Month: September 2007

What does Right look like?

Boys of the Troop have heard it a million times.. ” You know what Right looks like… “
This is a term I learned a long time ago.
We all know what “Right looks like” how we make it look right is what we are looking for.
There are a couple ways to tie a square Knot.. but in the end if it does not look and function like a square knot.. then it is not a square knot.. or “Right”.
This can be applied to everything we do in life.
Scout skills all have a right way and wrong way.. we want them done right.
Living the Scout Oath and Law direct you to do what is right.
To be Trustworthy is to be one that can be trusted. That is what right looks like.
And so you can take each part of the Oath and Law and see what right looks like.
The way in which you develop your character should always lead to “right”.

The Boy Scouts have given us a clear vision of what Right looks like. It can be found in the Scout handbook and at every Scout meeting. The Oath and Law paint us a clear picture of Right.
Mentally awake, Morally Straight, Physically Strong. That is what right looks like.
Trustworthy thru Reverent… that is what right looks like…
Clean in my outdoor manners, Careful with fire, Considerate in the outdoors, and Conservation minded… that is what right looks like.

We all know what Right looks like.. lets do it!

Happy Scouting!

Top 10…

You know, everyone has there top 10 lists these days. Lists have become the way to have fun, identify who’s hot and who’s not…
Well I thought I would start in on my own Top 10’s!

Lets get started with the Top 10 Ways to set a GOOD EXAMPLE!

10. Show up on time. You do not want to become a time robber. Never leave someone waiting on you.

9. Participate. Be an active participant in your Patrol’s activities.

8. Master your Scout skills. Scout craft should become second nature for you.

7. Teach Scout skills. Be helpful to those still learning.

6. Don’t gripe.. be cheerful.

5. Be the first in camp to do things right.

4. Know what right looks like. Do not be afraid to do what is right.

3. Keep your gear clean and in good shape and help others do the same.

2. Wear your uniform properly and make sure it is neat and clean.

and the number 1 way to set a good example……

1. Live the Scout oath and Law…DAILY!

Happy Scouting!

Why do we do this?

I recently posted on a topic I called Discriminating choices.
This topic has drawn much response, most of it positive clearly from those that agree with the Boy Scouts of America and its program, while other comments have been less than positive in nature. Thank you all for your comments.
I am not going to post a retraction, none is needed, and as it states at the bottom, these are my opinions and not those of the BSA. I would like to think that I represent the views of the BSA and try to be consistant with why we do this thing called Scouting.

The bottom line is we are here to provide a program to the Boys.
Being a Scoutmaster is job that I take seriously, a job that does not turn off after the meetings on Monday, or I put away with my camping gear on Sunday night after a camp out.

I think we need to remember that we are here (I am here) for the Scouts. Without them, we really don’t need to keep showing up.

I stated in my Discrimination post that you can measure discrimination by its intent. I truly believe that there is no hate in providing a safe environment to Scouts. I also do not think there is hate in asking individuals to take an oath and stand by it.
If you don’t believe in a God.. so what… I am sure that there is something out there for you, but I do not think the Boy Scouts of America should have to change it’s values and beliefs to meet the needs of the few. Understanding that this is a private organization and there are other choices out there.

Ok.. enough about that.

So why do we do Scouting?
Well I for one have been in Scouting since I was about 8 years old. My Dad was a Scoutmaster and his Dad was too. I love the outdoors and love to test my skills. I have two sons, one is a Life Scout right now, and the other is finishing up his requirements for First Class. I love to watch them and the other guys in the Troop develop and grow into responsible young men.
I love that using the eight methods to achieve the Aims we can put together a program that keeps the Scouts engaged in Scouting, even though they are getting Girl friends, gaining interest in cars, and have lots of homework.
Scouting offers so much to these young men. To know that we have an effect on how they are going to be better citizens, men of Character, and that they won’t be couch potatoes, is rewarding.
To follow the boys on a twenty five mile backpack trip and see them test skills and themselves is the best pay raise a guy can get.
So why do we do this?
Well, its not to nit pick and find fault in the program.. after all we are the program, or at least we execute it. If the program fails, it is because we failed it. And that means we failed the boys.
And that is why we do this.

The Scouts!

Happy Scouting!

Do a Good Turn Daily

The Slogan of the Boy Scouts is simply, DO A GOOD TURN DAILY.
What does that ask of us? Well it does not mean to do one good turn a day, but to always look for chances to help throughout the day.
You never have to look for good turns, they find you…but only if you have your eyes open and your mind ready to see them.

