Monthly Archives: July 2007

A Cheerful Spirit

I recently had a situation at work in which I had to deal with a fellow employee. He was upset about something or rather and decided that I would be the butt of his anger.
Well it did not take long till his sights found the target and he expressed his displeasure in the fact that his world was coming apart at the seems and I was the cause of his dismay.
Hearing all of this I quickly pulled out my moral compass and thought about the Scout law.
I could have returned words and exchanged verbal blows, but I thought about what a Scoutmaster once told me. “Kill ’em with Kindness”.
I smiled and asked if there was something I could do to help him. [A Scout is Helpful].
I offered to discuss the matter in a nice tone and see if we could come up with some resolution. [A Scout is Courteous].
And I would not allow him to get the best of me. [A Scout is Brave].
It only took about 8 minutes and my furious partner was calm and quiet. He had realized that there would be no joy in picking a fight with me. At every turn I countered with character and it took no time at all for my foe to see it.
He asked me why I was happy all the time, even with the going got tough. I told him I have a cheerful spirit. When the going gets tough your Cheerful spirit takes over and things get better.
There is nothing so terrible that being Cheerful can’t cure (at least enough to get you through).
I asked him why he let things get to him and turn it all personal? He could not answer.

He finally said “Well that’s all just that Boy Scout mumbo Jumbo”… and I proudly said, You are absolutly right!

Living the Scout law daily. It comes to you when you need it, and when others around you need it.

Have a Cheerful Spirit!

Happy Scouting!

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The Outdoor Code (of Conduct)

My Troop is getting into Backpacking. So over the last few months our attention has focused to backpacking skills, Leave no trace, and the outdoor code.
Looking at all these re sources I wonder why some units have a code of Conduct.
For pretty much every situation you can apply the Oath and Law. And when outdoors… the Outdoor Code coupled with the principles of Leave no Trace are your guides.
A complete duplication of effort if you ask me. 12 solid rules for the way you are to act. Plus 4 specific instructions on how to act in the outdoors.
To be Clean in my outdoor manners.
To be Careful with Fire.
Considerate in the outdoors
And Conservation Minded.
What I have found is that the Scouts that know and practice these skills and principles do very well and do not need to be disciplined or constantly talk to about behavior.
That is why it is important to get the Scouts on their first Scoutmaster Conference to really understand what the Oath and Law mean and how to practice the Outdoor code.
Taking the time to teach these up front will pay off down the road.
You will see the proof when one day you are on a Switch back and horses are on the trail and your Scouts do it all right.
And for the most part they do. But you have to reenforce it and always practice what you teach.

Happy Scouting!

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Leadership- Good Example

One of the major goals of Scouting is to develop Leaders.
This is done in many ways, hands on programs, watching others, formal training just to name a few.
We always try to set a “Good Example” for others to follow and we ask of the “Older” Scouts to be good examples to the “Younger Scouts. This develops both the leader and the follower.
So lets talk about what it means to be a “Good Example” for a minute.
To throw some words out there regarding being a good example we can use;
Proper uniform
Time and place for everything
Acting like a leader
Knowing what is right and wrong… and doing what is right.
We can go on, but the point is that leaders need to understand leadership and its effect and being a good example is but one thing we look at in good leadership. How does this effect the led?
Leaders that are a good example of “RIGHT” breed it in their followers. When boys see something done properly and without complaint, they know that it is right and will follow suit.
On the contrary, when they see goofing off and things not being done right, they follow suit and nothing is gained. The leader looses credibility. Right must come as second nature and with consistancy. So leaders need to be good examples all the time.
Some may say this is a huge task for boys. I say no its not. As long as they are taught what right is and what right looks like from the beginning, and they see leaders (both youth and Adult) exercising “Right” consistantly, they will adapt and do well.
It is only when inconsistancy is the only thing that is constant, that you set the Scouts up to fail or not understand “Right”.
Being a good example needs to be consistant.

Happy Scouting!

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Role Models… huh…

I think Charles Barkley said it best when he reminded the world that he was “Not a Role Model”. Charles… you are correct sir.
The problem is that to youngster he is some one they looked up to.. a Sports Hero.
And now we have the awesome examples of Mike Vic, Barry Bonds, Pac man Jones, Tank Johnson, Doping Bicyclist, and the list seems to go on and on… Awesome examples of what NOT to be when you grow up.

So where do our Role models come from now? Boy I wish John Wayne was still around.
But seriously, where can we find good role models? Congressmen? Sports figures? Referees? City and State politicians? hmmmm…. I give.

