Just a Quick note to the Blog Followers.

1450824_244807472343666_426054249_nI just hit ‘Publish’ on my latest post and thought that I needed to drop a quick note to all of the followers of the blog.
As you may have noticed, I went from daily posts to more random, less frequent posts lately.  There is no lack of interest or passion.  I am just busier than heck right now and the blog had to take a back seat.
As you should know if you have been following, our youngest Son, Josh is graduating from High School this week.  Now under normal circumstances that would mean family coming into town, parties and of course the graduation ceremony itself.
With Josh being recruited to play college football it has also meant long rides down to California where he will be attended college, time spent on the phone with coaches, getting him into the School, dorms etc.  Football players are required to take Summer term also as they are on campus practicing.  So we have gone from 0 to 60 in days.
I do not want to sound like I am complaining, but this process is not an easy one.
For Josh there was a lot of uncertainty as to where he would be going to School.  While his classmates all filled out college applications early in the year, most being accepted as early as April, Josh had to wait to see which college was going to take him to be on the football team.  In most cases this process can go right up to graduation.  We were luckier in that we had a month to get it all done.
In talking with other parents that are going through this and college coaches we have learned the reality is that there just are not a lot of Division 1 athletes out there.  You know the guys that you hear about on ESPN or go on to get full rides at Notre Dame.  There are thousands of high school football players that will never play another game after high school.  So between Div 1AA, II, III, NAIA, and JC there is a ton of competition for those limited roster spots.  It only takes a visit, an injury, or a phone call for everything to change at the last-minute of your high school life that will impact where you go, if you go, and what you will do next.
For us as a family this has been stressful and exciting at the same time.  Josh landed in a good spot.  Today, he is not a DIV 1 athlete, like most of the high school players around the nation.  That is reality, but his dream and opportunity live on and he has the chance of one day being that guy that made his dream come true.
So the blog has suffered a little in this period of transition as we have done what we can to move our son forward.
I am still working my blog ticket.. and it is coming along, slow but sure.
Thanks for your patience and your comments.
Thanks for hanging in there.
Thanks for coming back, again and again.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Where do they go from here?

