Monthly Archives: November 2007

Choices, Chances, and Scout Skills…

We just returned from a fantastic weekend at Camp Cooper up in the Coast Range.
Friday night Camp Cooper greeted us with a light rain, but not enough to dampen the spirits of the Troop 664. Saturday morning the rain turned to down pours, and still the Scouts of 664 drove on. Sunday morning we awoke to a fine dusting of fresh snow, a thing of beauty.
It was a fantastic weekend for those that made good choices. those that took chances had a little different experience, while those that stuck to fundamental Scout skills had a pleasant weekend.

There is a huge difference between making sound choices and taking chances.
This weekend was a great example of that principle.
Scouts knew that it was raining, when it rains you get wet…. UNLESS… you make a choice not to. You can choose to put your rain gear on… you can choose to put your boots inside your tent… you can choose to keep your gear under a cover… you can choose to zip your tent door and set it up with the door away from the wind.


You can take a chance that the rain drops will miss you. You can take a chance that your boots will stay dry as you hear the pitter patter of the rain on your tent. You can take a chance that your gear will stay dry sitting outside, and you can take the chance that the wind will not blow any water into your tent getting your sleeping bag wet.

Scout skills. As a scout develops and advances to First class he should be developing sound skills. First Aid, Cooking, Knot tying, and Camp craft. He should begin to become a good (seasoned) camper. The implication here is that he has developed skills that he can put to use in the outdoors, another way of saying he has learned enough to make sound choices.
Seasoned camper know that the experience of camping is better when done right. Just because you are in the heart of the wilderness, you do not have to suffer and be miserable.
Skills like developing a priority of work in camp. Getting the tents set up first, then the cooking area, and constantly improving your campsite. Developing in camp routines, like keeping all your gear in the backpack until you need an item. Packing your backpack so as to have easy access to the stuff you need. Putting your sleeping back in its stuff sack when not in use, creating a campsite that meets the needs of the task and the comfort of the patrol.

By the time a Scout is First class he should know these things and demonstrate them on a consistant basis. This is Scouting. All of this teaches the Scout to make sound decisions and choices that not only effect him, but others. It teaches and reinforces responsibility. It develops an attitude of caring for himself and his gear and working and living in a small group.

It is a good idea to develop these skills early before bad habits settle in. Breaking a bad habit may never happen in the life span of a Scouts stay in Scouting.
Of note: It is important that the Adults in the group develop and demonstrate the same skill sets. It is not ok for the Adult leaders to teach one thing and do another.

Making the Choice to be a Good camper is a heck of a lot better than leaving your camping experience to chance. The right Scout Skills, practiced with consistency will help you in that endeavor.

Happy Scouting!

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Need to share this…

Here is a real nice lesson from a fellow Blogger and Scouter that I think is perfect!
He nails it with his post. It’s called “Give or Take
This comes from a Scout Leader in Texas. Has a nice Blog called the Lone Star Scouter.

Read the Post here!

Happy Scouting!

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It’s almost too easy…

Scoutmasters take note… celebrities are helping us out for a change… yep I said celebrities!

Unless you live in a cave and have no access to the outside world you heard today that Barry Bonds was indited by the Federal Grand jury. Obstruction of Justice and perjury.
To break it down for you he lied and he cheated.

So now.. we don’t want to become a sports blog, so I will put this in Scouting terms.
He lied and he cheated.

A Scout is Trustworthy! Barry is not. Its that simple.
And this is the stuff that all good Scoutmaster minutes are made of. Real life played out in front of us giving us life lessons on how we can use the Scout Oath and Law in our daily lives.

I have said it so many times… If you live the Oath and Law you will never go wrong.
If Barry understood the values of the Law, he would not have lied and he certainly would not have cheated. I am not saying Barry Bonds ever did steroids.. that really does not matter at this point. In fact I would much rather he did and came clean about it. But Bonds lied and in the process kept the truth about other scandals from the authorities.

And the real lesson here has nothing to do with steroids or Barry Bonds. It has everything to do with being Trustworthy and knowing what right looks like. Had Bonds just worked hard, he still may have hit all those home runs. Had he given honest effort and used his talent he would not be in the news in a negative light. If he had lived as an example of Trust, he would not have been indicted today.

The other night I told the Troop that if you ever find yourself looking over your shoulder, you are about to do something wrong, something that one day you will regret. You may “Get away with it now, but it will always be there and one day catch up to you.

I wonder if Barry Bonds thinks about what may have been had he not got mixed up in Balco?
I wonder if Barry Bonds knows the kind of man that he could have been, respected for his talent and skill.
I wonder if Barry Bonds understands the impact that he has left, not only on Baseball, but on everyone that now looks at him for what he appears to be. A liar and cheat.

I hope you all think about living the Scout and Law before you do the wrong thing and understand the impact it will have on you and those around you. Remember, you make a promise to do so… on your Honor.

