Monthly Archives: February 2008

Time for Scouting

When you break it down the 2010 National Jamboree is right around the corner. And like most Councils, the Cascade Pacific Council is in the process of selecting its Adult leaders and applications for youth positions are now available.

As I worked on the online applications for my two sons, I found it interesting that, one, the application was rather lengthy and two, it asked about information outside of Scouting.
I suppose neither one of those are surprising, but it struck me as odd that an event two years away would need that kind of information now.

But here is why, I think. There is always a great debate about Scouting and the time it consumes. We constantly hear about the struggles of parents trying to get from Soccer to Scouts, from Football practice to meetings on Mondays, from School work to Camp outs.
I had this discussion a couple nights ago with my own sons. While we all lead busy lives and our children have Palm Pilots and planners, Moms and Dads need to have Sync meetings on Sundays nights to coordinate the week, it seems that there is always time for Scouting.

There is time after School before a meeting to do homework and study. There is time to work on advancement and merit badges, the Scout has till he is 18. I think what is missing in most peoples lives is perspective. Putting all of the daily routine in perspective will give a clear picture of what you are really doing. Are busy to be busy? Are you active to be seen? Are you really getting the most out of your life?
I think, and of course I have a biased opinion, that Scouting is that activity that rounds it all out. Scouting is the activity that is values based that focuses on the good things in life and preparing young men to be their best and do their best. Their best in the class room, in Church, at home, and in life.

So as I filled out the applications and got to the questions about out of Scouting activities, we answered that we are busy with Football, Band, School, Church, Family and Friends like most families. But in my planner I wrote, “there is always time for Scouting”. In fact there is never a time that Scouting should not be a part of our lives. It is not always when we wear our uniforms, we are Scouts and Scouters daily. Living the motto and practicing the Slogan. Taking the Oath and Law to heart and keeping it a part of our daily lives.

The 2010 National Jamboree is going to be spectacular. It is our 100th Anniversary and sure to be a once in a life time experience. What a blessing it is to live in this time.

Happy Scouting!

Categories: Jamboree, Scouting | Leave a comment

LNT- Leave what you find

The fourth principle of the Leave No Trace outdoor ethic is “Leave what you find”.

Said best… “Leave only footprints.. take only pictures“. We have heard that one for years.
This allows others a sense of discovery. By leaving rocks, plants, and artifacts were they are, others can have the same experience as you.

Leave areas as you found them. Minimizing your impact in camp leaves the area just as nice as when you arrived. Do not dig trenches or leave pioneering projects up. If you clear an area to put you tent up, replace the pine cones and twigs that you clear. Consider the idea that “Good Campsites are found and not made.”

Avoid damaging trees and plants. Never hammer nails or screws into trees to hang things on them. Never hack at trees or carve into them. Cutting boughs for use a sleeping pad is a great idea if you are on Man Vs. Wild.. but a good sleeping pad works better and does not make the impact as hacked boughs.

Leave Natural objects and Cultural artifacts.
Natural objects of beauty or interest, such as antlers, petrified wood, or colored rocks, add to the mood of the back country and should be left so others can experience the sense of discovery also.

Happy Scouting!

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Life in a Cup of Hot Chocolate

A good friend of mine shared this with me. I am unsure of the original author, so I am giving credit to anonymous.

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups – porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: “Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you’re drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.

Happy Scouting!

Categories: Scoutmaster minute | 2 Comments

Zero Tolerance…

That is what the Boy Scouts of America feels about Bullies and Harassment… and so do I.
There is no room for bullies or harassment of any kind within the BSA. There simply is no place for it. A simple review of the Scout Oath and Law will not allow for it.

The 2008 requirements now discuss this issue. And I for one and glad. I know this is old news for those of you that keep up with the changes annually, but, like youth protection this needs to be discussed each year.
The new Tenderfoot requirement states:

9b. Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Describe what a bully is and how you should respond to one.

The first thing a Scout should know is that he can trust his leaders. He needs to Report any violation of safety or harassment by a bully. As leaders we can not be everywhere, nor should we, but we need to be out in front of these issues and get on top of them as soon as it is reported.
The Second Class requirement that address’s this issue is:

8b. Explain the three R’s of personal safety and protection.

The “three R’s” of Youth Protection convey a simple message that the BSA wants its youth members to learn:
Recognize situations that place him at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse of himself and helps to protect other children. Let the Scout know he will not be blamed for what occurred.

And the First Class requirement that discusses bullies and harassment is:

12. Describe the three things you should avoid doing related to the use of the Internet. Describe a cyberbully and how you should respond to one.