gradsIt’s that time of the year.. Graduation season.  And in a lot of cases, it’s Eagle Scout season too as the young man becomes motivated by his up coming 18th Birthday.  So Congratulations to all the Grads and New Eagle Scouts this year.
Thursday night I attended the graduation ceremony of my nephew.  He is also our Troops newest Eagle Scout.  As we sat in the coliseum waiting for the graduation to start, I took a look at the program.  In it was a list of the graduates of the Gresham High School Class of 2014.  Quickly my eyes moved to find Lucas’s name, but as I scanned the page my eyes caught other names.  Jacob P, James P, Jeffery D, Jake R… These were all Scouts that have been in our Troop.  Over time some of them lost interest, had other obligations, and even earned their Eagle award and still participate.  There were other names of young men that I know from other Troops in our area.  I have watched them grow through the Order of the Arrow and other Scouting activities.  As I looked over the names I found them in the crowd.  They are all grown up.
After the graduation was over I went looking for these guys to wish them well and congratulate them.  For some it was the first time I had seen them in a while, for others we talk regularly.  The common thought that ran through my mind was how grown up they all looked on Thursday night.  Reflecting back on when they crossed over into the Troop, their first camp outs and some of the funny things they had done to bring a spark in our Troop.  Then the question repeated over and over again through out the crowd was, “What are they going to do now?”, “Where do you go from here?”
Some are going off to college in the fall, some are going to trade schools.  Some are heading into the Service, and some still are kind of undecided.  On the list of names was a list of the Scholarships and the graduates that are receiving them.  I was pleased to see that our guys are doing well.  Everyone of the Scouts from our Troop are going on to do something that they have passion for and will better themselves.  Jacob was the big surprise of the evening.  I have not seen him in some time.  He is a young man who has always had a rough go, a tough family situation, and the chips never seemed to fall in his favor.  He is going to college in the fall and received a Scholarship that will help him see his dreams come true.  I spoke with him briefly after graduation.  He said he was sorry that he did not stay in Scouting.  I explained to him that I understood.  He then told me that the reason he is the person he is today is because of the time he spent in our Troop.  Not the rank or merit badges, but the life lessons and skills that he learned.  The way to be a man and live a life of Character.  He asked if he was allowed to hug me, I said yes.  We parted ways with a smile and a promise that I will be there when he graduates from college.
Where do they go from here?
My youngest son is graduating also this year.  Thursday night of this coming week.  Josh spent many years in our Troop also and had to make a choice to play Football or stay in Scouts.  He picked Football, but not until he and I talked and looked at his dreams.  Josh has had the dream of playing in the NFL since he was in 3rd grade.  He set his goals high and worked hard.  He would throw that football for hours working on accuracy.  Then as he grew he got faster, stronger, and more knowledgeable about the game.  He understood the steps to getting to the NFL.  High School football, College football, get his degree, and never stop getting better.
He played every down in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades and then won the starting job in Middle School.  As a Freshman he started at Quarterback on the Freshman team and was the 3rd string QB on the Varsity team.  His Sophomore year he became the starting Quarterback of the Varsity team and played in the position until the last snap of his Senior year.  College Scouts looked at him, recruited him, and he knew that his dream was going to come true.  It’s just a matter of where.  Southern Oregon University finally offered him a Red Shirt QB position on the team.  But with it comes no guarantee that he will play.  If you do not play, you do not get better and you do not get seen.  The College of the Redwoods had been watching Josh and gave him an offer to actually play.  He took it.  Josh will be playing Football in College starting this year.
Determination, Patience, and a strong work ethic drove him to seeing his dreams come true.  Step by step he is making his dreams a reality.
This has been a long and hard road for him and our family.  Thousands of miles on the road to camps and college visits.  Thousands of dollars in fees, hotels, and gas for the truck.  It is has taken time and energy, pain and lots of tears.  But in the end, it is all coming alive the way he wants it.
I was told once by a mentor of mine, that the job of a Dad (among other jobs) is to make our kids dreams come true.  My oldest Son is serving in the Army.  Little did we know that he always had a vision of serving and doing great things in the Military.  My example and teaching him over the year that he grew up the son of a Sergeant Major lead him to success in finding his path.  I still want him to go to college, and would love for him to be home, but I know that he is finding his way.. his way.
Our Daughter is going to college to ultimately serve in the area of Childhood development.  I am so proud of this kind-hearted, sweet young women.  She is blossoming into beautiful young lady with a heart of gold.
When I look at the young men that come through our Troop, I wonder, where do they go from here.  Have we done everything we can to prepare them.  Do they know that life does not hand out participation ribbons and at times it is very difficult to navigate the challenges.
My Scouts and My kids have shown me those answers.  Character, Determination, and finding your dream is the key.
It does not matter where they go or how they get there.  It is what they do with it once they arrive that I come to find out is most important.
They don’t all go to college, but have great lives.  They don’t all make a million dollars, but are rich in their hearts and minds.
I am proud of all of them.
Congratulations to Lucas my nephew and Josh, my youngest Son!  And Congratulations to all of the young men that passed through our Troop and are proving today that Scouting mattered in their lives.
Congratulations to the Class of 2014!
“So long as your desire to explore is greater than your desire to not screw up, you’re on the right track. A life oriented toward discovery is infinitely more rewarding than a life oriented toward not blowing it…Don’t be afraid of fear. Because it sharpens you, it challenges you, it makes you stronger; and when you run away from fear, you also run away from the opportunity to be your best possible self.” - Ed Helms, Commencement Address at Knox College 2013.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Communicate for results