I’ll leave you with this. Put Barry Bonds aside. It boils down to Trustworthy and doing the right thing. Never put yourself in a bad position and you will never have to get out of one.

Do not tolerate Liars, cheaters, or thieves.. they are never right!

Thanks Barry.. you make Scoutmaster minutes to easy!

Happy Scouting!

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…Find out what it means to me…R-E-S-P-E-C-T…

Respect seems to be one of those values that is fading, going the way of the buffalo. Seems that way, but I hope not.
We had a lengthy chat the other night about respect and how it effects the life of a Patrol.
Patrols will never be good patrols until the members respect one another. There will never be an end to violence unless people respect one another. There will never be an end to crime until those that commit crime learn to respect others.
And so it goes.

The Patrol and Troop needs to be aware that it all comes down to respect. Respect for each others ideas. Respect for each others property, respect for each others feelings. Respect for each other as a person.
You can not move in the direction of a “High performance team” until all the members respect the vision of the leader and understand that the team wants to move forward. Respecting the idea that there is give and take. You can not always get your way.
Respect goes deeper than that though. It is the basic idea that you want to be treated by others the way you treat them. Lets assume that you treat others well, you expect to be treated well.

It is the golden rule and no matter where you are from, what faith community you belong to, what culture you were born to. Treating others the way you want to be treated is a basic tenant. Respect is the foundation of that thought.

I am sure that you will find that when respect is given it is received. Let’s take for example the place were the Troop meets.
We make sure that every time we use it, we take out the trash, straighten the chairs and clean up any mess we made. This leaves the meeting hall in good shape for the next people. The owners of the hall see that we continually do our part to keep it clean. They see that we respect this gift that has been given and they continue to give. On the other hand if we trash it and treat the hall with disrespect, they would surely kick us out.
It is something as simple as that.

Respect one another and you will find that much of what you perceive as problems will go away. You will find that others will respect you in return.

Nothing good can happen until mutual respect is given.

Happy Scouting!

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TOP 10… Qualities of a Leader!

This weeks TOP 10 list will focus on Leadership…


10. Prepares for the Future. Not only for himself, but the leader is grooming his replacement.

9. Recognizes his limitations. We can’t do it all by ourselves. A good leader knows what he can and can not do.

8. Is Visible and Accessible. To be a good leader you need to be out front and be available to those you lead.

7. Transforms ideas into Action. Great ideas are useless until they become real.. put your ideas into action.

6. Open to new ideas. Never be a “My way or the Highway” kind of guy. You need to pull ideas from others.

5. Understands Sharing. Share Success not failure. Give others credit when its due.


3. Set High standards.. for yourself and your team.

2. Create the Environment for success.


Communicates his Vision! Let your team know where you want to go and how to get there!

Happy Scouting!

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LEADERSHIP 101- The Effective Leader

This past weekend we had a great time at our annual Leadership Development Conference (LDC) hosted and trained by our Order of the Arrow Lodge.
The event is open to all Scouts and Scouters that are interested in becoming better leaders.
A lot of Troops use the LDC as their Troop Junior Leader Training, because over the years the the training offered has been consistently that good.

This years theme centered around planning and the effective leader. What I liked was that the Scouts that taught the classes had done their homework and produced a good product that demonstrated the steps of good leadership.

There are many attributes that make up an effective leader, but here are the six steps that will ensure effective leadership:

1. Provide Vision and Direction. I have talked about this before. A good leader by definition leads by providing Purpose, Direction, and Motivation. Understanding where one wants to go and a clear understanding of how he wants to get there will ensure success. Being able to communicate that vision is key to achieving that success.

2. Find Resources. Effective leaders know that they can not do it alone. They also develop a keen sense of how to use their “tool box”. They understand that there are people and things around them that will help them on the way.

3. Determine the readiness level. You must know your people. You need to understand where they are coming from and what skill sets they have to perform the task. Skills and Motivation determine where you are in the Team Development process. High Performance teams have a lot of Motivation and high Skills.

4. Assign Responsibilities. DELEGATE DELEGATE DELEGATE… but remember you are the leader. You can delegate responsibilities, but you can not delegate accountability. Spreading the work around will make the task easier and it will get the team involved giving them ownership. But remember that you need to check and double check.. you are still the leader.

5. Perform the Task. “Get ‘er done!” Be there and be watchful as the task is being completed. Allow others to shine.. give them a job to do and let them do it. Give guidance and direction and be a good coach. Hands on is good too, but when you give someone a task, let them do it.

6. Check and Report. Use the Start, Stop, and Continue model for after action reporting. You need to discuss what went well and what went poor. Learning is what makes you better.
During the Reflection or review stay focused on what the task was, stories are fun to hear, but during reporting stay focused on learning how to do it better next time.

Following these six step will keep you focused and on track for effective leadership while performing a task. It is the essence of leadership. Leaders emerge when something needs to be done. Effective leaders get it done.

