Month: February 2008

February 29th

Today we get an extra day. So what are you going to do with it. Wouldn’t it be great if we took this extra day and made it special, For someone else.

Today would be a great day to try to demonstrate the Scout Law to someone. Be Helpful and Kind, Be Courteous and Brave, Be Friendly and Loyal. Today is the leap year day.. an extra day to do a good turn…Daily!

Make today count!

Happy Scouting!


An interesting observation of our Scouts these days, first let me say that they are all great kids, but they have a tendency to stray. Now I can’t recall exactly how I acted as a 13-14 year old, but I know for a fact that it was probably not like these guys today.
You see, our guys do what the ASMs and I call “Poodling”. It is hard to describe, it is a random unfocused, babbling followed usually by some sort of dance or incoherent wandering. At times it is funny to observe, but for the most part it annoys even the most patient adult.

“Poodling” was taken to another level this year as some of the Scouts got older. Yes another level. The older Scouts dropped the random dance/wander from the action, now they do what we refer to as “Verbal Poodling”. Completely random nonsense that they seem to understand. They can do this for hours on end, with no purpose or result. At first I thought, my goodness, we have an entire Troop with ADHD. But then I observed it in other Troops as well. And a visit to a local Cub Scout Pack taught me that “Poodling” starts at a young age, and in a few weeks 8 more “Poodlers” will be introduced to our Troops ranks.

While “Poodling” is harmless and funny at times, it is something that must be kept in check. A simple 15 minute Patrol meeting can last an hour due to “Poodling”. A sharp look out for “Poodling” activity is now a part of the Scoutmasters job description. Be ever vigilant in quailing the “Verbal Poodle” or you will loose track of an event or meeting.

“Poodling” may be harmless, but it can be destructive at times. I suppose that it does not fall into any categories on the don’t list in the guide to safe Scouting, but it can drive an ASM up the wall.

Be on the look out for “Poodling” activity in your unit. I am sure it is there, it may come with a different name, but its “Poodling” just the same.

Happy Scouting!

A small fish tale

Summer camp of 2006 took Troop 664 into the Jefferson Wilderness area and Camp Pioneer owned and operated by a great staff of the Cascade Pacific Council. The weather for the week was fantastic and we loaded up and headed to to Camp.
When we arrived at camp, we went through the usual tour of camp, swim test, and set up routine. The afternoon of the first day is always laid back and full of information meetings and getting to know ya’s.

After lunch the Scouts had free time until dinner. Most of the Scouts of 664 decided it was high time to get their lines in the water and see about pulling in some nice brown trout that the lake at Pioneer is famous for.
The Scoutmasters had to report to the Chapel at camp, the absolute best chapel in all of Scouting. The view is second to none, carved into the side of a slope with the lake at its feet and the best view of Mt. Jefferson in all of Oregon. The Chapel puts you right in Gods palm.
As the Scoutmaster’s gathered Red hats dotted the banks of the lake and fishing had begun. It looked like the whole Troop was out there seeing who could get the first fish.
As the lecture on Camp policies and procedures began, we noticed a young Scout on the bank, he looked to be fighting a whale. Immediately the lecture stopped as we all took in the sight of Summer camp memories being made. The pride that a group of Scoutmasters had for this young anonymous Scout could be seen in the smiles of the group as we all rose to our feet. Suddenly the fish was out of the water. And joyful Scout shouted to his buddies that he had a big one. Then as if looking for a nod of acceptance the Scout turned toward the Chapel found my red hat and made eye contact with me. I gave him a big thumbs up and yelled across the lake “WELL DONE CHAD!” His reply sent the group of Scoutmasters in to hysterical laughter. “WHAT DO I DO NOW? Chad yelled back.

Now concern for this poor fish took over as I excused myself from the meeting and ran to the other side of the lake. “I think its dead” one Scout said. “Give it CPR” said another. “Does this mean we have to Eat it?” came a voice from behind a bush. Amazingly the fish was still alive and it did in fact swim away after we removed the hook and held it in the water for a minute.

For the rest of the week we think we saw that fish a few more times, but not another fish was caught, not for a lack of trying, those lines stayed in the water all week long, every day before breakfast and after dinner the Scouts of 664 made an presents on the banks of the lake.

Chad got the first and only fish of the week, and in the process became a story for the Troop to last a life time.

Happy Scouting!

Tips for a good Scoutmaster Conference

There are two different Scoutmaster Conferences. The First is when a Scout needs to fulfill a requirement to advance, the other is when a Scout needs your undivided attention.

The advancement conferences are pretty straight forward, but allot can be learned in a few minutes sitting with a Scout. A review of his book to ensure all is in order, some questions that test the practical application of those skills or lessons learned, and then listen.
Sometimes silence is a flag waving begging the Scoutmaster to keep asking questions. In some of the conferences I have held, a long pause and stare to the ground meant, “Ask me about School” or “I need to talk about girls”. While I am not their parent, with two exceptions, the boys often times like that outside set of eyes and ears. It is the job of the Scoutmaster to be a good mentor, teacher, listener, friend. Baden Powell once said “To get a hold on boys you must be their friend.” You may just be that person they are comfortable to talk to that will get them over the hump in School, or with their other friends, or yeah… with a girl.