bullhornCommunicating effectively became crystal clear for me while I was a Student in the US Army Ranger School.  One minute you are chest deep in water slogging your way through a swamp and the next minute you are being told you are now the leader and you have 5 minutes to find out what the heck is going on.  A quick transfer of information from one leader to the next and you are off to complete the mission.  You learn right then how effectively the briefing was communicated to you and you learn even faster that the guy ahead of you did not pay attention.  You success or failure is now in the hands of a tired, hungry, wet, and miserable Ranger that you are trying to glean as much information out in 5 minutes.
What becomes indelibly marked in your brain is that the more ineffective, ambiguous, or unclear the communication, the more the follower must and will assume.
Assumption is never a good thing when a task is supposed to completed to a certain standard or completed the way in which the leader has seen in his vision.
That vision must be clearly shared and expressed in such a way that everyone has a clear understanding of what you want.  If it is not, they will assume and you will not get the results you are looking for.
As part of the leadership principles we teach our Scouts, Communicating effectively will reduce the amount of drama, conflict, and failed results that the Junior leader will have to endure.
The leader can make his life easier by starting with clear communication.  This is a skill that must be practiced over and over again.  It is imperative that the leader be given the chance to practice and fail if necessary to  develop good communication habits.
If you want results, you start with effective communication.  As an adult leader allowing ineffective communication from your youth leaders in unacceptable.  Teach, coach, train, and mentor them to better communication skills.  Allow them to make mistakes, but not make the mistakes the norm.
Every Scout has the ability to communicate effectively.  Styles may differ, but if they want to be successful, they need to develop good communication skills and use them.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Meet the new President

Allow me to share this video of our New National Scout President.  Dr. Robert Gates.
You know his resume… so I will not share that.  I listened to this 27 minute speech given at the National Meetings with some interest.  I want to know what he is planning on doing to impact Scouting during his two-year term.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Rex Tillerson, the previous National President.  I thought he helped move Scouting forward.  I have great hope in what this new administration will do, especially after listening to this speech.
I really liked his closing.  I think he is spot on.
Enjoy.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Liberty

soldiersalute
Our Nation remembers today those that have given for our Country.  Their motives all different, their sacrifice great.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
That is in the heart of those that serve and have served.  Articulated in many ways, but there just the same.
God Bless those that serve and have served, especially on this Memorial Day.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Memorial Day 2014