Every day opportunities to help confront you, and then you have to make a choice, do I do a good turn, or let it go?
A good Scout does the good turn, no matter how small, no matter how large. It can be as simple as carrying a load of groceries or as big as saving a life. The point is the opportunity is there and the choice is yours.
Every day I try to do a good turn, they surround me. Notice I said try. The Scout Oath tells us to “DO OUR BEST” Sometimes you find yourself in a position that you can not help. And that is OK, as long as you are aware and see the next opportunity.
Remember always that a good turn is an extra act of kindness. It is not just something you do because it is good manners. To answer a question of a driver about reaching a location is not a good turn, it is common courtesy, drawing him a map for him that will show him how to get there- now that is a good turn. (Boy Scout Handbook 9th Edition)
There are many examples of good turns, just remember that they are all around you. Opportunity is always knocking…do you hear it?

Do a Good Turn Daily!
Happy Scouting

Discriminating choices…

I had an interesting conversation this weekend with a very good friend of mine. She is a great Scouter and is an asset to the Boy Scouts of America. She shared with me some apprehensions when her boys were beginning to show interest in Scouting.. They centered around joining an organization that “taught discrimination”. I thought this was interesting and the discussion could go many ways. Which got me thinking…The word discrimination conjures up negative images, especially when we are discussing race and gender. But I can argue that we discriminate every day.

Now before you get your feathers ruffled, lets talk about the difference in hateful discrimination and non hateful. Hateful is the easiest to identify. It is when discrimination is centered on race, creed, or gender. Its purpose is to withhold or deny something to someone or a group based on what they believe or where they come from. And I will say that sexual orientation is neither a race or religion and therefore not in my book for those that qualify to feel discriminated against in the sense listed above. That is not to say that those groups do not feel the ugly effects of discrimination. The Boy Scouts of America is clear in its policy regarding diversity;

“More than 90 years ago, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was founded on the premise of teaching boys moral and ethical values through an outdoor program that challenges them and teaches them respect for nature, one another, and themselves. Scouting has always represented the best in community, leadership, and service.
The Boy Scouts of America has selected its leaders using the highest standards because strong leaders and positive role models are so important to the healthy development of youth. Today, the organization still stands firm that their leaders exemplify the values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.
On June 28, 2000, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed the Boy Scouts of America’s standing as a private organization with the right to set its own membership and leadership standards.
The BSA respects the rights of people and groups who hold values that differ from those encompassed in the Scout Oath and Law, and the BSA makes no effort to deny the rights of those whose views differ to hold their attitudes or opinions.
Scouts come from all walks of life and are exposed to diversity in Scouting that they may not otherwise experience. The Boy Scouts of America aims to allow youth to live and learn as children and enjoy Scouting without immersing them in the politics of the day.
We hope that our supporters will continue to value the Boy Scouts of America’s respect for diversity and the positive impact Scouting has on young people’s lives. We realize that not every individual nor organization subscribes to the same beliefs that the BSA does, but we hope that all Americans can be as respectful of our beliefs as we are of theirs and support the overall good Scouting does in American communities.” from the BSA Website position statement on Diversity.

The BSA clearly honors a diverse environment that is consistent with the values of Scouting outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.
The intent to discriminate against homosexual adults applying as leaders is not hateful, it is not consistent with the promise we make to “To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight”. But more importantly to keep our Scouts in a safe environment.
So who’s morality? Well for almost 100 years.. The Boy Scouts of America and the Chartered Partners that maintain the units within the organization.
The BSA, being a PRIVATE organization has the right to set it’s rules and standards. It also has the obligation to maintain consistency within those guidelines. The BSA is obligated to its membership first. In turn the membership is consistant throughout the Nation and Communities in which they live.
So back to discrimination. We do it daily.. We make discriminating choices all the time, that is not to say they are hateful in anyway. Homosexuality is a good example and an extremely divisive topic. I am not going to go into it here, but it too is a discriminator. I have friends that are Homosexual. I do not condone their life style nor do I support it. I don’t even accept it. I tolerate it, not hateful and never will I treat them less than anyone else, but when I have to make a choice to accept it or tolerate it.. I do… and that is a form of discrimination.
I discriminate between Mcdonalds and Burger King, solely based on the french fries. I discriminate on camping gear and the places I shop. REI over Joes.. I like the service and the products. I discriminate over clothing and shoes, some fit better, some come from companies I feel are helping the community etc.
So non- hateful discrimination exists daily and is not a bad thing.
Hateful discrimination on the other hand is absolutely not tolerated, not in my house, not in the Boy Scouts of America.
So the discussion went. So does the BSA teach discrimination, sure.. it teaches Scouts to make ethical and moral decisions and that forces discrimination (non hateful).
It asks that Scouts and their leaders live the values of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law. It wants the Scouts to find or enhance their individual religious beliefs.
Every meeting we make a promise to ourselves and to everyone that is listening to do my duty to God and Country and to OBEY the Scout law, to help other people at all times and then the three to ourselves, to keep myself physically Strong, Mentally awake, and Morally straight.
What kind of promise are we making if we do not really believe we are too live up to it?
We discriminate in the very words of the Scout Law, we say that we will not tolerate those that are not Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.
This is the kind of Discrimination we need in America. It holds all of us accountable. It tells us that we need to be the very best we can be. None of which is hurtful or hateful.

