Month: July 2008

Health and Safety

As we are beginning the process of the 2010 National Jamboree, I am learning a lot about more about just how much the BSA is concerned about Health and Safety. For obvious reasons, it is a good thing to be concerned about.
But here is what I find almost shocking. The restrictions and “Suggestions” of the BSA regarding the participants at National Jamboree.
Now before I go any further… I have to say that I agree in total with the decisions made by the BSA. While I never want to exclude a Scout or Scouter from any activity, I think it is right to protect those folks that have medical conditions or are not physically fit to function in a certain environment.
Just like the standard for participating at one of the BSA’s High adventure Bases, like Philmont. The Boy Scouts of America has outlined what participants at the National Jamboree should maintain as their health and safety guidelines.
Starting with weight, when we interviewed for the Scoutmaster positions, the panel clearly outlined the weight requirements. Scouts and Scouters that exceed the maximum weight for their height will not be permitted to attend. I can see this. Being overweight may bring with it many other conditions. Most folks that I know that are what would be considered “Obese” also have diabetes problems, trouble breathing, asthma, and other conditions that would not be conducive to warm Virgina Summers.
Heart trouble and other physical issues can also lead to a very troublesome Jambo experience.
After the 2005 National Jamboree, I think the BSA had an eye opener when Adult leaders had medical issues and the heat ran rough shot throughout the encampment.
The BSA program teaches us to be “physically strong”. This is subjective at best as the BSA also just wants us to “Do our Best” but! When you are at a National Program I believe that the BSA wants a bit more. We set our Scouts up for success, and we need to remember that keeping them safe and providing a healthy environment is part of our obligation to the Scouts.
Setting guidelines and rules regarding Health and safety are good things for the BSA.
Those that would like to participate should seek the necessary help in meeting the standard. If they can not achieve that, they should understand that it is in their best interest to obtain from the activity. The last thing anyone wants to see is a Scout or Scouter get hurt, extremely sick, or even killed due to a lack of fitness or health issue.
You can learn more about the National Jamboree standard and guidelines by checking out this site.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Aims, Methods, and …Fun!

While we constantly talk about the Aims and Methods of Scouting, I think it is important never to forget FUN!
Even though it is not listed as a specific Goal… if you are not having fun then you are not doing right.
I’ve been doing some Scoutmaster reflection lately and came to the understanding that 12 year old boys are 12 year old boys. By and large they joined Scouting to get out in the woods and do nothing but have fun. The leadership stuff develops as they grow and the values creep in as we teach, but at the end of the hike it was all about fun… not citizenship, being a good steward of the land, or development of character. While they got all of that, when you are 12 you just have fun.

I think BP said it best when he talked about “the game with a purpose”. It’s just a game, how we, the adult leaders, develop the values in the Scouts is less important to the Scouts than having fun. We need to do it throughout the program, but never loose sight of the 12 year mind. He’s thinking fun.

Last night at the Troop meeting, I took and informal poll. Sort of a Troop reflection. I did not require an answer, but if any Scout wished to speak up he was welcome.
I asked two questions: First. Since you have joined the Troop, have you learned anything?
That is a broad questions, but I wanted to give them plenty of room.
And second. Are you having fun? Pretty simple.
The answers were refreshing. More than half of the Troop raised their hands to comment. To a Scout they all answered Yes and Yes… most adding phrases like, Learned a ton!!! Some of the older Scouts talked about skills, some of the younger Scouts talked about doing something for the first time. I was glad to hear that they all were having fun. And to me that means we are doing it right. Learning while having fun.

The Aims and Methods of Scouting are great tools to guide you and your Troop to developing strong young men, leaders, future Dads and citizens. When they look back on their days in Scouting and all they have achieved in life, I want them to remember how much fun they had.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Ask Andy

One of my favorite web sites/blogs is the Ask Andy site.
I love the Q&A format and I often agree with what Andy has to say. He answers the questions with clear and concise answers.
What I like about Andy is his committment to the Boy Scout program as outlined by the BSA.

I would like to share a recent post from the Ask Andy site.