bluestarEach passing year brings new or rekindled emotions as we enter the Memorial Day weekend.  This past year I have sparked new interest in my status as a Veteran as I have renewed some friendships with men that I served with long ago and have taken a look at my career as a soldier and the what that all means now that I am removed from that part of my life.
What I have learned more than anything else is that the bonds and at a risk of sounding cliché, the brotherhood shared with the men that I served with are lasting.
This morning I watched a TED talk.  The subject was “Why Veterans miss war”.  I thought, this guy must be out of his mind.  The speaker is Sebastian Junger, he was an “embed” that is what we called embedded reporters, those reporters that become a part of a unit through the time of their deployment.  Junger was embedded with a unit in Afghanistan, a unit made famous by the documentary “Restrepo”.  Junger followed the 2nd Platoon B Company 503rd Infantry of the 173rd Airborne.  Again, I thought this guy was an absolute nut case, but I thought to myself; “Well, I’ve seen the movie and it tells the story of pretty much what any Infantry Platoon is like, so I’ll listen to his talk”.  His point is that they do not miss the battle, they don’t miss the conditions or the locations.  What they miss when they get home is the brotherhood.  The idea that there is no one in our daily lives that will ever understand the bond and the love that we have for one another.  The absolute trust that this man to my left and the man to my right love me enough to give their life for me.  They know that in their daily contacts there is no one that will do that in Anytown, USA.  That bond is left on the battlefield, in the FOB (Forward Operating Base), in the camp.  They will never have that contact again in the context that it belongs and so they miss war.
My war-time experience was a little different in that by the time the Army saw fit to send me to war, I had progressed through the ranks and now was in a position at the Battalion level.  680 soldiers in our care, the Commander and I knew that beyond good decision-making our soldiers were in the hands of those men directly to their left and right.  This is a weird position to be in as we knew what it took to be at those squad and platoon levels, but now were removed to a certain extent from “their world”.  The brotherhood and bond though in an Infantry Battalion remains the same.  My love for those soldiers was and ever will be deep and true.
As the Senior Non Commissioned Officer of the Battalion it was my charge to ensure that the NCO’s of the Battalion were trained and ready to serve their men.  I can remember the day before we deployed to Iraq I called all of the NCO’s of the Battalion together.  From the Team Leaders all the way up through the First Sergeants.  I shared some thoughts about leadership and keys that will get up through the next year.  The final thought was simple.  Love your men.  When you love them you will serve them.  Know that you will not be able to shelter them or put a bullet proof force field around them, but every decision you make, every move that take, you need to put them ahead of yourself.  That bond of trust and love made us successful.  It was not easy and not without pain and decent, but the NCO’s of my Battalion understood that no matter the mission, the circumstances, or the decision, we would take care of our soldiers.
It’s weird to look a man in the eye and wish him well as he is about to leave the safety of the FOB and enter bad guy country.  Could that the last time you see him?  I had many close friends that I served with, men that at one time or another we developed friendships and bonds that proved painful on days that we knew would be bad.  One such soldier was Scott Shobert.  Scott and I served for years together, he always being in a subordinate role.  Squad leader when I was a First Sergeant etc.  Scott later became a Sergeant Major also and is now retired.  One evening Shobert was taking his Platoon out on a patrol to set an ambush along a know route that the insurgents used to move supplies.  They also knew that this route was used by US forces to move supplies in and out of Baghdad.  On this particular evening there was a weird feeling flowing through the camp and the platoon seems a bit antsy.  I talked with Scott before they mounted up.  He had his platoon doing Pre Combat checks and he turned to me and smiled.  “We’ll be alright Sergeant Major” he said.  “I know” I said.  As he jumped into the back of the 5 ton, the last man to load, I reached up and shock his hand.  That weird feeling that I may not see him again.  It was that moment that I really got it.  That feeling of brotherhood.  The Battalion Commander walked up and said that he wanted someone from HQ to have eyes on the ambush that night, there was a container with US equipment broke down in the area and it was pretty high on the priority list that we care for it.
I told the Commander that I would go.  My driver and I got ready and followed the Patrol out and joined them.  The rest of the company moved into that area later in the night and the ambush was set.  As we lay there in tall grass overlooking the ambush site, I could hear the nervous energy coming from the men of the support by fire position.  Chewing gum like it was the last piece on earth savoring each and every chew.  One soldier looked at and asked what the hell I was doing there.  I told him that I was there to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid.  He smiled at me and said “yes mom”.. we let out a quiet chuckle.
What happened the rest of that night doesn’t really matter and surely does not need to be shared in this context.  The point is that is what I miss.  So I suppose Junger is right.  We do miss it.
On the other hand.  This Memorial Day, I think about all the men that I served with, especially those that rest eternally in the Great Assembly area.
I fly a Blue Star Banner in my window at my house.  This is the same Blue Star Banner that my wife flew for me.  Now it serves my neighborhood as a reminder that my Son is serving and will one day answer the call.  Today, he is developing that bond that I know so well.  Today, my son is a part of the Brotherhood of Infantrymen, like me that know what it means to look left and right and commit to never, ever letting that man down.  That is something that does not exist here.  There are people in our neighborhood that do not know what the banner means, they don’t understand why my flag fly’s proud in the front yard.  They will never know.  They say “Thank you for your service”, but for the most part do it because they are supposed to now a days.
goldstarThere is a woman in our community that flies a Gold Star Banner at her home.  Her husband was one of my Soldiers.
This Memorial day, I think of him.  Staff Sergeant Brad Lindsey.  Killed in Action.
I can honestly tell you that I never want to trade my Blue Star for a Gold one… but this day.. above all others we Honor those that bear the burden of that Gold Star and remember the Soldier that the Star represents.
This Memorial Day Weekend stop for 10 minutes and remember.  It is impossible in America today not to be effected by the loss of a Soldier.  In every community, in every Town, City, and State of our Country we have felt the sting of the loss of a Soldier.
The only day of my Army career that I ever shed a tear was at the funeral of Lindsey.  His loss hurt me deep.  He was a good man, he was a great husband and father.  He was my radio operator when I was a First Sergeant and proved himself a good Soldier.
Take time and thank them, Honor them, talk to the living, and pray for dead.  Most of all Love them.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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What Pleases Jerry