With the Internet, email, text messaging, and other electronic media out there, all of which make our lives better, we need to understand that with everything there are precautions that we need to take. Again we need to be out in front of the situations and prepare for the worst.

With the new requirements, the BSA has stepped up its ZERO Tolerance of harassment and bullies. There just is no room for it in our Troops and the in the BSA.
Getting on top of a bad situation and defusing it, discussing it, and taking appropriate actions are key in providing a safe harassment free environment for the Scouts to enjoy their experience in Scouting.

Happy Scouting!

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Some thoughts on Advancement

Advancement seems to be a great method in teaching and achieving the Aims of Scouting (Character development, Citizenship, and Physical and Mental fitness). We can find parts of all of the goals in the advancement method.

Character is built throughout the process. The Scout demonstrates good Character by showing his honesty during the Scoutmaster Conference and Board of review, he demonstrates Integrity when working on skills, seeking counsel for Merit Badges, and returning a completed “Blue Card” to the Advancement Chair or Scoutmaster. He again shows good character as he completes the requirements by not gloating or putting those in his peer group down.

Good Citizenship is found in the process also. As the Scout progresses through the Early ranks and then on through Star, Life, and Eagle, he is placed in positions of responsibility. He needs to understand the concept of Selfless service, making decisions for the good of the Patrol and Troop and not himself. He participates in elections and group decision making to move his patrol forward. This tests the scouts ability to work with others and challenges him to think not only of what is best for him, but what is best for all. Often times he discovers that majorities are not always right, but decisions must be seen through to get the most out of the learning experience.

And physical and mental fitness is borne out of the method of advancement. He is tested physically as a Tenderfoot. Then through the required merit badges of Cycling, Hiking, Personal Fitness, and Swimming. Many other merit badges will test him both physically and mentally. This all develops the young man while peaking his learning and growing an appreciation for skills, careers, and the out doors.

These are all reasons that Advancement is important.
Goal setting is a big reason for the Advancement method. We know that the Scout is solely responsible for his progress along the way. This test the scouts ability to set short term and long term goals, stick to it, and complete the goals. A Scout that does this experiences responsibility unlike anything his class mates will ever experience. A Scout that truly progresses through the advancement process, setting his goals and achieving them should be satisfied that he has accomplished great things. Those Scouts that race through the process or rely on others to walk them by the hand through it will never understand the feeling of success and accomplishment.

I have seen Troops that are for a lack of better terms, “Merit Badge mills”. They turn out merit badges at a rate that keeps the Scout Shop inventory system on edge. And at the end of the day the Scouts have a great amount of merit badges and no skill. They have a sash full of cloth, but no interest in the subject areas, they have an advanced rank, but no understanding of Character, leadership, or being a member of a high performance team.

The advancement method is there to assist the Scout and the unit in achieving the three Aims of Scouting. It is the Leaders function to provide a program in which the Scout can achieve success. To provide those opportunities that foster growth and development, to test the Scouts individual abilities and skills and to teach, coach, train and mentor the Scout along the way. It is the Scouts responsibility to advance at his own pace and to learn, set goals, know the requirements, have fun, and achieve the feeling of success.

Advancement is but one of eight methods in Scouting. We should not loose sight of the goal to get more patches. We need to ensure that Scouts achieve, not just receive. They need to earn the ranks and the merit badges. By earning them they will be successful in finding Character, Citizenship and Fitness.

Happy Scouting!
Categories: Advancement | Leave a comment

Boy Scout Commercial – Helpful

This has got to be one of the best commercials ever. Wouldn’t it be great if the NFL would put Boy Scout Commercials on during the Super Bowl!


Happy Scouting!

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Leadership- The Critical Eye

A trait that all good leaders have in common is that they develop a “Critical Eye”.

The Critical eye helps the leader recognize situations, see were improvements can be made, and of course see when things are going well.

The first step in the development of the Critical eye is understanding two things. The definition of leadership, principally the components that define leadership and that is providing Purpose, Direction, and Motivation. The second is knowing what “Right” looks like.
Once a leader understands those two things, the leader can observe and determine if things are going well, needs improvement, or can be sustained.
Knowing what “Right” looks like the leader can stand in the center of activity and know right away if the task is being completed to meet the purpose.

It is like trash on the ground. Most people will walk right by it, the leader understands that it does not belong there and picks it up.
Setting up camp, the leader knows the tasks that must be completed and will ensure his team does it. This “Critical Eye” does not eliminate fun, it keeps the team focused so when the time comes they can have more time having fun.