This awesome Scouter that had apprehension at first is now one of the finest Scout leaders I know. She lives the Values of Scouting and is a great example. That and she is a good teacher of those values, so I asked do we teach it? Yep! In a positive, non hateful way teaching good values that no one can argue hurts America.

Happy Scouting!

Example of Leadership

I have said it time and time again that good leaders are consistent.
This week I was emailed a video of our new Chief Scout Executive, Mr. Robert Mazzuca.
The video was an interview with Mr. Mazzuca focused on the controversies the Boy Scouts of America has dealt with regarding Homosexuality and Pedophiles.

True leadership Mr. Mazzuca, the 11th Chief Scout Executive, demonstrates in the video. He is consistent with the Values and positions of the Boy Scouts of America.
His steadfast position that we are a values based organization and his dedication to the protection of the young men (and women) within it are nice to see.

No matter where you are in the debate, the fact remains that the BSA is a private organization that has established itself as the Nations (Worlds) leading training ground for young men and women building Character, good Citizens and maintaining physical fitness.
In a time where you are flooded by acts of cruelty to children, abuse, and neglect, the Boy Scouts pledges to keep our kids safe and provide an opportunity to grow and develop into good people.

Mr. Mazzuca elaborated on the fact that we “kick bad people out”. And that is a good thing. According to the interview at a rate of 1 every other day since 2005. This shows that the BSA is serious about protecting our youth. There is no place in our organization for people that wish to do harm.

Leaders get the pat on the back when things go well and they get kicked in the butt when things go wrong. Mazzuca is prepared for that. “Organizations get mugged when they do nothing, they get mugged when they don’t do something, I’d rather get mugged for doing something.”

Robert Mazzuca became the 11th Chief Scout Executive on the 1st of September and already is showing his leadership. He clearly is a good example of our Organization and stands with its long traditions and supports its positions.

More information and links on this topic:
http://www.scouting.org/media/press/2007/20070830.mov

Youth protection

Happy Scouting

LEADERSHIP 101- the LEADING EDGE

The LEADING EDGE is a tool to assist you in providing Purpose, Direction, and Motivation to your Troop or Patrol.
Remember this:
E- Explaining
D- Demonstrating
G- Guiding
E- Enabling

These are methods in working with you Patrol where they are, or at what level they are functioning.
Explaining is used when your Scouts are learning a new skill or doing a task for the first time. It is a very hands on method to ensure that everyone clearly understands what is expected. Very little is left to interpretation.
Here is an example; Jim, you and Brad will need to go to the dining hall at exactly 4:00 PM to pick up your food for dinner. Do you understand?

Demonstrating is used once the group understands the task or skill, but still needs help in doing it correctly or are unsure. Many times a lack of confidence is present and Demonstrating can help move the group forward.
Here is an example; “Let’s hold up on the hike for a minute. I’d recommend that we all take a moment to drink some water. No one wants to get dehydrated (TAKE A DRINK YOURSELF). I notices a while back that some of you were pulling leaves off the branches as you pushed the branch out of the way. We’re a Leave No Trace kind of Troop. That means no one should be able to tell we’ been here.”
This leader took the time to teach, no criticize, and SHOW that he too needed water. He is modeling the behaviors consistent with our Scouting values and looking out for his fellow Scouts.

Guiding is used when you have confidence that the group can do the task or skill, but still needs a watchful eye.
“Jack, the patrol set up camp as group on our last trip. I noticed that you did a nice job. I think you can pitch your tent by yourself this time. Pick out a good site and pitch your tent, if you need help, I will be right over here with the new guys.”
This example allows the Scout to demonstrate he knows the skills. The leader show he can trust the Scout to do it and it in turn builds confidence. The leader maintains a watchful eye and is ready to help if needed.

Finally, there is Enabling. This leadership style allows the leader to demonstrate confidence in the Patrol. It is used when the Patrol is functioning as a High performance team. The leader supervises the skill and pitches in when needed, but he allows the group to show that they can do it.

It is important to remember that when using the EDGE you may need to use multiple styles within your unit. One Scout may be fully capable of Enabling while another may need more Explaining. Others still may need demonstration and Guiding. It is the leaders job to figure that out. Knowing your people and their skill level and learning styles are critical to good leadership.

If you use the EDGE… you will have the LEADING EDGE.

You can learn more about the LEADING EDGE at the National Youth Leadership Training.

The Example’s I used came directly from the NYLT Course book.

Happy Scouting!