Guilt by association

judged“You can judge a man by the company he keeps”-Euripides

Guilty as charged.  The company we keep, tan shirts, dedicated to being good Citizens, men of Character, and Fit.
I have heard this saying all my life.  You are judged, as unpopular an opinion as that is these days, by the company that we keep.  If you hang out with knuckle heads, you are viewed as a knuckle head.  If you hang out with good people, you are judged as one of the good guys.  This holds true in every case.  I can not think of one example where people who hang out with bad people are viewed as one of the good ones.. or the better of the bad.  Huh.. yeah.. I heard that one last week.  “He’s a good guy, just hangs out with the wrong crowd.. he’s the better of the bad guys”.. but you know, he’s still among the bad guys.  And yes, lets call it like it is.  If they are bad, they are bad.
Too many times these day’s we try to give the benefit of the doubt or try to find that silver lining.  Sometimes it’s just not there.  More times than not there are opportunities for behavior change and it is neglected.  I don’t buy the idea that circumstances create a lack of opportunity.  It’s there, it just needs to be taken.  I have known many people who came from bad circumstances only to find opportunity, take it, and make something good of their lives.
Here is the deal.  We have Scouting.  Scouting is available everywhere.  Now, it certain circles it may not seem “cool”..so explore the alternative.  Join our Scouting gang, or join a thug gang.  In both circumstances you will find support, belonging, and a set of values.  The difference is one leads to good, the other doesn’t.  It comes down to choices.
Parents have a lot to do with this.  As a young man growing they assist in creating the environment that will lead their son to hanging with the right crowd.  Generations of “good guys” typically lead to more good guys.  On the other hand the lack of want to.. the fact that the path of least resistance creates the easy road down a path which lacks character puts young men in the bad category.
I don’t mind calling like it is.  The people who I associate with are good.  I need not worry about their character.  I don’t have to worry about the values that they live.  I don’t have to worry about the impression that I leave with the friends I keep.
I see our young men.. they look for that easy road.  That road will never lead the right way.  As a Scoutmaster, it is my job to help the parents in creating that environment which leads to good character and values.  Being a role model in that endeavor is part of the program.
Too often we forget as Scouters that we have an obligation to create those conditions for the Scout.  We get wrapped up in making Eagle Scouts that we forget what we are really there for.  Citizens of Character.
Now Eagle Scouts that hang out with Eagle Scouts is a good group to be associated with.. You will certainly be judged by that standard.
I tell ever Scout of our Troop that attains the rank of Eagle that up till now they had completed and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, from that day forward they must prove that they are worthy of being one.
That is the company that they keep.  It is the company we keep.  We are judged in that company.  I am happy with that.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Ideals, Leadership, Scoutmaster minute, Values | Tags: , | 3 Comments

20 Questions

picture from adorepics.com

picture from adorepics.com

So lets start the New Year off right… looking back and learning from the past and setting goals for a better future.  Knowing who you are and where you want to go.  Setting a vision for the new year and seeing it to reality.
Lofty to start the new year out this way… right?
Well, I once heard a wise cat instruct a girl named Alice when she asked “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” “I don’t much care where –” “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”.
Without direction, a road map, a vision, It wont matter which way you go and chances are you won’t get there.
I believe it was also Alice that stated “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”  And you are.  Today you are different from you were last year this time.  So, who are you and where do you want to go?
If you have been to Wood Badge, or if you are planning on going, you will have seen or will see a list of 20 questions.  These questions are sent to you prior to you attending the course.  They get you to the trail head of your vision.  Once you answer those questions, you have a better understanding of who you are and where you want to go.  Starting your first steps on creating your vision.
This vision may be long-term, short-term, or based on what is happening right now.  Let’s set Wood Badge aside for right now.  I don’t want you thinking in terms of a “ticket”  Let’s focus on you and what you want out of this coming year.
Close your eyes and think about what your life looks like in December of 2015.
Is it what you want?  If not, change the course now.  Make a plan, draw a picture, and go get it.
Here are the 20 questions that will help you figure this out.
Answer them to yourself.  Share it with someone who will be taking the journey with you.  Most important.. write the answers down.  Everything is writing.  That which is scheduled will happen.  So write it all down and schedule your plan.  We will get into more about this in later posts.
The questions:
What do I feel are my greatest strengths?
What strengths do others notice in me?
What do I most enjoy doing?
What qualities of character do I most admire in others?
Who is a person who has made a positive impact on my life?
Why was that person able to have such significant impact?
What have been my happiest moments in life?
Why were they happy?
If I had unlimited time and resources, what would I choose to do?
When I daydream, what do I see myself doing?
What are the three or four most important things to me?
When I look at my work life, what activities do I consider of greatest worth?
What can I do best that would be of worth to others?
What talents do I have that no one else really knows about?
If there are things I feel I really should do, what are they?
What are my important roles in life?
In each of those roles, what are my most important lifetime goals?
In five years, what role do I see for myself in Scouting? (if you are a non Scouter.. insert your own)
What would I really like to be and to do in my life?
What are the most important values I use to guide and motivate my actions?
Don’t just answer these, sit down and really ponder each question.  Some will be easy and some will require some thought.  Take you time.  We are talking about you here.  Be a little selfish in setting goals for you.  What you do now, will help others later.
Look forward, reflect on yesterday but we are looking forward.  We can’t change anything from yesterday, but we can learn from it and get better.
So who do you want to be?  What do you want life to look like?  It’s up to you.
I revisited this yesterday in setting my goals for 2015.  I have set 22 goals.  22 stops along the trail of 2015 that will make me the person that I want to be in December.  They are in writing and have due dates.  Everything from being Debt Free to collecting OA pocket flaps.  Yeah, patches will make me a better person believe it or not.
I believe in this process and know that it works.  Patience and perseverance are important and staying focused and on task.  Perfect, no, at least not in my case.. I am a work in progress.  But willing to work.
We will talk more about this in future posts.  Go answer your 20 questions.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

