting is a Game with a purpose and so when you do Scouting you should always play the game.
Young men learn better when they are engaged in play.  The develop teamwork, practice fairness, express a healthy competitive spirit, get physically fit, and above all have fun.
Every game we play in Scouting can be a learn adventure.  A simple game of Sharks and Minos can be a lesson in team work, fair play, and fitness.
Games that require skills and provide a mental challenge are great ways to build the team, test leadership, and communication.
In short, this game that we play has meaning, a purpose.  To support the Aims of Scouting.
Tonight our SPL and JASM had a great game for the troop during their interpatrol competition time.  Straw rockets.  A simple game that required the Patrol leaders to communicate, assign tasks, follow through with the project.  Each Patrol was given a brown paper bag and told to use the contents to move their rocket down a line that was suspended between two chairs.
In the bags were 2 straws, 2 balloons, some tape, and 2 paper clips.
The Patrols went at it.  They had 14 minutes to build their rockets and have them ready to launch.
The Patrols that worked together and stayed focused on the task did well, the patrols that made the choice to mess around did not.  One of the Patrols had a real cool looking rocket and it won.  They worked well together, assigned tasks and proved that working together they could accomplish anything.
The SPL conducted a short reflection of the activity before I did the Scoutmaster Minute on Team work.
I love it when we see the game being played and played well.
Play the game!

By the way, in the picture above are the three of the Scouts in the New Scout Patrol being guided by their SPL in the making of their rocket.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Competition, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Patrol Method, Scouting, Skills, teamwork | Tags: | Leave a comment

Failure.. Learn from it!

Here is a great video that is inspiring and leads you to that next level of finding your High Performance life!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Leadership, Risk Management, teamwork, Values, Wood Badge | Leave a comment

SMMPodcast Show #81 – Backpacking w/ Ken

In this show I sit down with District Trainer and avid Backpacker Ken Hall and discuss planning the 50 miler.  Lots of great information for planning your next long trip, or short trip too.
Leave feeback or drop an email.
This show is sponsored by the Boy Scout Store.
Listen to the Show :  SMM81

On next weeks show I have two very special guests and friends.  My District Commissioner and our District Vice Chair for Program.  We sat down and talked about Youth Protection and how it has effected this years recharter.

Have a Great Scouting Day! 

Categories: Backpacking, High Adventure, Leadership, podcast, teamwork, training | Tags: | 1 Comment

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