Month: April 2008

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Well…. actually Baden Powell said it before.. I just keep saying it.
“Never do what a boy can do”.

That simple little saying means the world to our Scouts. I know that it is hard for your average parent to understand, but your son is a very capable young man. You just gotta let him be one.

This was illustrated today during our Districts Scoutcapades event. 5 young men (two teams) from my Troop went toe to toe..or cast iron to cast iron with other Scouts in the District in the third annual Dutch oven cook off.
They planned the menu, gathered the materials, set up, started the coals, cooked the meal and presented to the judges their cast iron delight. All with out one adult so much as saying hello.
They are capable of just about anything that we let them do.

Oh and by the way.. they came in 3rd and 5th place in the contest. The place is not so much the big deal. The big deal was how they felt knowing that they did there best and we had enough confidence in them to let them do it. I could see the pride in their faces as they served up a great cobbler and some real nice pork roast…mmmm.

And so it goes with everything in Scouting. Let them do it. Parents…Leaders… Get out of the way for a minute and let your Scout set the limit…pass the limit… find a new limit… and challenge himself to great things.
Your son is a perfectly capable young man that wants to prove to you that he can do it. He is used to having everything handed to him and is not used to earning his way. He needs to be challenged and allowed to conquer those challenges without mom and dad hovering with a first aid kit and kid gloves. It does not hurt him to get a little dirty..or tired..or cold..or hungry… he learns from those conditions. He wont starve on a camp out..get the flu.. or learn to shoot craps on a Scouting outing. He will learn to be a part of a team, develop life long skills, and habits for life with value.
Our kids have enough obstacles in their lives, we don’t need to be one of them. Rest assured the Adult leaders of the troop have nothing but the best intentions for your Scout. We want them to develop Character and Citizenship, and to be physically fit. We want them to leave Scouting with a set of skills that they can pass on to their sons, Scouts, or friends.

Your Scout is capable.. are you going to let him show you?

I want to say it in public… I am proud of James, Jakob, Josh F, Lucas, and Josh S. I am so very proud of you guys for showing me, and the rest of the Thunderbird district, that you are capable!

Happy Scouting!

Back on track

It seems as though the blog has taken a bit of a back seat to the podcast lately… The podcasts are fun to do and I think offer a different perspective to the Scouting program. That and there is a need for Boy Scout focused podcasts out there.

Any way- I am still committed to the blog and will be getting back on track… On my honor!

So to get back, let me tell you a bit about the podcasts, and why and how I got into it.
I started listening to the podcasts from ptcmedia.net. And no it has nothing to do with Philmont Training center. PTC Media was founded by a couple Cub Scout leaders, Bob and Chris. They too saw a need for another media source for helping deliver the promise of Scouting.
So they started a couple podcasts.. one called Akela’s Adventure and the other called An Hour a Week. Later the media net expanded to another show called the Leaders Campfire.

As the network grew, they expanded once again incorporating the Melrose Scouting productions, videos from a Scout Troop in Minnesota. Steve is the producer, camera man and Scoutmaster of the Troop. He later became a “Permanent” guest host on the leaders campfire.

As I became interested in podcasting, they put out a plea for help on their network, show ideas, guest hosts, and behind the scenes activity. I sent in a reply and offered up my limited talents.
My introduction to podcasting was a series of downloads and the purchase of a mic.. I am now on the third mic due to quality issues.
I got Tom to help me out with a show and we were off. We are now about to publish Show 6.

I have stayed true to the focus of the blog through the podcast, to teach, coach, train, and mentor….. oh and have fun.

Through this adventure I have met some great folks, got some good ideas, and learned a bunch. First and foremost is that there are a great group of Scout leaders all over this country that take the time to produce, publish, download, and listen to ideas about Scouting.
I learned that there is a deep love and appreciation for Scouting in America.. and over the globe.

The podcasts are an extension of round tables, meetings, meetings after the meetings, and in general the brotherhood of Scouting!

Another way for me to get my Scouting geek on!

Happy Scouting!