New Year 2015

newyearWell, here we are.  The closing of the curtain of one year, the opening of another allowing us to move on to the next.
It has been a great year for the Schleining’s.  We count ourselves as blessed.  Looking back at the year that we fondly take a look back at and we can rest knowing that we did our best, we achieved some goals while falling short in others.  As a family we faced challenges and victories.  We enjoyed watching our children grow.  Our youngest graduated from High School and started a great College Football career.  Our twins continue to bring joy to our lives, John in the Army and Katelyn in College.  It was nice to have them all home for the holiday’s!
Looking back on the blog, it too grew.  The blog has been something that has required much thought and evaluation for me this year.  Why do I do it?  What impact does it have?  Is it worth the time and effort?  These questions and more have forced me to think long and hard about this blog.  It certainly has an impact and is totally worth the effort.  I am a believer that the numbers never lie.  They may not always tell the whole story, but they measure those things that you believe or need affirmation on.  They become a story about the story.
So I looked at some of the year-end numbers of the blog.
Scouters from 8 different Countries are visiting the blog.  I found it interesting that there is a Scouter out there from Mongolia that pays us visits from time to time.
I view the blog as a community.  That community is only as good as all of us having a discussion on how we better deliver the promise of Scouting.  Comments this year increased.  This tells me that our discussion is happening.  This increase is significant this year and has kept me going at times.
The blog was viewed 48,628 times this year.  That number is down, but the number of followers on twitter and Facebook have gone up.  Some visitors are getting the blog directly to a feed so they do not click-through the blog.
This is a great thing as social media has become a greater part of the blog.
I tried some give away’s this year.  Both of them were successful in that some one won!
Most blogs do give away’s to increase viewers and create email lists.  I did neither with our give away’s.  I did ask for “likes” on the last one, just trying to see where the blog would land in social media.  Maybe the average age of our readers is not into that sort of thing… it really made little or no impact.   I kinda wanted to take over the internet for a week…but unfortunately the Kardashians once again stole our thunder.
So what’s next?
Today I sat down and put together my goals for 2015.  Within my list are a few or the blog.  Last year I did a blog ticket.  I finished most of the ticket, but had to modify it.  This year I will try to post three times a week, at least one of those targeted to be video.
This should generate lots of good content and keep us focused on what and why we do this… to deliver the promise of Scouting.
I hope that this blog had helped you in some way.  I hope that this coming year is a great one for you.
Have a Blessed 2015!!  Set your goals and take charge of you and your life.

Have a Great Scouting …. Year!

Categories: blog | Tags: | 4 Comments

Merry Christmas

BLSantaWishing all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
I would especially like to thank everyone that subscribes to the blog.  Thanks for hanging in there for another year.
Welcome to all the new subscribers.  I hope that you find something in this that you can use in life and in delivering the promise of Scouting.
Again, from My Family to Yours,  Merry Christmas and a Wonderful Holiday to you.
Have a Great Scouting… Christmas!