IMG_6206It is interesting to hear what our Scouts think and say.  At most of their ages, they have not yet learned to filter their conversations based on who they are around or what the circumstances may be.  On the way to our last camp out a younger Scout asked an older Scout what they had to do at the camp out.  The response from the older Scout was this, “What ever pleases Jerry.”
Now I know this young man and I know that he was being sarcastic to a point, and on the other hand, I know that his comment was directed at the fact that I hold the older Scouts to a higher standard and ask them to demonstrate leadership.  This Scout would much rather sit around and do nothing in most cases… and by and large, that is exactly what he and his buddy did during the last camp out.
What this and other Scouts fail to realize is that his response to the younger Scout is actually 100% accurate.  “Whatever pleases Jerry” is actually the right answer.
So what pleases Jerry?
1.  When the Scouts have fun.
2.  When the Scouts learn.
3.  When the Scouts demonstrate leadership.
4.  When the Scouts seek and find adventure.
5.  When the Scouts develop the bonds of a high performance team.
6.  When the Scouts have a sense of accomplishment.
7.  When the Scouts get the opportunity to see and do something new.
8.  When the Scouts practice leadership and find success in their skills.
9.  When the Scouts learn that winning is better than losing in life.
and finally…
10. When a Scout looks back on Scouting, smiles, and knows it was worth his time.
That is what pleases Jerry.
So Mr. Older Scout… you nailed it!  And guess what.  The Scout you told that to lived up to that expectation.
Thank You!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, comments, High Adventure, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Oath and Law, respect, Scouts, Skills, Values | Leave a comment

Setting your bar higher

I always tell the Scouts of my Troop that mediocre is never good enough.  Expect more of yourself and always do your best.  Don’t just do good… Good may not be good enough and if you start early in life expecting more you will achieve more later in life.
We see every day in the world around us people who expect little of themselves and don’t even try.  They live mediocre lives and get very little out of life.  These people complain a lot and expect every one else to be as unhappy as they are.
Last night I attended my son’s Track and Field awards celebration.  His last year in High School track.  Josh is a sprinter and part of the relay teams.  The track coach shared some thoughts at the start of the program that I thought hit the nail on the head when it comes to our discussion of doing your very best in life and never settling for mediocre.
He shared the story of a French pole vaulter named Renaud Lavillerie.  In February of 2014 Lavillerie set the World Record by vaulting an incredible 6.16 meters, that’s 20.21 feet.  HOLY SMOKE!!  Do you know what 20.21 feet looks like?  Take a tape measure and measure that out in your house.  Or lay that on your house.  As I listened to this great accomplishment I could not help but thinking about what it took to get there.
He had to start with the bar set at a certain height and once he cleared it, it was on to the next height.  But what made him want to keep pushing it higher and higher.  He is not mediocre.  He was not going to settle for less.