Enabling

Scout leaders can enable success or they can enable failure. Now I will leave it up to you to decide weather or not you are enabling which, but remember to use the Scouting program as outlined by the BSA to guide you.

We enable success when we allow the Troop to be Boy led. When we have an active and productive Patrol leaders Council that plans and executes the Troop program.
We enable failure when the Adult leaders do it for them. When the plan is a product of the Adult leadership and not that of the Scouts. When the plan is led by an adult we fail to develop leadership in our Scouts.

We enable success when we allow the Scouts to make mistakes, none that will get them hurt, but mistakes in leading. Mistakes in completing a task. We enable the success when the Boy leader has an opportunity to sit down and discuss his situation and learn what he could have done better.
We enable failure when we do it for them. When we take them by the hand and show them exactly what we want done. When we stifle creativity in the boy, not allowing him to go out on a limb. We enable failure when there is no conversation at the end of an event to discuss those things to improve on or continue to do well.

We enable success when we let the Scout work things out. Not jumping right in when Scouts are at each others throat (unless it is getting out of hand). Letting the Scouts sort out problems is part of citizenship and character. Leadership comes out in times of crisis. Allow it to happen, in the controlled environment of the Patrol.
We enable failure when we baby sit the Scouts. They are ready to move on to bigger and better things… we need to let them, without micromanaging or hovering. Let them have success in guided discoveries.

Scout leaders have much to do with enabling success or failure. Baden Powell once told a group of Scoutmasters, “Never do what a Boy can do”. This statement has never been more true.

Enable success in your Scouts and in your Troop.

Happy Scouting!

Well….. what do you expect?

The expectations of leaders differ. Depending on the situation, the skill level, the maturity, and the will of the leader.

We had a great camp out this weekend. Many of the new Scouts spent their first camp out with the Troop and as Boy Scouts up on Scouters Mountain. It was rainy and chilly, but nothing too unusual for an Oregon April.
The intent of the weekend was to develop our camp craft skills. Teaching the new Scouts skills such as cooking with backpacking stoves, knots, Knife, Ax, and Bow saw safety, first aid, and some introduction to map and compass. Needless to say it was a full weekend.

Along with skills instruction, the Scouts tested their skills as they set camp, lived as patrols, and ultimately broke camp on Sunday.

So what does this have to do with expectations? Everything. You see, we expect a lot from Scouts that know and have demonstrated skills, we expect them to help the young guys, we expect them to be skilled in Scouting’s basics and are able to perform those tasks without pain and agony. And the good news is the older guys did just that.
We expect from the new guys nothing more than a willingness to learn and a positive, cheerful attitude… and by and large we got that too.
So why write about it? Leadership.

We Know that the leader leads by providing, Purpose, Direction, and Motivation, the leader must understand that different skills levels deserve different levels of expectation. This expectation can drive motivation and purpose. Older Scouts do not need (or should not need) a lot of direction when setting up or taking down camp. We can expect of them, because of their experience and skill levels that they know how to do this properly. While the younger Scouts may need more Direction and explanation of Purpose. For example why we get our gear covered up, tents put up first, sleeping bags and pads ready, then start an activity.
The same at night. We can expect that older Scouts will ensure all their gear is packed and stored properly before they go to bed. On the other hand, the leader will have to physically check each of the new Scouts and explain the them the importance of storing gear for the night.

Expectations drive the amount of time leaders dedicate to the led. If given an hour to pack up camp and hike to the cars, the leader will dedicate 70% of his time with the new Scout while he can safely expect the older Scouts to motivate themselves, do the right thing, and assist where they can.

The final thought on expectations. As a leader you must INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT.
If those that have developed skills fail to accomplish tasks that are well within their level, retraining or reevaluation of their expectation is necessary. At a minimum a discussion and refocus of their motivation may be in order. The leader must determine this based on what he sees in the led. A new Scout may exceed expectations allowing the leader to move his attention elsewhere.

Expectations are different in every leader and from every follower. Leaders that recognize and evaluate the expectations of themselves and those he leads will find it easier to provide mush needed Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.

Happy Scouting!