Categories: blog | 3 Comments

And the Winner is…

The winner of the Solo stove and Solo 900 pot give away is….
I want to thank everyone for some great comments.  The create the caption had me entertained  for the last week and I hope you had fun with it!
It was fun to read the comments, unfortunately I only have one set to give away.
We will do this again in the future.
Congratulations to muralt!  You win!  Rather than randomly select a winner, I had a panel of caption experts… my family pick the winner.  5/5 all picked muralt and his caption, “Hmmm…I wonder, if I sing a Christmas carol SOLO will more cooksets appear?”
I hope you enjoy the set as much as I do.
Send me your address via email, tbirdironchef@gmail.com and I will get it in the mail for you.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Hmmm…I wonder, if I sing a Christmas carol SOLO will more cooksets appear?

Hmmm…I wonder, if I sing a Christmas carol SOLO will more cooksets appear?

Categories: blog | 1 Comment

To do my Duty…

dutyDuring Scoutmaster conferences I often ask the Scout what the Scout Oath and Law mean to them.  In their own words what do the values and the promises found in the Oath and Law mean.
It seems that, by and large, there is a lack of knowledge in so far as defining what “Duty” means with our younger Scouts.  With our older Scouts too for that matter.
When I was a young Scout, right after we walked up hill both ways in the snow, it seems to me that we were taught in School, home, and Church what Duty meant and what our role was in keeping our promises and understanding what our duty was when it comes to our daily lives.  In Scouts we knew what our duty was when it came to being Reverent and Helpful.  We had an understanding about our Duty to our Country.
The other night I took the opportunity while talking with a young man during a Scoutmaster Conference to discuss what duty meant and what he needed to know about it.  The discussion started because the Scout didn’t understand why he said those words when he recited the Scout Oath.
I started with a basic definition so he could get at least an understanding of duty.  I first asked if he felt like he had a responsibility to be helpful.  He said yes.  I asked if he felt an obligation to be a good citizen.  He said yes, but really didn’t know what that really meant at his age.  I then asked him if he felt that he should be committed to doing his best, staying healthy, and doing well in school so he could have a better life.  All of those he felt that he was committed to.
I told him that duty is just that, a responsibility, a commitment, and an obligation to something.  In our case as Scouts those are found in our Scout Oath to God and our Country, to other people, and to ourselves.
Duty to me has always been a solid concept of how we live our lives.  As a soldier, I was bound to serving our Country and as a leader my duty was to the soldiers I led.
As a Father, my responsibility has always been to making me children good people.  I was told once that it is not my job as a Dad to raise good children, rather it was my duty to raise good adults.
As a Husband my obligation is to my wife.  To be her partner through thick and thin and to show her unconditional love.
As a Scout leader I am committed to men of Character.  Making Eagle Scouts is not my priority, teaching young men to grow up and be men that have Character, are good citizens, and have an understanding and habit of being fit.  That is what is important to me.  Why?  Because it is my Duty.
I shared these things to my young Scout.  It helped him gain a better understanding of why, in the Scout Oath, we use the term “Duty”.
Knowing that it make the Scout Law more important, it focuses the Scouts outlook toward God and Country and helping others.  It creates a want to be his best and take care of himself and those around him.
Some may say that I am reading into this, I say no… I am teaching it for what it is.  A promise.
If we don’t keep our promises we compromise our character, when we do that, we have nothing.  We need to understand that we have a Duty to be good Scouts, Scouts that live the Oath and Law in our daily lives.
It is the foundation of Scouting.  Baden Powell understood that when he started this.  These concepts have been passed from generation to generation.  William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt understood this and made it the hallmark of his writings on Scouting.  Scoutmasters for years have held true to these concepts in the teaching their Scouts and for whatever reason there has been a disconnect in our young men today.  It is my duty to change that.  I will do that one Scout at a time.
Do you feel that same obligation?
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Anchoring your tent

Here is a technique for anchoring your tent.  In this video, I demonstrate using a snow stake.  A stick works just as well.  Snow stakes are versatile and light and are worth carrying into camp.
It is important to anchor your tent well.  Winter conditions typically include heavy winds so no matter what or how much gear you have in your tent, to keep your tent and the rest of your gear in good repair, anchor your tent well.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, camp skills, Camping, gear, High Adventure, Winter Camping | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Cold Weather Camping – Sleep System