Well there it is..Scoutmasters and other adult leaders of Scouting. We have an opportunity to be awesome Role models. With that comes awesome responsibilty though. Do you think you can do it?
Can you live the Scout Law and Oath?
Can you teach, coach, train and mentor?
Can you maintain an even keel when the going gets tough?
Do you wear your uniform properly and with pride?
Can you be a friend? Can you be approached and do they know you will listen?
Do your Scouts see you as someone that they want to be when they grow up?

You know, I see the Scouts of my Troop all over. I see them at the Supermarket, I see them in Church, at the movies, at Sporting events, at their Schools. Or I suppose I should have said, They see me at all those places. And what do they see?
Well I hope they see a family guy that loves his wife and kids. I hope they see an active member of the community, not just a passer by. I hope they see a respected man in various community activities. I hope they see a caring person that is dedicated to making this a better place. I hope they see me as someone that they can approach and be heard.
I am no politician, just you average guy that works hard and lives life to the fullest.
I have my role models, my mentors and those are the things that I see in them.

We don’t need Mike Vic or Pacman Jones to be roles models we have Scout leaders!
What America needs is to see more of us. I am a die hard Football fan. I cheer for my team, and love to watch the game. But there is no one on that field that I would send my kids camping for a week with, there are many Scouts leaders that I am more than willing to trust with my kids.
So who are the real role models?
Those that live a set of timeless values. Summed up in the three Duties of the Scout Oath…
Duty to God and Country, Duty to Others, and Duty to Self.

Be a role model!

Happy Scouting

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Always Learning

I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the Scouts in my Troop last night and having a Scoutmaster Conference. The youngster is finishing up his Tenderfoot badge. We went through the standard questions and he past with flying colors. Then we got to talking (my favorite part of the conference).
This is where you really learn about the boy and what makes him tick. It also is a great way for the Scout to feel comfortable chatting with adults [Adult Interaction, one of those methods I’ve seen around]. Well, I asked this young man which of the 12 points of the Scout Law he could do better at. Typically you get, “obedient” or “Cheerful” or “My Mom says I need to be “Clean and work on my room”… but this little guy said “Kind”.
So I asked why he thought that. He went on to say that he had some anger issues and that he needed to be more kind. Further he talked about the stress and preasures of his life.
So I asked myself, what kind of preasures and stess could an 11 year old possibly have?
He described some, and we won’t go into that here, but lets just say it’s not all that bad and it opened up a guided discovery for both him and I.
What we learned was that if he took just 12 little words and applied them to his daily life… all of his stress would go away.
I stessed about having to do chores… I told him to do his chores, but instead of making them out to be something horrible… be CHEERFUL and smile while you do the dishes. And we went example after example about how the Scout law could make his life better.
I talked to him about what I call the 12 point check, just like when you go into get your oil changed. Check Twelve points and you will be good to go.
Explaining that if you can answer YES to the 12 points, than you will never have anything to stress and worry about.
Are you being Trustworthy? Yes or No
Are you being Loyal? Yes or No
Are you being Helpful? Yes or No
Are you Friendly? Yes or No
Are you being Courteous and Kind? Yes or No
Are you obedient?
Are you Cheerful?
Are you Thifty?
Are you being Brave?
Are you being Clean (in body and mind)? Yes or No
And are you Reverent?
Answering Yes means that you are doing the right thing, a no answer means you need to work on it. Its only twelve little words that can teach you alot about yourself. But its twelve little words that others see in you.
Now I’m not sure how 11 year boys are stressed out, life sure will be tough if they don’t get that under control. I hope that a twelve point check will help him, It sure helps me.
I am always learning. Everyday of my life I learn something, what I learned last night was that this great little kid will grow up to be a good man.. He wants to live the Scout Law and with that in his pocket he will do great things.
He may not be the next President or Rocket Scientist, but he will be a man that can be counted on because he has the Scout Law.
I learned more about that young man in 15 minutes than his friends will ever know. I am grateful for that time.

Never shut the door to learning… its not always in a class room that you get an education. And you will be amazed at how much an 11 year old will teach you.

Happy Scouting!

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What’s it mean?

