Month: August 2007

Start..Stop.. and Continue…

Most Scouts that have attended JLT or NYLT have seen or heard the concept of Start, Stop, and Continue. Start doing things different to help you achieve your Goals, Stop doing things wrong, and Continue to do what you are doing well.
This is a tool we use in our Troop after each event. What did we learn, what do we need to stop doing, what do we need to start doing better, and what did we do well?
These 3 questions can be asked in everyday life too.
So here it comes… Lets apply Start, Stop, and Continue to your Scout Law!
Start living it Daily!
Stop doing those things that are not consistant with the Scout Law!
and Continue to live the Law in your Daily life.

It will make you a better person, a great Scout, and will have an effect on those around you.

Happy Scouting!

Eagle Out!

There are very few things that get the hair on the back of my neck standing on end. In fact when it comes to Scouting I can count them on 1 hand.
I will list them another time, but the number one hair raising phrase that I hear often in Scouting is the term “EAGLE OUT”.
There has been discussions lately about this in other blogs and discussion groups and among some of my other friends in Scouting, which has prompted this post.
First, what does it mean?
Well, generally I suppose it means that once a Scouts becomes an Eagle Scout he is done. He goes away, he leaves his Troop. He is an Eagle… now he’s out.
This is where I have a problem. I believe that an Eagle Scout should have all the skills of Scouting mastered. I think that he should be an example of everything that is great about Scouting.
A man of Character that has worked hard to achieve the rank and position he holds. He has, over the course of years developed and grown into an Eagle. Unlike the other ranks in Scouting he did not check the block demonstrating Skills, he has been an example of those skills and assisted in teaching them. He lives the Scout Oath and Law and demonstrated Scout Spirit.
So why Eagle Out.. the Eagle Scout has too much to offer.
Which brings up the next question. And that is how young? We had this discussion last night at our Troop meeting.
I am a firm believer that there is a “Too young” age. Scouts have till their 18th birthday, realistically though, you can count on girl friends, High School sports, and other distractions to get in the way (I know it did for me) of finishing the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, but what about the young man that zips through the requirements and “Earns” the rank.
I won’t hold the boy back, but I will ensure that he grows to be an Eagle.
I think 13 is too young. 15 to 16 seems to be a good age. They are maturing and have mastered skills. They are not as shy and more likely willing to lead and teach. Now I am painting with pretty broad strokes, but by and large I think I am right.
Your average 13 year old is still finding out who is is and where he fits in. He is not the kind of kid that jumps up and takes charge. He will if prompted, but decision making is not his cup of tea (yet). When he is late 14 and going to 15 he is well on his way to growing up and accepting more responsibilty. Initiative is something he is getting used to and skills come easier and easier to pick up.
At 14-16 the Scout still has years left of making an impact on the Troop. They are getting into the dating scene, almost ready to get a driving permit and with any luck are still hanging out with the “Right” crowd. This young man should be an asset to your Troop. The Eagle Scout recieves a Charge or Challenge at his Court of honor, read more here about the Charge.
So if you let him Eagle out… you loose a good Scout and an great example for your Troop.
The object is not to make Eagles… it is to develop young men. Character, Citizenship, and Physical fitness. That Eagle Scout needs to help your Troop, he has become an Eagle, he has earned the rank, title, and now needs to live it daily.
I just finished reading Legacy of Honor by Alvin Townley. What a great Book, I highly recommend it. The book focuses on the Legacy Eagle Scouts have left on America. What an amazing story. It is a prime example of why we do not boys to “Eagle Out”.

Here are a few more articles on this topic, worth sharing… You can’t earn the rank of Eagle. The Eagle Scoutmaster Conference.

Happy Scouting!

I’m Sorry…. for what?

I promised myself that I was not going to bring up Mike Vic anymore… but it has become an issue ripe with lessons. Today Mike Vic told the world he was sorry. And in the midst of his sincere apology, all I could hear was a guy trying to keep his head above water.
Sorry for what I asked? Is he sorry for killing dogs and running an illegal gambling operation? Or is he sorry he got caught?
My gut feeling is it is the latter.
He said he made a mistake? Nah… I made a mistake tonight, I forgot to bring two second class patches for two of my Scouts. Thats a mistake. Not a felony.
Mike Vic lied. He told his boss and the commissioner that he had nothing to do with any of this. Then to save himself from a long drag through the mud and a lengthy stay in the gray bar motel, he pleaded guilty.
Which is it Mike?
Then in just a quick month he “found Jesus”. Well that I won’t judge. But where was Jesus when he was killing those dogs? Oh Jesus was there, but Mike was not asking for his help then. I geuss there are no athesist in fox holes.
So what does this have to with Scouting. EVERYTHING!!
And in a single word…. CHARACTER.
You see, sometimes you can not have your cake and eat it too. You have to understand that you are accountable for your actions, good and bad. Character is how you act when no one is watching.
We say that we see the Character of our Scouts when they are on campouts. Away from Mom and Dad. It is a good test.
You can’t teach Character, you can develop it and grow it, but Character is something inside that only the owner can control.
One of Scoutings goals is to develop Character. We do this many ways, and we have discussed them in the past, but one of the best ways to develop Character is by watching others. Watching men of good character and of course taking notes on not how to live from guys like Mike Vic.

Lying is contrary to good Character. It is a basic rule. I wonder if that is why it is the First point of the Scout law.

Mike Vic, Felon. That will be his title for the rest of his life. Bad judgement… maybe… Bad guy… for sure… bad example… without a doubt.

