Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Scoutmaster Minute Show #12

Introducing a Troop to the adventures of Back Country or Backpacking style Camping.
We discuss some ways to convert your Front country… get out of the car and camp Troop… to a high adventure… get out in the back country Troop.

Check it out at

Happy Scouting!

This show is sponsored by

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Ok… so I am biased

The Gresham Outlook… our hometown paper featured the Hero’s memorial ceremony held on Monday as its front page story today.
There was not a lot said about the Scouts from Troop 664, even though we set the whole thing up, provided the Color Guard, handed out pins and programs, wiped chairs, helped seat people, and ultimately cleaned up the whole thing…
But that’s ok.. we do it out of service, not for fame or fortune…

HOWEVER.. I am very proud to post one of the four pictures that accompanied the article.

John, our Troops OA rep and member of the Troop Leadership Corps (and my son) is shown here helping to raise the flag.. and honor it at half staff. It did not appear in the online I had to scan it…

Personal pride, not only in John, but all of the Scouts that participated on Memorial Day.

Happy Scouting!

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Leader or Boss

Most Scouts want to lead, and they want to lead for a multitude of reasons. First they need leadership for the next rank. Then maybe they want to be the guy up front, although that usually does not come in the younger the boys. Then perhaps they think they can do better than the last guy. What ever the reason it is the job of the adult leaders to train the youth leaders in leadership.

One of the fundamental learning objectives must be to teach the Scouts that there is a difference between leaders and bosses.
Namely that Bosses never lead and Leaders never boss.

I have seen Scouts that love the power of the patch. They have the position, so they immediately assume they are the boss.
They can stand by and direct their patrol, never lifting a finger and imposing their will against “Lower Patrol members”. This Boss typically proves to be ineffective and rarely gets his patrol to do anything but gripe.
Bosses are by nature pushy and demanding. They do not understand the led and do not try to gain an understanding of what makes the led tick. The Boss does things, not to better the organization, but for self promotion and gain.
The Leader on the other hand understands that you have to provide Purpose, Direction, and Motivation to the group. That he is still a member of the Patrol and should lead by example. He understands that motivating a group based on the interest and direction of the Patrol is the best way to accomplish a task, and that when they work together, they can accomplish anything.
Leaders are not pushy.. they motivate.
Leaders are not Demanding…they provide purpose to the Patrol.
Leaders are not selfish…they put the Patrol ahead of themselves and do things for the good of the Patrols gain and promotion.

Leaders never Boss… and Boss’s never Lead. It is the difference between a high performance team, and a team that barely gets by.

Happy Scouting!
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Memorial Day 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Thank you to all those that have served our Nation with pride and selflessness.

The Scouts of Troop 664 proudly assisted the Gresham Community at the Gresham Hero’s memorial.
Troop 664 helped with the set and preparation of the event and provided the Color Guard.

Citizenship in our Community is instilled in our Scouts when they participate in events like today. It is a great opportunity to teach and reinforce values of Honor, Character, and selfless service.

On Behalf of Troop 664 and the Scouting Community…. Thank you to all of our Veterans that have given so much so we can have so much.

Happy Scouting!

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Memorial Day Weekend

As we enter the Memorial Day weekend I just wanted to take a few seconds of your time and say thank you.
Last night, 20 Scouts from my Troop joined with about a thousand Scouts from our District for the 40th Annual Flag placement ceremony at Willamette National Cemetery.

All of the units of the district presented their unit flags and their American Flags as a Marine Color Guard presented the Colors. Speeches from the Veterans Administration Cemetery Director and a Veteran of the Iraqi Campaign were made. They kept their speeches short this year due to the rain, but the point each made was about Duty and Honor and how being Boy Scouts we live those values and strive to be men and women of Character.

After the Flag was lowered to half staff and the bugler played taps the units were dismissed to begin placing small flag on the grave markers of the 133,174 men and women that have served our Great Nation interned there.

We took the time to stop and visit our most honored, Medal of Honor recipients buried at the top of the cemetery. A brief explanation of the selfless sacrifice these men made in the service of their Country and then we were off to our Troops designated area.

The Scouts placed the flags at the bottom of the marker, centered on the marker. They read the name and gave the Veteran a crisp Scout Hand Salute. For most of those honored Veterans, our Scouts will be the only visitor they received this weekend.

After we completed our assigned area, we moved on to help with some other areas, particularly Troops and Packs that are smaller and needed more help.