Being a Boy Scout means different things to different people. To some Scouts it means fun and adventure, to others it means camping, and to some others it means earning badges and advancement. To those that are outside of the program it means that the Scout is Trustworthy and Helpful. To others he is someone that loves the outdoors. Scouting offers a lot to those in the program and contributes in many ways to the communities we live it.
So what does being a Scout mean to you? Does it give you a foundation of service and committment? Has it given you an appreciation for the outdoors and the world we live in? Has Scouting peaked your interest in a hobby or career? Or has it simply been a place to go and be with your friends and hang out? It could be all of that and more, especially once you open your eyes to what Scouting really has to offer you.
Leadership development, skills that will serve you the rest of your life. Outdoor skills, developing good working relationships and teamwork. Physical fitness and healthy livng. Reverance and obiedence to your God and Country. A willingness to serve when those around you won’t. Duty and respect, and of course living your life to the fullest… enjoying each day and appreciating all that we have been blesssed with. Having Fun with your buddies. This is the promise of Scouting that our Troop Committee, and the Assistant Scoutmasters and I are trying to deliver to you through our Troops program.
So what does being a Scout mean to you? Do you take advantage of all that it offers? Do you live the Scout Oath and Law daily? Do you know, understand and live the Outdoor Code? All of this is Scouting. It is the outward signs of a Boy Scout and that is what people judge the Scouts and Scouting by. Scouting is meaningful to those that know and understand it and participate in the program. Weather it is the amount of nights of Camping you have, the miles you have hiked, or the number of service hours you have worked.. it is Scouting and means a great deal, to a great deal of people. To me, Scouting means growth and learning, adventure and fun, conservation and exploration, leadership and stewardship. Scouting in the best club you can be in, because it offers you more than anything else in America. Backpacking to Pottery, Scuba diving to Space exploration, canoeing to laying under the stars enjoying all that life has to give. To me, Scouting is you boys.. that keep coming back each meeting and every outing.
Thanks for making Scouting meaningful for me.
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There’s always hope…

Now, I’m not a doom and gloom kinda guy, so I personally do not feel like we are seeing a generation of degenerates etc… I have heard about how lazy this generation is, gameboys and playstations have taken over the good old fashioned playground and the TV has made books and board games go the way of the Buffalo…
We I say there is hope…there is always hope. And I find that hope in the young eyes of our Scouts. Now before I get to bright eyed and mushy… There are challenges that face our youngsters, but you know there were challenges for us and every generation, it is how you get through those challenges that form you and later define you.
I got a glimps of hope this weekend. 5 Scouts from my Troop are working on the Backpacking Merit Badge. These 5 boys range in ages from 11 to 14 and come from your average American homes. Not rich by any means, but not poor. They all have good Moms and Dads that care for them and love them, they all go to School and live average lives, some are athletic, some are book smart, some are still finding out what they like and how to be part of a group. They have not found girls to be soft and smell good, they still like to hit a baseball, throw a football and catch frogs. Theres hope.
So this weekend they did their second trek on the way to earning a pretty tough Merit Badge. They backpacked 23 mikes of the Historic Barlow Trial on Mt. Hood. They planned the trek, shopped for the meals, lead on the trail, picked the camp sites, and told us when it was time to head back. The leader this weekend was a lanky 12 year old that just completed his board of review for Star. A real smart kid that loves Scouting and the outdoors, but whats more he loves to be challenged.
The Scout for the trek was a small 11 year old Scout. He is a Tenderfoot and will stop at nothing to have a great time. He would rather camp and be in the woods than sit in meetings and rarely has a frown on his face.
The sweeper for the trek was a 5’7″ 150 lb 13 year old Life Scout. He is active in the Troop and loves the challenge. He is our OA rep and works real well with the younger Scouts.
The pace setter this weekend was another 11 year old, wrapping up his requirements for 2nd Class. He maintained a steady pace and reminded the rest of the team that the pay off was slow and steady.
And ready to pull up the slack on any job was a 14 year old First Class Scout that like to camp and hang out with the guys.
There were 3 adult leaders on the trek.. we pretty much just followed along and had a ball, we coached the treatment of a bee sting, but other than that… we let the boys go.
There’s the hope.
Given the challenge, these 5 boys rose to occassion. The last 5 miles of the trek we climbed about 900 feet in elevation. The trail was straight up with very few turns and bends. Heads down and a clear objective, these guys sucked down a peanut butter and jelly tortilla wrap, pumped water out of the creek and hit the trail.
It took us 6 hours to hike 11 1/2 miles down hill to our camp, it took us 10 hours to climb back out. Motivated and a clear sense of purpose drove these young men to reach their goal.
This gives me hope. No gameboys, PSPs or Ipods… just backpacks, jetboils, and will.
They all wanted to be there, no one made them. Out of the 26 boys in the Troop, these 5 wanted the challenge. They knew it would be tough, and they knew that it would push them. These 5 average young American boys found that challange and reached deep inside to finish it.
They know there are 4 more treks ahead, and in the car ride home.. they started planning.
Hope is in these young men. They found their playground… its the great outdoors and Scouting takes them there.
I am proud of them, and I know that their parents are too. As we limped over to pose for a parting picture this afternoon..nothing but smiles and laughter glowed from their faces. They did it!

