Month: May 2008

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!

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!

Show 10

A discussion about the Webelos to Scout Transition.

I am posting Show #10 a bit early as I will be at Camporee this weekend and want to keep the weekly podcast on time.This show discusses points about the Webelos to Scout Transition. Specifically the roles of the Pack, Troop, and District.

Listen and Download here

References for this show:

BSA pamplet #18-086

Happy Scouting!

The Scoutmaster Minute Show #9

Discussion on the Role of the Scoutmaster as it applies to Assistant Scoutmasters, The PLC, and Scoutmaster conferences.
In this show we discuss some ideas on how to best utilize Assistant Scoutmasters and the role the Scoutmaster plays in the Patrol Leaders Council. We also talk about Scoutmaster Conferences and the impact they have on the Troop and the Scout.
This topic was suggested from John from Germany…a loyal listener to the PTC media..Thanks John, and thanks to all of you that continue to make the Scoutmaster Minute worth the time and energy.

Listen or Download here
Standard Podcast [56:31m] mp3 format

Happy Scouting!

Merit Badges and the Summer Camp program

Some view Summer camp as an event to earn merit badges. While the merit badge program is a part of the Summer camp program, it is not the objective of summer camp.

Summer camp is an opportunity for the Scouts to spend a week with their friends, participate in some adventurous activity, relax, learn and grow….away from home, cell phones, and X box’s.
Summer camp is a time for boys to be goofy, to strengthen friendships, to develop a sense of independence.

The Summer camp program does offer merit badges for the Scouts to work on and earn, and while much is made of the opportunities to earn those merit badges, there should be no pressure on the Scout to “take as many as he can” for the sake of earning badges.

I would rather see a Scout sign up and earn one merit badge and have the time of his life at camp than see him work himself into a merit badge frenzy and leave Summer camp with nothing but merit badges. No great memories of the water front, or hanging out by the camp fire, no stories to tell about a hike they took while others toiled away in leather craft or the fish they caught…but it got away.

Summer camp is all about the experience…not the badges. My fondest memories of Scouting are of Summer camp. I remember days at the waterfront canoeing or purposely trying to roll the row boats. A hike that a buddy of mine and I took that found us on top of a peak over looking Camp Freedom and beautiful view it rewarded us with.
Hanging out at the campfire till we could not see straight anymore… and having the Scoutmaster finally tell us to hit the rack. The friends that were forged over Summer camp are what every Scout remembers for a life time.

I am glad that my Scoutmaster let us go to camp and have fun. And now I do that with my Troop. I only “Make them” take one merit badge.. and usually it is an Eagle required one that they may not have… or it is simply one that they may be interested in. The rest of the time I want them to have fun.

If you are not having are doing it wrong.

Happy Scouting!