Month: July 2008

ScoutParents.org

Last night I was listening to the live podcast An Hour A Week with Cubmaster Chris. Chris is a great guy and a partner of mine in the PTC media podcast. He brought up the topic of Scoutparents.org.
Scoutparents.org is a program designed to engage Parents, especially those new to Scouting, getting them to be active participants within the units their son participates in.
As the conversation went on I was called in to talk about a comment I made in the chat room that shadows the show.
The comment had something to do with the fact that we need the Scoutparents.org site and program because units do not do it right to start with.
“Do it right”?
Yes, Do it right. IF units (COMMITTEES) were fully staffed and executed the program correctly, they would already be engaging parents and soliciting from them the much needed help that often find ourselves in need of.
IF unit committees were defining the jobs of the committee and seeking qualified help to fill vacant positions, or ask for help in subcommittees, or fundraising drives, or providing program help. Then we would not need the materials from Scoutparents.org.
But as it is… units have not been doing right and so Scoutparents.org came to the rescue.
Scoutparents.org started in Georgia by a Scouter named Gerald Lawhorn.

“All parents of Scouts should be encouraged to be a volunteer and make it known that they desire to participate, help and enjoy Scouting with their child. Those that choose to will be the ones who become ScoutParents or other Dedicated Scouting volunteers.” One of Scoutmaster Mr. g’s quotes: “Scouts of ‘drop off’ parents generally drop out!”

The BSA adopted the ScoutParents.org program after a pilot session in the Central region. Councils now have ScoutParent coordinators and after some training, the program is surely going to raise retention rates and increase participation.
Out of the necessity of units not doing it right ScoutParents.org was born. Not according to Gerald Lawhorn, according to me. Some units have been doing this sort of thing in the course of their annual programs. ScoutParents.org put it all together in a neat package that is worth every penny.
Remember that the program is not about Parents, or Scout leaders.. its about those boys.
And anything that we can do to provide a better program, retain young men, and grow Scouting we need to put our effort into it.
ScoutParents.org is a great program and is going to have a lasting impact on units and Scouts.
Visit their site at http://www.scoutparents.org/ and get involved at the unit level by becoming a ScoutParent mentor, unit coordinator, or be a part of the ScoutParent family team. You can get details at their website, or check with your Council office.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


Trustworthy

This last weekend we learned a little more about Trustworthy.
Trustworthy often is interpreted as telling the truth and being able to be trusted in a truthful kind of way.
Trustworthy is extended in ourselves also in trusting each other not only being truthful, but physically too.
We learned to trust each other on belay this weekend, literally putting your safety in the hands of another. We learned to trust our knots and gear. We snapped a caribiner on a rope and onto our harness and walked off a cliff. That takes trust. You have got to be able to trust the folks that set up the climbing area. Did they hook everything up right?
So trustworthy does not stop at telling the truth. It extends to our inner trust of others and of things we use.
There are people in our lives that will never have the level of trust that our Scouts learned this weekend, and they will be better for it forever.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Happy Belated Anniversary

What happens when you do not pay attention.. you miss something.
I am not sure how significant it is, and I truly do not stay awake at night thinking of this, but on the 18th of July 2007, this Blog was started.
226 posts and 10854 visitors later, oh and a Podcast that is listened to by one or two folks, this thing might just work.

I enjoy doing the Blog and Podcasts, and it is because of the emails and comments I get that I will keep it going.

So Happy Anniversary to the Scoutmaster minute!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Patrols

In 1920, Baden Powell wrote in his book “Aids to Scoutmastership“:

The Patrol System
The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organisations, and where the System is properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success. It cannot help itself!

The formation of the boys into Patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units each under its own responsible leader is the key to a good Troop.

The Patrol is the unit of Scouting always, whether for work or for play, for discipline or for duty. An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on to the individual. This is immediately gained in appointing a Patrol Leader to responsible command of his Patrol. It is up to him to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each boy in his Patrol. It sounds a big order, but in practice it works. Then, through emulation and competition between Patrols, you produce a Patrol spirit which is eminently satisfactory, since it raises the tone among the boys and develops a higher standard of efficiency all round. Each boy in the Patrol realises that he is in himself a responsible unit and that the honour of his group depends in some degree on his own ability in playing the game.

Essentially what BP summised was that Boys will naturally lead, they will naturally compete, and they have a desire to be successful.
The Patrol is the place where that happens.
I can not appreciate enough the part in which he states that the Patrol is the key to a good Troop. Not a good Troop is key to good Patrols. The foundation that is built with Patrols will stand as strong as granite that a Troop can build on.
Constantly, we need to build up our Patrols by teaching, coaching, and mentoring the Patrol leaders. Being great examples of the values of Scouting and skilled in the methods.

You can read the full book “Aids to Scoutmastership” here.

Another good resource for learning more about the Patrol Method is at the White Stag web site.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Credibility

The age old story of the boy that cried wolf is timeless and speaks to us regarding credibility, it essentially goes like this:

A young boy in a small village felt that he never received attention. So one day as he was tending to the sheep, he cried out that a wolf was nearing the herd. This alarmed the village and they ran to the aid of the boy and the herd.
Upon arriving, the villagers found no wolf, just the boy and the sheep. They asked if there was a wolf, the boy replied that, no… not really, he thought he may have seen a wolf.. but there was no wolf.
The next day, the same scenario played out in the fields just outside of the village. The young boy again, tending to the flock cried out WOLF…WOLF… and again the people of the village came to the aid of the young boy and the flock of sheep.
Again they found no wolf, no harmed sheep, and the young boy alone. They asked the boy where the wolf was and again he replied that there really was no wolf.
The third day as the young boy watched over the sheep, a wolf appeared and began to attack the flock. The young boy in a panic yelled WOLF..WOLF!!.. no one came. The wolf continued to wreck havoc on the flock and the boy continued to yell.. WOLF… WOLF!!! Still no one from the village came to the rescue.
The wolf took the sheep it wanted and left the boy and flock. The young boy returned to the village with the remainder of the sheep. The owner inquired as to why there were missing sheep. To which the young boy told the story of the wolf that attacked the herd. The young boy asked why no one came when he cried Wolf?
The old man who owned the sheep replied that they did not believe the boy. That for two days the boy cried wolf when there was none. The boy had lost the trust of the villagers. On the third day when the wolf actually came, the people of the village did not want to waste their time running to a emergency that was not real.
The young boy has lost credibility with the people of the town.

We too can loose our credibility when we are not living the Scout Oath and Law. When we are not Trustworthy and Loyal. When we fail to be Courteous and Kind. When we are not Thrifty and Reverent.
These parts of the Scout law are visible to others and demonstrate to others how we live our lives. They build credibility. We loose that credibility when we stray from the values of the Oath and Law.

It takes a lot to earn credibility and Trust… it can vanish in a minute.
Be careful with yours, you may need it when the wolves of our lives attack and we need help.

Have a Great Scouting Day!