photo courtesy of Thermarest

photo courtesy of Thermarest

Getting a good nights sleep is an important part of any camp out, and very important when camping in the cold.  Sleeping in the cold creates some anxiety in young Scouts.  While the Scout is up and moving he can control his level of warmth.  Teaching the Scout that it is possible to be warm in the winter will help him get a good nights sleep.
First, lets talk gear.
When I talk gear for sleeping, I refer to it as a sleep system.  The system may vary depending on conditions, temperature, and he person.
The sleep system consists if the Sleeping bag, the sleeping pad (insulation), and sleep clothing.  You may add to the system a sleeping bag liner, a bivy sack, and of course a pillow.
The sleeping bag is the base of the system.  The rating of the bag needs to be at least 20 degrees.  Lover is preferred especially when the temps are known to frequently dip below 20 degrees.  Adding the sleeping bag liner will add another 10 degrees of warmth to you in the bag and is a light weight, inexpensive option to adding warmth.
Down versus Synthetic?  It really does not matter.  They are equally as warm, down is going to cost more, but you will get your savings in weight.  Down needs to stay dry to keep warm.  Synthetic materials fair better than down when wet or damp.  Which is an important consideration when coaching Scouts on which type of bag to purchase.
It used to be popular opinion to wear as little as possible when in your sleeping bag, now however, your clothing is considered a part of your sleep system.
First thing to remember is whatever you decide to wear, it needs to be clean and dry.  For most that means wearing a clean set of poly pro long underwear.  Again, keep in mind that it is easier to stay warm than to re warm.  Change into your “sleeping clothing” when you are warm.  Boil up some water and drink a hot beverage.  While you are drinking, boil up enough water to put in a water bottle.  Throw it in your sleeping bag as you change into your sleep clothes.   Hand warmers are also a good way to preheat the bag.
A change of your socks is also a great idea.  If you are like me, your feet are the first thing to get cold.  Dry socks going into a sleeping bag is fantastic and will keep you warmer.  Find a real thick pair of wool socks, you know, the kind that you would never hike in but look super comfy.  Wear them at night to keep your feet warm.
Possumdown socks or a good thick merino wool sock are what I find to work the best.
The set up of your gear is important.  Get out of the elements.
Don’t sleep in low ground.  Cold air settles in low ground.  When selecting your sleep area, where you pitch your tent, make sure you stay on the upper part of the slope.  If you must pitch camp in low ground, dig a sump outside of the door of your tent.  This will pull the cold air away from you as you sleep.
Vent your Tent.  If you fail to vent you will wake up wet, condensation will form in your tent.  You can expect a little, but if you don’t vent you will certainly get too much moisture in your tent.  This is bad for your gear and also will make your packing a bit harder.
The sleeping bag liner is a great piece of gear.  It is perhaps the biggest addition to my winter gear.  Adding ten degrees to my sleeping bag, it is made of fleece, which absorbs some moisture from my breath at night, keeps my bag dry, and takes away the feel of cold nylon as I slip into my bag.
Getting a great nights sleep is critical when camping.  Staying warm is key.  Knowing your sleep system and how to use it is an important skill in winter camping.
We will talk more about winter camping in our next post.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, camp skills, Camping, gear, Skills, training, Winter Camping | 3 Comments

Solo Stove Give Away!

Create the CaptionToday I was putting up the Christmas lights and getting the tree ready to decorate.  Carols being sung in the background and the smell of Christmas in the air.  When what to my wandering mind did ah ha!!!  A give away of gear!
So here is the way it’s going to work… Create the Caption.
1st.  You must “Like” this post.
2nd. In the comments section create a caption for this picture!
3rd.  “Like” us on Facebook.  If you already “like” us on Facebook, Thank You!
The caption that I like the most wins!
What do you win?  A brand new, in the box, Solo Stove and the Solo Stove 900 Pot!  This is a great prize!
The winner will be picked on December 21st, 2014.
Good Luck!  I can’t wait to see the comments!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | 25 Comments