In the National Youth Leader Training (NYLT), we discuss what a leader must BE, KNOW, and DO. Developing a critical eye encompasses all three. The leader must BE an example, he must turn the critical eye to himself and ask serious questions about how he is conducting himself.
He must KNOW what Right looks like. And he must DO, leading from the Front and the middle, pulling his team along or pushing them along, the leader must provide a clear Task and Purpose, give the Patrol or Troop a Direction and Motivate them to want to complete the task.
The critical eye allows the leader the opportunity for a deep look at the progress of the unit and gives him the know how to react or better yet be proactive in leading. It allows the leader to employ the LEADING EDGE.

The Critical eye is an important element in leadership, without it finding direction becomes cloudy and the compass seems to be off. In order to be a better leader, the led need to see the leader as someone that knows what he is doing, understands the goal, and is confident in executing the task. The critical eye allows the leader to clearly see it all.

Happy Scouting!
Categories: Leadership | Leave a comment

Leave No Trace- Pack it in, Pack it out

Disposing of Waste Properly is a key element in Leaving No Trace.
Trash and litter in the back country ranks high as a problem in the minds of many back country visitors. Trash and litter are human impacts that can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area.

Planning can reduce the impact that you make. Reduce litter at the source. Most trash and litter comes from meals or food items. By planning and preparing your meals prior to the start of your trek, you can reduce the litter you need to pack out. Removing packaging materials, cans, and bulky trash is the answer. Repackaging into zip lock backs, pre mixing items, and preparing portions will reduce your trash in and trash out.

Along with prepackaging or repacking, keeping your menus simple will also help. Do not count on fires to rid yourself of trash. Some areas do not allow fires and some trash will not completely consume in fires.

Here are some estimated life expectancies for different types of litter:
It takes 2 to 4 weeks for Newspaper dissolve.

It take 3 to 5 weeks for a banana peel.
1 year for a wool cap.
2 to 5 years for a cigarette butt.
10 to 20 years for a disposable diaper.
20 to 30 years for a hard plastic container (milk jug).
50 to 80 years for the rubber sole of a boot.
80 to 100 years for a tin can.
200 to 400 years for an aluminum can.
and it takes thousands of years for glass bottles to recycle on its own.

Think of the lasting impact of litter and trash. Packing it out with you can reduce this and leave the wilderness clean and pristine for the next group.

Happy Scouting!

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Lets Watch it for Scouting!!!!

A friend of mine that has a great Blog has a great idea….
Lets see if we can help!

CLICK HERE for more details!

Essentially all we have to do is watch Scouting Videos on You Tube!

We can take this a step further too… Lets make some videos! Show what Scouts are all about!

Happy Scouting!

Categories: Scouting | Leave a comment

Pro’s and Con’s

Another great camp out at Camp Meriwether this weekend!.. Lots of liquid sunshine with a few cloud breaks, but a good time was had by all. The rifle range was fun, the beach hike was a blast and the food was terrific.
It was nice to get some new guys out there and introduce them to camping.. BSA Style.

Which is the topic this time.

We have transitioned pretty much into a backpacking troop, if not taking our show on trails near and far, we at least have moved to the style of backpacking (gear, cooking etc). This camp out we went back to the old pull it out of the truck “Car camping” style. And here is what we found.

The Scouts have taken a liking to backpacking, you can see this in the lack of enthusiasm for setting the “Big camp”. Cooking up meals with big pots and pan and the clean up were laborious .
The amount of trash produced was outrageous. When we backpacked the Barlow Road for 4 days we pulled out 8 to 10 gallon sized zip lock backs worth the trash. This weekend we hauled out 3 hefty XL bags of trash (at that was just the patrols).
Gear. It seemed as though there was a lack of attention payed to the gear this weekend. Using the backpacking model, everything is in your backpack, and stays in the pack till needed. This weekend gear was everywhere. The yard sale was reintroduced. This resulted is an extremely slow wrap up on Sunday.

Now having said all that. It was a great camp out. We had a lot of fun. We accomplished all of our goals for the weekend and there were no unhappy Scouts and Scouters running around. I am just suggesting, and it was confirmed by going through an informal session of Start, Stop, and Continue, that backpacking is what the Troops likes better. It was even suggested (by the youth leaders) that next time we go to Meriwether, we park in the parking lot and hike the quarter mile to the camp site taking away the temptation of “Car Camping”.

There are pro’s and con’s to each type of camping. We enjoy the dutch oven cooking, and can work it into a backpacking plan. But beyond that, we like the simplicity of Backpacking. We like the ease of cooking, cleaning, and managing gear. We like the easy load out and departure at both ends, coming and going. We like challenge, and we like fun. It is always good to reevaluate and learn. What we learned this weekend is to stick to what we like and do well.

Doing what we do well makes it fun for everyone and an enjoyable experience.

Happy Scouting!


Categories: Backpacking, Camping | Leave a comment

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