When we completed the placement of the Flags, I gathered the Troop up and thanked them for what they had done.
As a Veteran myself, I wanted them to know that on behalf of all Veterans, especially those of us that have served abroad in conflict, we appreciate what they did. Placing the flags so that on Memorial day, when the cemetery is packed with visitors, they see the never ending sea of red, white, and blue banners that mark the resting place of one that selflessly served their Country.
A visual reminder that for Freedom we must pay… and we pay with the lives of our men and women that choose to serve.
A reminder that so many give so much to guarantee that we maintain the life that we have here in America, all politics aside, they do it because they loved our Country and know that it is the greatest place on Earth.

So this Memorial Day weekend.. be safe and enjoy, but remember, we can because of Veterans.
Let me share you with you a poem I wrote eight years ago. It was originally published on a site called JD’s Bunker.

Rise up

Rise up O’ men of Valor,
A Nation in debt to thee
For the freedom of this Republic,
You fought and died for me.

Rise up O’ men of Honor,
The fields of battle did you go
From Lexington and Concord,
To the Bulge and all its snow.
Gettysburg to Normandy
Vietnam and Somalia
You gave it all for me.

So Rise up O’ men of Courage,
For without you we do not share
The freedom of this nation,
Is ours because you were there.

Freedoms blood soaked on foreign lands
A soldier’s cry with outstretched hands
Do not forget the price they paid,
They gave it all for Freedoms sake.

Rise up O’ men of Valor
Your Honor and Courage reign.
For the price of Freedom you understood
But paid it just the same.

Memorial Day 2000
© Gerald J. Schleining-US ARMY

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Time and Energy

Successful people understand that their own energy is a precious resource, and they never waste it.
— Mort Meyerson

I had a great chat with the SPL of our Troop on Monday. We discussed some leadership points and how to deal with individuals that may not be on board with the Troop plan.
In business they have what is called the 80/20 concept. 10 % of the led will be all stars.. 10 % will be apathetic and not really into the task, and 80 % will do what ever is needed and will pretty much go along with the plan.
The key as a leader is to motivate the bottom 10 %, continue to encourage the top 10 % and lead the middle 80, using the EDGE style of leadership. You meet them where they are and adjust your style to them.
Regarding the bottom 10 %. They will exhaust you as a leader and try to suck your energy dry. This is where a leader must know and understand that their own energy is a precious resource and try not to waste it on those that do not want to get on board.
For a Youth leader in Scouting.. the bottom 10 % should be dealt with by the Scoutmaster and his assistants. Youth leaders that are giving their all to do a good job, be an example of the Scout Oath and Law, should not be burdened with those that are there to disrupt and waste others time.

Time is a precious thing. And we do not get more and more of it as we go along through life. We need to make the most of the time we have, and enjoy our Scouting experiences. Scouting is time well spent.

Happy Scouting!

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Planning and Preparing

Planning and Preparation are the keys to a successful anything.
We are in the process of planning an preparing for our next canoe trip…
There is much to plan for and preparations for a canoe outing is extremely important, especially when you are in Scouting.

Some of the considerations when planning and preparing for a canoe trip are:

In our case we are treating this like a backpacking trek. So we are planning for cooking in buddy teams and taking prepared meals. Freeze dried foods, and pre cooked meats always last longer and are easier to prepare on the trail. The weight is reduced also and there is less garbage. Remember, that a canoe trip is very much like a backpacking trip in that we still practice leave no trace and we pack out what we pack in.
Where are you going to get water. You can haul your water in the canoes, but you add weight and risk the balance of the canoe being compromises, especially when taking younger Scouts or novice canoers out.
How about pumping your water using a filter. You are on a canoe.. in a river.. water all around you. Pump it, you have an endless supply that does not weigh anything in your canoe.

Its beginning to get warmer and warmer, and hot days on the river require less gear. Its time to put away the cold weather stuff and break out the shorts and t-shirts.
Fleece is still a good idea in the evenings, but you can put away the heavy sleeping bag and parkas.
Water proofing your gear is essential. You want fry gear when you get into camp. No matter how hard you try, water gets in canoes, water proofing your gear will keep it all dry and secure for the float.
Lets go back to clothing. Clearly the season will dictate the clothing you wear. As we approach summer we can adjust to summer clothing. Remember however that we want to wear clothing that protects us from the elements. Severe sunburn can occur on open water. Light cotton clothing or tech fabrics to cover the skin will provide a light weight protective layer that will ensure comfort and keep you from getting burned. And make sure you wear a hat.
Life jackets are required and need to be worn by youth and adults when canoeing.