Cold Weather Camping pt. 2 Skills

Backpacking Tip of the WeekJust as a recap… Cold weather camping is a High Risk activity that is challenging, fun, and rewarding for those that venture into the cold weather environment.  This type of camping takes discipline, skills, and a great attitude.
Once leaders understand their role in accountability to those they lead, monitor behavior, and maintain the same “can do” attitude, they will provide fun programs in the cold weather camping environment.
In this post we are going to continue some of the discussion on training for camping in the cold, focusing on some of the skills that need to be developed to ensure a safe, fun outing.
Obviously what you wear and how you wear it is a skill in and of itself.  Knowing when to layer up or down takes skills and awareness of the conditions.
How all of this clothing gets packed require a skill set also.  Those skills need to be practiced and repeated.  One of the ways in which we develop that skill is simply to have the Scouts pack and repack.  They unpack, set up, and then repack in fair conditions.  The second evolution is practiced with gloves on.  The same skills worked over and over.
It is once the Scout can do these skills that we practice outside, in the cold.  You will see the mastery of this skill proven at that point.
Understanding that the simple skill of packing a backpack in the cold can have a huge impact on the fun of the outing.  A Scout that struggles with this skill will place himself in painful situation and prolong his time spent being cold.  Remember that it is easier to stay warm than to rewarm.  Packing is a skill that will help the Scout find success in the cold.  Nylon gets cold and as the Scout packs he is in contact with cold material that may also be icy or wet.  It is important to do this correctly the first time so he can quickly return to activity that keeps him warm.
The Scout needs to understand that there is an order to his packing so he can access those items that he will need throughout the day to stay warm, cook meals, and move in and out of layers.  He also needs to understand how his gear works so he can have quick set up and take down periods.
His tent should be set up and modified to meet the Scouts needs in the cold.  Guy lines added and tied to the tie out points.  Knots pre tied and line measured to specific lengths so there is not a lot of adjustments to be made.
A plan for anchoring his tent needs to be made and practiced.  I do not worry about snow stakes.  A stick will do or a regular tent stake placed in the snow sideways will hold the tent in place.  Additional guy lines may be needed in the event of heavy winds or snow.  Have those lines in place before you go.  A simple bowline tied at the end of the line will make for quick set up and take down.

The Cold Sump or pit, draws cold air away from you at night.

The Cold Sump or pit, draws cold air away from you at night.

Digging a cold sump outside of the tent will pull cold air away from you as you sleep.  Cold air settles in low ground, creating that low space will keep you warmer at night.  You will also have a place to sit and put your boots on and fire up the stove to boil water for a nice cup of hot chocolate.
Cooking in the cold is another challenge that requires a few more skills than boiling water.
First the Scout needs to understand that eating is critical for staying warm in the cold weather environment.  Eating keeps you hydrated, it keeps you warm and comfortable, and it provides the nutrients to keep you going.  When you cook or boil water, it is a good way to treat that water and get fluids into your system.  Dehydration is the number one cold weather injury.  Scouts do not feel thirsty because it is cold.  It is when you feel thirsty that you are in the early stages of dehydration.  Cooking a meal and having a cold or warm drink with help prevent dehydration.
The gear used for cooking needs attention and skill to accomplish the cooking of your meal.  Liquid fuels such as white gas are very reliable in the cold.  Canister fuels work well also, but you need to keep the canister warm.  Throw it in your sleeping bag at night.  Keep it in a wool sock.  Use a small square of Closed Cell Foam pad to set the canister on as you cook.  This insulates and keeps the fuel warmer.
Why do I consider cooking a skill for the cold weather, well there is great emphasis in cooking in the cold.  You can not get away with quick trail meals.  You need to eat warmer meals to stay warm.  The average person burns about 2700 calories a day in the summer.  In the winter you need to be prepared to burn about 4000 a day.  Considering this, it takes skill in planning and preparing those meals, not to mention getting them into camp. Again, packing becomes a tremendous skill that pays off.
We teach the acronym C.O.L.D.  Clean, Overheating, Layers, and Dry.  This simple acronym is all about skills.
Staying clean, both your body and your clothing.  Dirty, oily clothing allows for water to seep as well as wind.  This will not protect you against the elements any longer.  You must stay as clean as you can.  A quick wipe down before you go to bed and when you get up in the morning will keep you warmer.  Keeping from Overheating will reduce sweat and therefore will keep you warmer.  Reducing the amount of moisture on the body will keep you from freezing.  We do this by wearing loose layers.  An effective layering system of clothing that will assist you in regulating your temperature keeping your comfortable and warm.  And finally staying dry.  Staying out of the snow when it is critical to stay dry.  This means changing after playing in the snow or digging a snow cave. Water is your enemy in the cold (unless you are drinking it).  Remember C.O.L.D. to stay Warm!
Camp.
Before setting up your tent, pack the snow.  You are your buddy, walk with your snow shoes stamping down a platform for your tent.  It need not be too much bigger than the footprint of the tent.  Pack it so you no longer punch through when you walk.  This will provide a comfortable platform to sleep on and make it easier to set up your tent.
This also keeps you from possible tearing a hole in the floor of your tent should you step through a patch of unpacked snow.
It is counter intuitive to think about opening your tent, but make sure your tent is vented well.  This will reduce condensation keeping your tent and the rest of your gear dryer, thus keeping you warmer.
In part three, we will discuss sleeping in the cold.
What do you think?  Are you ready to get out there and camp in the cold…
Let me know what you think.  What winter camping skill do you think is the most important?

Have a Great Scouting Day!

 

Categories: Backpacking, camp skills, Camping, Cooking, gear, High Adventure, Just fun, Leadership, Skills, Winter Camping | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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