Not settling for less is what is important.  I often see Scouts and people in general that tend to settle for less.  They “Max the minimum” as one leader told me once when looking at a group of people that we giving less than 100%.  Allowing yourself to never to set the bar higher than you think you can jump will keep you from achieving your potential.  You have no idea what that is until you push your limits.
I watch our Scouts when they first attempt climbing.  They lack trust and confidence in themselves.  That is because they have never pushed themselves beyond their comfort zone.  They are comfortable keeping the bar set low enough to see one success after each other meaningless success.  Success is only good once for each task.  Once complete you should strive for the next level of success and so on.
Setting your bar higher will lead you to achieving greater things.  In our Troop we have the 5 leadership Principles that will make you a better leader.  They force you to set your bar higher.  Learning to lead yourself can be painful and uncomfortable.  It makes the leader see where the bar is and asks the question are you willing to move it up.  Focusing on the small things again force the leader to not accept mediocre behavior.  Like the pole vaulter the little things allowed him to run, plant the pole, and whip his body over incredible heights.  He could not have done the big thing without focus on the smaller things.  Modeling Expected behavior is hard.  It requires that you are your best all the time.  That is what we want.. the best.  So you must as a leader model what Best looks like.  Best then pushes us to raise the bar.  Communicating effectively too asks us to raise the bar in how we share our ideas and thoughts with other people.  It requires us to use multiple modes of communication and then evaluate that communication to ensure it is effective.  And finally being a Servant Leader.  In the world we live in today, where self if more important than others it is refreshing to see people raise their bar and become a leader in serving other people… at all times.  This is a bar that is higher than any one can leap, but a bar that can be achieved within the heart.  It is bar that needs to be set high and reached, and then set higher.  It is not till the leader becomes a servant that he will ever be an effective leader.  That bar needs to be realized in each of us.
Setting your bar higher will give you a better, richer, more full life.  Set your bar higher!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Delivering the scolding… or promise?

BP“The Scoutmaster teaches boys to play the game by doing so himself.”
“The Scoutmaster guides the boy in the spirit of another brother.”
“The spirit is there in every boy; it has to be discovered and brought to light.”
“There is no teaching to compare with example.”
“To get a hold on boys you must be their friend.”
I know that it is bad form to start with a list of quotes, but all of these quotes are from the founder of Scouting, Baden-Powell.  They come to mind when I look back on this weekend and some of the things that I saw at our District Camporee.
The question is Why?  Why do some Scoutmasters feel the need to make Scouting a chore?  Why do they insist on not making it fun for the Scouts?  Why is there is a reason to yell or belittle a Scout?  Why?
I wish I could say that this is an isolated case and I am talking about one Scout Leader.  But I am not.
Here is the problem as I see it.  These leaders have no idea what Scouting is supposed to look like.  One particular Scoutmaster explained to me that what the Scouts lack is discipline and it was his job to make sure they are disciplined.  You see, I feel that is the parents job.
The same Scoutmaster yelled at his troop over a bent tent-peg.
Another leader explained to me that Scouting is supposed to make our boys gentlemen and respectful.  I asked if her example was helping as she screamed at a Scout for playing with his patrol mates.
Yet another Scout leader had a group of Scouts at attention as they were dressed up and down about not doing well in their uniform inspection.  The leader’s shirt was un-tucked and looked like he slept in it and instead of a Scout hat or Troop hat, he was wearing a hunting hat as he ripped a Scout a new one over not wearing his Troop hat.
Why?
And we wonder why Scouts leave.  I even talked with a Scout who would love to leave his Troop, but can’t because his Dad is one of the leaders.  Really?
This weekends Camporee was fun.  It was one of the better camporees we have had in a while, so why do the adult have to screw it up for the boys.
Again, they clearly do not understand what Scouting is all about.
We are not the Army.  We are not a boarding school for wayward boys.  This is Scouting and above all, the boys need to have fun.  It is that game with a purpose that will teach them the skills to deal with life’s challenges and develop those life long values that will guide them to be disciplined and self-reliant.
How can a boy discover that light when the adults around him are constantly looking to snuff it?  How can a boy learn to play the game, when the rules change or are unclear?  How friendly is the constant brow beating?
I think that some leaders need to take a look in the mirror and find out if they are delivering the promise of Scouting or just a good scolding.
The best part of the discussion I had with our Anti Powell was when he pointed to my Troop, at the time they were all playing Frisbee in a field between the camp sites.  Loud laughter and complete grab ass was in full effect.  He pointed out that camporee was not about playing.. it was about competition.  I explained that there is certainly a time and a place for everything.  He said, “Look at your camp site… no matching tents, no patrol boxes, no discipline.”  I explained that we are a backpacking troop and do not have patrol boxes or matching tents, and so far as discipline, we have plenty of that.  It comes with living the Scout oath and law.  Then in a moment of arrogance, I pointed out that what he was looking at was the Troop of the Year and we are doing it right.  With that, I bid him a good day and joined the boys in the game of Ultimate Frisbee.
Camporee was a fun time and a great experience for our Troop.  They all had fun and competed well.  It is unfortunate that there are leaders out there that just don’t get it.  If only they took the time and put in the effort to delivering the promise of Scouting, using the same energy they put into yelling, berating, and making life hard for their Scouts, they would have great Troops.  The boys are there and willing, they need good adults to have the heart of a Boy and do Scouting the way the founder wanted it to be.
If only.
I had a great weekend with the Scouts of our Troop.  It’s why we keep playing this game.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: camp skills, Camping, Character, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, Oath and Law, respect, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, Skills, training, Values | Tags: | 1 Comment