Put in and take our points. Consider where you are going to put your canoes in.. how far you want to travel (per day), where you are going to camp, and how you are going to recover the canoes once you pull out of the river.
Transportation plays a major role in canoe adventures. You will have to plan a lot of coordination between cars and canoes.
If you are planning a weekend float. The canoes can be dropped and the cars will meet you at the end. How may cars do you need to get the Scouts there? How many canoes and trailers?
These are all need to planned, mapped and agreed upon before setting off down the river.

Always check the weather before you go… and a few days before you go. Have contingency plans for “worse case scenarios”. What happens if we dump a few canoes? Do we stop get dried off… or do we keep going and dry at camp? What happens if loose a paddle? What do we do if we over shoot our camp area? How do we communicate with the car and trailer crew? Sit down and make yourself a list of ever possible thing that you can think of that can go wrong and try to answer it. You may have to dig for a solution, but you need to have the solution in mind before something happens.

Canoe Trips can really enhance your Scouting program. They are fairly easy to plan and locations are easier to find. The Scouts love it and even on bad trips, they have fun… and thats what its all about.

Happy Scouting!

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Picture of the Week

The Leave no Trace Campsite of Troop 664 at Camporee 2008.

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Camporee ’08

Camporee ’08 is now in the books and I would say that we accomplished our goal of having fun.

This year the Scouts decided that Top Troop may not be in their grasp. Skill levels are improving and the Patrols are gelling, but Top Troop was just not in their sights. So the goal was to have fun and participate this year.

Trying something new, we camped using Back country techniques this year. Practicing leave no trace and going in light. No big gateway, no patrol boxes, and no pots and pans.. Backpacking stoves and meals and traveling light, we established camp in no time and broke camp faster. It was fun to watch as the rest of the district put up their big front country sites. It showed Scouts the idea of using skills and the ease of Back packing.
The Patrols built back pack racks using their pioneering skills and did a fantastic job with camp craft, cooking and keeping the campsite neat gave the Scouts more time for fun and hanging out.

We watched as five of our Scouts were “Tapped out” or “Called out” into the Order of the Arrow.
We are proud of them and all of our Scouts for the great example they displayed this camporee. Many comments were made about how we camped and what our site looked like.
It was nice to hear when we checked out that the Staff appreciated the way our Scouts led and ran the Troop.

We wrapped up the Camporee weekend with a great Court of Honor and Pot luck. It was a pleasure to recognize the hard work of our Scouts.

Happy Scouting!

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Regaining focus

Every once in awhile we all need to step back and regain our focus. In the context of Scouting, some [adult] leaders tend to forget why they are here and what they are here for.
For new leaders it is important to do things right and to be taught to do those things that effect the program right. Getting a clear picture, or focus, on what it is that we are here in Scouting for.
I have recently been going through the process of reestablishing my focus in Scouting. It was nice to see that I had not lost sight of the goal or direction of the Troop, but like everyone.. I needed a step back, a shake of the head to clear the cob webs out and reset my eyes on what is important in Scouting, especially as it applies to my Troop.

So…. In my refocus period I came across some great information that I would like to share. It is nothing fact it is pretty darn old.. and it won’t tell you anything you don’t already know.. I share it for focus.

The 1932 Scoutmaster handbook (13th printing) talks about the Scout Program.

“In order to develop and maintain a uniform understanding of what Scouting is, it’s aims and purposes and elements essential to making its aims and purposes effective, all Scouters and other Leaders, and especially all who conduct training courses for Scout Leaders, shall emphasize:

First: That Scouting is a game.

Second: That the aim and purpose of the Boy Scouts of America as set forth in Article II of the Constitution is character-building and citizenship-training by developing, training and making available through organization, leadership, which capitalizes boys’ desires to be Scouts and makes it possible for them to engage in Scouting activities as a game.

Third: That the essential elements in the Boy Scout program are the Scout Oath and Law and the Ideals of Service resulting in the practice of the Daily Good Turn and organized service for others. All Scout activities should be regarded as a means of making ideals effective.”

It goes on to outline the Essential elements of the Program as:

” 1. The Boy – Individual, Patrol, Troop

2. Leadership- Trained Volunteer
3. Activity – Achievement with Recognition
4. Organization – Institutional – Local, Regional, National, and International (to include Professional Leadership.
5. Scout Oath and Law- Ideals of Service.”

I share this..because nothing has changed. This excerpt from the 1932 Scoutmaster is just as relevant today as it was in 1932. Remember that in 1932 the Cub Scout Program was only 2 years in, and the BSA has just celebrated its 22nd Anniversary.
As we begin the celebration of the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th Anniversary, lets refocus ourselves and remember what is important and good about Scouting. A quick look to the past can surely guide our future.

Happy Scouting!

Categories: Ideals | Leave a comment

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