Mike said he was sorry. Unfortunately he said it under the cloud of Bad character. How do I know he’s not lying now? Whats he really sorry for? I think he is sorry for getting caught.
While I can forgive and forget, I can’t blank out character. Mike Vic gave it up and will not get it back no matter how many times he says he’s sorry.

I am sorry to Lucas and Ely for not having their Rank patches.. those two can take it to the bank, they know my character.

Happy Scouting!

Example of Consistancy

Leaders have a choice to make. Simply put, they need to ask where they want to go?
This question prompts the next questions; What does right look like? What are the goals of my team or unit? How do we accomplish them? and finally am I being a good example of leadership or a bad example?
The last question will drive the answers for the rest.
Being a good example is Black and White… No gray.
You are either a good example or a bad example.. you can not play the middle. Leaders need to show consistancy. Many Scouts tell me that sometimes it is not fun being a leader because you can’t mess around… my answer (having had attended college) is NO DUH!
Messing around is one thing, being a bad example is another. You can mess around, when it is time to mess around… You can not mess around when you are leading.
I ask the guys if they ever see the Assistant Scoutmasters and I messing around.. they say yeah. Then I ask when?
They all see it when there is a time and place to do so… having a chuckle during a campfire.
A little horse play during activity time (as long as it is not disruptive). There is a time and place.
Consistancy is the key. If a leader tells his unit to do something, or not to do something, then he turns around and does it, he is not being consistant and therefore being a bad example.
We all have a set of rules we live by. We grow up in homes with rules, we attend Schools that have rules, we live in a society that is governed by rules and laws. We also have the Scout law. A set of 12 rules that help us with consistancy.
If a leader is to gain the trust of the led… he needs to be Trustworthy.
If a leader is expect his team to be loyal… he needs to show loyalty to them.
If a leader wants his team to help… he needs to be helpful.
If a leader wants his team to get along… he needs to be Friendly.
If a leader expects his team to pay attention… he needs to show he is Courteous.
If a leader wants his team to stop arguing… he needs to demonstrate kindness.
If a leader expects his team to follow.. he needs to be obedient.
If a leader wants to have fun… he needs to be cheerful.
If a leader wants to take care of his patrols gear… he needs to be Thrifty.
If a leader has trouble making decisions… he needs to be Brave.
If a leader wants to be a good example… he needs to be clean in thought and deed.
If a leader expects to go far in life… he needs to be Reverent, remembering that nothing happens without God.
Simple rules to be a good example and stay consistant in your leadership.
Consistancy develops trust and confidence in the Scouts being led. Once they have confidence in you as a leader, you will have no trouble leading.
Remember consistancy and you can’t go wrong… use the Scout law to be consistant, and you can’t help but be right.

Happy Scouting!

There is no such thing as Bored!

Just returned from a FANTASTIC week at Summer Camp. We did an independant Camp out on a Ranch in Wallowa Oregon, a small rural community in Eastern Oregon.
I learned a lot over the course of the last year, planning and preparing for what was to be one on the most rewarding adventures of my life.
23 Scouts and 12 Adult leaders made up the party. We provided 14 merit badge opportunities ranging from Art to Woodcarving, we covered the spectrum.
I learned that assembling the right team will pay dividends in the end. I learned that there are people out there that still appreciate Scouting and what we do for the boys and are willing to donate time, money, and re sources. Lots of lessons learned, but most of all I learned that there is no such thing as BORED.

Out at camp there were no Playstations, there was no TV, no Radio, no IPODs, nothing….. Nothing but Fishing poles, Rope, a cool swimming hole, Friends, and most of all… a 4 inch block of wood and a pocket knife.
That little block of wood and pocket knife proved to be the most important activity all week. The boys sat for hours whittling away, talking about camp and stuff, or sitting there quietly enjoying the beautiful land we had the pleasure of calling camp. Yes I said quietly.

In this world were everything is fast paced and we all need to be entertained, these boys [and Adults I should add] found a simple piece of wood all the entertainment they needed.
There is no such thing as Bored, when you have Scouting. Every Scout has a knife and can find a piece of wood. Just sitting and enjoying what a wonderful land we live in is enough sometimes. Scouting offers this up to our Young men. They develop an appreciation for that simple touch of beauty or turning a stick into a bear.

Given the right tools…. there is no such thing as Bored.

Happy Scouting


At the end of the day all you have is your Character. It is something that no one can take away and that nothing can change unless you give it away or change it yourself.
And once you give your Character away… it is gone, never to come back.
You see Character is who and what you are inside. It is that which motivates you, it drives you, it causes you to act a certain way.
Not all Character is good, as we can see daily in the news, but that is because the holder has allowed it to happen. They gave it away.
Character is how others see you also, which is extremely important.
I once had a friend that would always say “I don’t care what other people think of me”. And as a result others thought of him in a dim light.
You demonstrate your character in everything you do. How you handle situations, decisions you make, and how you treat other people. And at every turn, someone is watching.
A Scoutmaster that allows unsafe activities to happen, that uses foul language when around the boys, and is generally undisciplined is demonstrating bad character.
One of the BSA’s goals is to develop Character in the these young men. Being a good example of that Character is the best way to teach it.
I always go back to the Scout Oath and law. They are fantastic guides of good Character.
Do you praise in public and punish in private? That is a Character trait.
Do you stay clean, both in mind and body, and demonstrate good language? Also good Character.
Do you make sound decisions, that take in to consideration others first? Character.
Can anyone question your Character? Do you lie, steal, or cheat? Do you tolerate others that do? Those are the easiest ways to give up your Character.

It was once said that you can test a mans Character by watching him when he is away from home. Very profound if you ask me. We all act different away from home. The test for your Character is do you act better.

Happy Scouting!