One Life

Spirit of AmericaThe other night I had the pleasure of sitting in as an advocate for a Scout in my Troop at his Eagle Board of Review.
I enjoy the position that the Scoutmaster is placed in as the advocate, physically the Scoutmaster sits behind and out of the view of the Scout and mentally, it is a great place to learn from the Scout to know that you are truly delivering the promise of Scouting.
The first question the board asked this young man was if he had ever looked at the back of his Scout Handbook.  On the back cover are the Aims of Scouting.  The Scout replied that he had not looked at the back.  The board asked him to pick up his book and read it.  Then asked if he was aware that these were the aims or goals of Scouting.  He said that he did know that.  How did you know that they wanted to know.  My Scoutmaster does not stop talking about Character, Citizenship, and Fitness the Scout said in a matter of fact.  They chuckled a bit and then asked what he thought about those three words and how much they meant to Scouting.  His answer knocked me out of my chair.  He looked at the board and said “Those three words mean more to me than this award.  They mean that I am a good man and that I will always be a good man.”
From that point on I knew that this board was going to be interesting.  And it was.  He had an opinion when they asked for one, he talked about the great times that he had in Scouting and he shared what he had learned about being a leader.
As I sat behind him I felt deep pride in this young man and listened as he confirmed that we really are providing a program that the boys get.
To close the board, they asked about the Scout Oath and Law.  He shared his feelings, understanding, and practice of living the Oath and Law daily.  Not without challenge and difficulty but the bottom line was that he is that person every day.
This got me to thinking about comments I have heard from Scouts and Scouts all over.  It reminded me of an on going discussion that we have about being a Scout and living Scout like all of the time, the fact that we only have One Life.
We are what our Facebook Status says we are.  We are what our Twitter account looks like.  We are where we hang out and the people that we associate with.  We are what we say and what we do.  That defines our Character.
You are not just a Christian on Sunday, you not just a Scout on Monday nights, you are not just a Dad when the kids are around, you are not just a Scoutmaster when you wear the hat.
There is no separation.  There can’t be, that goes against the principle of Character.  Choose to accept that or not but your Character will be your guide and that is when you will have to face the reality of who and what you are.
I stress character all the time in our Troop, in fact I care more about character than anything else in Scouting.  I don’t care if a Scout earns his Eagle if he has not got the point about character, citizenship, and being mentally and physically fit.  If he did not get it, he just got another patch and the award will be meaningless.
We hold the Eagle award up on that lofty space for that reason, we all do it.  Every one respects and admire those that have earned this award and rightly so…if they got it.  If they make that choice to have one life and that is the life of Character.
I was asked by a Scout why I will not friend him on Facebook.  I make it a practice not to friend Scouts or any minor that is not family on Facebook.  It is not because of what I might put on the internet… it’s that I don’t want to be placed in a position to know what they are putting on the internet.  I would rather have them make good choices and discuss it during conferences.  Facebook is not where I want to build my discussion bullets for the next time I see the Scout.
You have but one life.  You do not get to split out your internet life and your real life.  You have the ability to maintain good character.  Once you decide to part ways with it, it can not come back.  Once the bell is rung, you can not un-ring it.
Think before you act, pause before you hit enter, read before you press send.  Character matters.
“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, Character, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts | Tags: | 2 Comments

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