Most of those topics come up at the other Scoutmaster conferences and not advancement, but I always leave that door open in the event that Monday night is the night they need to talk.
Regarding conferences other than advancement.. you call it what you want… but I made a promise to my Troop that if they need a “Conference” that was a signal that they needed to talk and I would stop the world for them and give them my attention.
Make yourself accessible. There is always time. You may have to juggle some things around, but the Scout needs to know that you are there and will in fact give them time.
The Scouts of my Troop have my phone number, email, and know that if need by I can pick up Morse code when it comes to giving them an ear.

The Scoutmaster conference is more than a requirement for advancement. It is a communication tool that develops the youth as he interacts with adults. It is a friendly ear to listen, it is a place to come for advice and comfort. To the Scout it is a promise that we care about them.
Take advantage of the Scoutmaster conference to get to know your Scouts, you will not regret it. You can learn allot about them and your Troop during a 5 minute chat.

Happy Scouting!

Governed by "DO" not "DON’T"

Baden Powell understood young men, he had a connection with the way they learned, developed and reacted to teaching styles and learning environments. In the following excerpt from the Lessons from the Varsity life by Lord Baden Powell of Gilwell he discusses the Scout law.

The Scout Law.
So the Scout Law was not framed as a list Of DON’T’S. Prohibition generally invites evasion since it challenges the- spirit inherent in every red-blooded boy (or man).: The boy is not governed by DON’T, but is led on by DO. The Scout Law, therefore, was devised as a guide to his actions rather than as repressive of his faults. It merely states what is good form and expected of a Scout.


Scouting across the world adopted the law and modified it to meet the needs of the national programs in which they applied. But the rule of DO and not Don’t carried throughout. We learn through our Scout Law what we should Do and Be, not what we should not do or be. Unlike the 10 commandments that teach us what not to do and be, the Scout Law encourages a life of Service and ethical attitudes. It gives us a starting point from which we test our decisions and actions that follow.
I found it interesting that the other day I over heard a man talking about the “Say it out loud test”. This tested whether or not one should engage in something that may not be sound. The way it works is that before you do something, say it out loud. For example, if you are going to rob a bank. Say it out loud. It just sounds wrong… then don’t do it.
Another example; “Hey lets all put a knife in the wall socket”… say it out loud… it does not even sound right, does it? Then don’t do it.

Baden Powell encouraged us to DO the right thing. He did not want to burden us with a list of DON’Ts… DO be Trustworthy, DO be Loyal, DO be Helpful, DO be Friendly, DO be Courteous, DO be Kind, DO be Obedient, DO be Cheerful, DO be Thrifty, DO be Brave, DO be Clean, and DO be Reverent. Putting this positive attitude in our rules to live by makes it easier. We all enjoy it when we are given opportunity and latitude. When I am told that I can do something, I feel a lot better than when someone tells me I can’t.

As Scouts and future leaders of America, we encourage you to BE, KNOW, and DO. You know what right looks like.. you have the power to DO it!

Happy Scouting!

excerpts are borrowed from

Why Leave no Trace is important

The Outdoor Code of the BSA should be enough…. Right? Well that is if we all lived it. The Leave No Trace principles lead us down a trail to being good stewards of the our wilderness. As Boy Scouts we should just be all of those things, but we all know that the wrong way is always the easiest.. and easy creates the path of least resistance. We get lazy and as a result we leave a trace.

Using the leave no trace principles from start to finish on every outing will ensure that we maintain the land we have and keep it in the best shape for those that come after us. Now I am not running out to join Green Peace, and I believe that “Global Warming” is a natural process will happen with or without man. But I also believe that we don’t have to push it. We can do this to minimize our footprint while enjoying the wilderness. There are those out there that would not allow anyone to step foot in the wilderness areas. This is extreme, especially when we can do things to reduce the impact. But it takes everyone, especially Scouts to practice it. Leave no Trace gives us that foundation to work from. It sets us up through the principles of planning and preparing, traveling on durable surfaces, setting camp on hard stands, looking at ways to reduce and dispose of waste, leaving what we find, minimizing campfire impact, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.

So why is Leave no Trace important? It all comes down to whether or not you enjoy the out doors. It comes down to an appreciation for what we have and wanting to keep it that way. I boils down to leaving it for the future. Unfortunately when God created man, in some he left out the common sense gene, in some he did not place the appreciation gene, and in some he gave it all. We Scouts know what right looks like, we have an appreciation for our wilderness areas and understand that we need to protect them for total selfish reasons… so we can enjoy them.
Practicing Leave No Trace is good stewardship and we must learn and do the principles to ensure our wilderness areas are there forever… or until the next ice age or what ever the next cycle of earth produces.

Happy Scouting