They gave us hope.

Happy Scouting!

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To Keep myself Morally Straight…

The symbolism is great in the Boy Scouts of America, great tools for reminding us to do what is right.
When describing the Scout Badge a Scout needs to explain the major components of it.
The top of the Scout Badge for example symbolizes the Point of a compass.
The compass always pointing North is our True reference point. As long as know that North will always be there, we can navigate with a compass and map.
So it is with Scouting. Out Moral compass is the Scout Law. It is the map that leads us in life. As long as know that our Compass is true and always pointing in the right direction, we can not go wrong.
We know what is right by living the Scout Oath and Law. Those simple words are always right.
Trustworth, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thifty, Brave, Clean, and of course Reverent. Which one of those can lead you in the wrong direction?
When we recite the Scout Oath we make three promises, or remind ourselves of the three duties we have; Duty to God and Country, Duty to others [to help other people at all times], and Duty to ourselves [to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight].
The arrow of the compass always is steadfast and true, so is the Scout oath and law.
Keep yourself pointed in the right direction and you will never go wrong.

Happy Scouting
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If I were king for the day…

18 July, 2007

Last night I met with a highly motivated group of Scouts. They were preparing for a backpacking trek that would take them down the Barlow Rd on the slope of Mt. Hood.
During the process of checking gear, shaking each other down and planning a menu, the boys were talking about one day being Eagle Scouts. The subject caught my attention and we began to talk about what these guys had to do to become Eagle Scouts… Notice I said become Eagle Scouts. It implies that they have to do something that will eventually turn them into Eagles. It would not be something that was easy or given, they would have to work for it.
Just as you are not born a Quarterback on an All American team, you learn, develop, and grow through experience and training, one day becoming, earning a spot on the team. And so it is with Eagle Scouts.
The discussion then turned to the Merit Badges that are required to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The gang did not understand why some were required and others were not. And to be honest… neither do I. Now I get that Scouting is designed to round out the Scout and give many experiences, but If I were king for the day and got to pick the Merit Badges I thought made an Eagle Scout, this would be my list:
These would all be Eagle Required.
First Aid
Wilderness Survival
Citizenship in the World
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in the Community
and Orienteering
For Scouts that needed an “Either/Or” you could subsititute Cycling for Hiking, Emergency Prep for Wilderness Survival.
I would also try to combine the Citizenship Merit Badges into one merit badge, if I were king for the day.
The reason. I believe that Eagle Scouts should demonstrate by there example that they are truly Scouts. And to be a Scout you need to be in the outdoors, exploring, hiking, living in nature and testing yourself and your skills, building confidence in yourself and your mates.
When I walk up to an Ealge Scout and see the 11 Required Merit Badges and then a bunch of easy ones… like finger printing, collections, basketry, and leatherwork… it tells me that he did not work that hard, that he did not want the challenge of Scouting. On the other hand, when I see a sash full of the outdoors skills badges, Pioneering, Climbing, Cooking, Engineering, Wilderness Survival [one of the funnest badges out there], Orienteering etc… this shows me that this kid wanted it all… he wanted to climb the mountain and stand on top, he was not going to take the easy path, he took the road that tested him and challenged him to do his best.
The guys finished packing their gear, looked at one another and I heard the youngest say, “I’m taking the hard road!” A smile crept on to my face as another said… “Yep, thats what Scouting is all about!”.

So if I were king for the day… I think I would reread Baden Powell’s Aids to Scoutmastership and teach our boys to be masters of Scouting.

Happy Scouting!

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Welcome to the Scoutmaster Minute

There are a ton of great Scouting resources out there and just as many folks posting on Blogs, creating websites, and offering advise in Chat rooms.. well, here is another one.
The purpose of this is to share ideas and thoughts about the worlds greatest organization… Scouting, in particular, the Boy Scouts of America.
While this is not an official site of the BSA, it does contain years of experience in Scouting and Scouting the way I think it should be.
I am sure you will find that I am a Traditional Scouter and try to maintain traditional Scouting in my Troop.
The Scouts of my Troop still earn their rank, they still work hard to achieve, and they are boy led.
So this Blog is here to share ideas and assist in delivering the promise of Scouting.

So welcome to the Blog.
Happy Scouting

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