Happy Scouting!

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Veterans Day 2007

A Salute… Thank you Veterans!

Happy Scouting!

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LEADERSHIP 101- Communication

Communication is possibly the most important part of leadership. Without communication we can not share our vision, provide motivation, and articulate purpose.
We all know that we constantly communicate. We do this both verbally and non verbally. The way you act is just as important as the way you talk. The way you stand is just as important as what you say. And how you say it can redirect the meaning so as to give your listener a totally different picture of what you are trying to communicate. At some point in Scouting or in your life you will need to communicate. The better you are at the easier it will be for you as a leader and the easier it will be for those you lead to understand your vision.
So we need to be aware and work on communication constantly.

Here are a few tips to assist in EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION:

1. Speak Clearly. Can everyone hear you? Remember that while the information is probably very familiar to you, the listener may be hearing it for the very first time. Also, speak to the group as if you are talking to the last person in the last row.

2. Use language that EVERYONE understands. Avoid using jargon and acronyms that some may not be familiar with. This makes the listener feel like he is not welcome.

3. Vary your tone and pace. Keep your voice and not just your words interesting.

4. Move from the general to the specific. Provide examples of generalizations that the listener can relate to.

5. Use visuals- charts, maps, and diagrams. Remember that people vary in how they best absorb information. Some are more oriented towards verbal language, some towards the written word, and some learn a lot through graphics.

6. Eyeball- look at the listener. If you are speaking to a group, can you see everyone? Are the looking at you?

7. Encourage two way flow. Ask questions and get them asking questions of you. Answer questions helpfully and in a friendly manner. Don’t pass judgement on the question or the questioner.

8. Make it fun and interesting. Show enthusiasm!

Those are just a few ways that you can better your communication. Remember that to be an Effective leader you need to be an Effective Communicator.

Happy Scouting!

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The 11th Hour on the 11th Day of the 11th Month…

This Sunday is Veterans Day.
A day that we in America honor all of the Veterans that have served the forces that guard our Country and protect our way of life.
On Veterans Day we say thank you!

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.
In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

On Veterans day we need to take just a minute and say thanks to our Veterans. They have given so much for us. Some served because they had too, while others served out of a sense of duty, either way the impacted America by their service. During peace time and in times of war, our service men and women stood ready to do our nations bidding. They stand vigilantly on the wall of America to ensure we remain the land of the free. Without them our nation would not be the same.

It is important to remember that we have these men and women in our communities, our Churches, our Schools, and work places. And our nation makes new veterans daily as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that have raised their hand and pledged to defend everything that we hold dear. Without complaint, without protest, they go. They leave the comforts of home, the safety of our neighborhoods, their families and friends and they do with Honor and Pride.

CSM Schleining, Gov. Kulongoski, LTC Cramer the night we came home from Iraq. (Yeah that’s me on the left)

Take a minute this Sunday and say a prayer for Veterans. Find one and say Thanks!

Happy Scouting!

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3 words…

Last night wrapped up an election here in Oregon. And with elections come debate, scandal and mud slinging. I wonder if any of these people really want to help or are they just in it for ego.
We voted on property rights and taxing smokers last night (as well a a few other minor issues). For the last six months we have seen the absolute worst in people. And it got me thinking, there are three little words that can solve many of these problems.


It is a phrase that begins our Oath. A Oath that leads us in a direction of promise.
Promise to duty to God and Country… not ego.
Promise to Help other People…AT ALL TIMES.. not just election years.
Promise to Keep ourselves Strong, mentally awake, and MORALLY Straight.

I suppose you could debate who’s morality.. but if you did than you really don’t get the Scout oath and law.

I listened to politicians over the last week giving their last ditch efforts to win their cause. The lengths they go to amaze me. I give them points for being tenacious. But do they stop to think about what they are really doing? Do they ask themselves if it lives up to the standard of the Scout law (the answer here is no by the way)? Go ahead a repeat aloud the Scout law right now.. and think of a politician or a ballot measure that meets the 12 point test. Hard to find one is it not? And that to me is sad.

You have to ask the hard questions? Are they Trustworthy? Loyal? Helpful? ….

IF they would take a minute and ask if they are doing an HONORABLE thing I am sure they would stop most of what they do.

What is HONOR?
According to Websters: (taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary)
1 a: good name or public esteem : reputation b: a showing of usually merited respect : recognition
2: privilege
3: a person of superior standing —now used especially as a title for a holder of high office
4: one whose worth brings respect or fame : credit
5: chastity, purity
6 a: a keen sense of ethical conduct : integrity b: one’s word given as a guarantee of performance .

Looking over those definitions I can’t find ego, I can’t find scandal, I can’t find politics and I am sure that there is no honor left in our politicians. It is a shame too, because I believe that the framers of our country were honorable men. I think they had the very best of intentions when they wrote the Constitution.

Three little words…


How do you use them? What do they mean to you?

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