Dear Andy,
I went on my first camping trip with my son’s troop this weekend and I had no idea there were so many rules for the trip. He was not allowed to sit by me or eat the food that I had brought with me. Is there a guide that I can get that would show me all the rules for camping with your Scout? (Name Withheld, North Florida Council)

This is one terrific question and the short answer is:
In Boy Scouts, parents don’t camp with their sons. This is not “Webelos III”!
Here’s the longer answer…One of the main purposes of Cub Scouting is to strengthen the natural bond between a boy and his parents. Thus, many activities (all of them at the Tiger level, in fact) are of the boy-and-parent type, and up through Bear rank and arrow points, the parent is “Akela”! Only at the Webelos level — the transitional program — do parents begin to take a background role and the Den Leader comes to the fore, but even then camping is still of the “family” variety and boys do not camp without a parent. This is because, across the ages of Cub Scouting, boys are still largely in the “dependent” mode of their maturation.
By Boy Scout age, however, boys will naturally begin to seek more independence — this is a normal progression of the maturation process through which they will ultimately become productive adults. Recognizing this need for independence and individuation from one’s own parents, the Boy Scout program is geared differently from Cub Scouting. In Boy Scouting, the focus is on independent choices and actions, boys leading boys, peer relationships, and minimal parental contact, especially while on hikes and camping trips. This minimizing of parental contact is neither arbitrary nor accidental; it is deliberate and purposeful, based on studies of the male maturation process by the BSA over the past 98 years.
Your son’s troop seems to be following the proper format quite well. Parents, if they attend campouts with the troop, are definitely to be kept separate from the Scouts. If they aren’t kept separate, there’s simply no Boy Scouting going on — It devolves to “Cub Scouts in tan shirts.” The more a troop keeps parents and their sons from interacting while camping, the better the troop is in delivering the Boy Scout program.
If you like “family camping,” by all means please do this! It’s fun, and it’s a nice thing to do with your son, because you give him the opportunity to “show off” how much he’s learning in Boy Scouts! I heartily encourage you to continue camping with your son! But, when it comes to his troop, and camping as a Boy Scout, the greatest gift you can give your son is to wish him well, give him a big hug, wave to him as he goes off on another new adventure with his troop, and then welcome him home again with a big hug when he returns!

Thanks Andy for that great answer. I know the parents and leaders of my Troop have heard that before.
If you would like to contact Andy here is his email (given with permission)AskAndyBSA@Yahoo.Com

Have a great Scouting Day!

An oldie but goodie…

I found this digging through some old Scoutmaster minutes, thought it was worth a share.
Wish I knew the original author, so given to who ever wrote this.

Aim so high you’ll never be bored.

The greatest waste of our natural resources is the number
of people who never achieve their potential. Get out
of that slow lane. Shift into the fast lane. If you think
you can’t, you won’t. If you think you can, there’s a
good chance you will. Just making the effort will make
you feel like a new person. Reputations are made by
searching for things that can’t be done and doing them.
Aim low: boring. Aim high: soaring.

Have a great Scouting day!

We will have to see…

Our PLC has been having an on going discussion about the way that the Patrols interact. Not just interaction between the Patrols, but with the Scouts in the Patrols.
What started out as a good idea at Summer Camp quickly turned into some Scouts that were left out or Scouts that were unhappy with the groups that they were “Stuck into” and with the Scout leadership that emerged from the results of the last election.
That we will let lie for now…

To address the concern of the Scouts that felt they would get a better Scouting experience in a different configuration, we did just that.
The Troop committee looked at a few options and finally I decided on a course of action that I felt addressed their need to form “Like” Patrols and the need to maintain a Troop of Boy led Patrols.
The method that was chosen was to put the whole Troop in the middle of the Room. We called each corner a Patrol. The Scouts had 15 minutes to go to the corner of their choosing. They could have no less than 4 Scouts in a Patrol and no more than 8.
The results were what was to be expected. The older Scouts gravitated to each other and the younger Scouts separated along skill levels or “likeness’s”.
Honestly it is what I expected, but not what I was looking for. But like I told the boys… you make the choice.. you live with it.
After the Patrols were chosen, we went outside for a team building exercise. The younger boys excelled, while the older boys struggled due to lack of focus or commitment to the task.
Point made.

We will see how this works out. I think it is too soon to judge the outcome, and certainly too soon to throw in the towel.
One of the Assistant Scoutmasters worried about the Boy leadership…. I assured him that one of the Boys would lead… it always happens that way. And with proper training, Teaching and Coaching from the Assistants and me, the Scouts will be successful.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

In Case you have not heard…

In this year of political debate, economic ups and downs, and politicians stump jumping to get your vote…
Wouldn’t be nice if we could see a politician that shared our values, our beliefs, our commitment.
Wouldn’t be nice if just one of the politicians demonstrated that he was Trustworthy, Loyal, helpful.
Wouldn’t be nice if we could count on the process to be Courteous and Kind.
Wouldn’t it be nice if those that have been chosen to lead were obedient.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see a genuine cheerful spirit and not just the obligatory perma -grin.
Wouldn’t be nice if they were thrifty just like the rest of us. Brave enough to make the right choice. Clean in thought and deed and of course Reverent to our creator.

Just think of the picture our politicians would paint if they just lived by 12 simple values. Just think of how much greater our Country would be if we could count on them to act like we would like them too.. in short.. like Scouts.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


I post this only as a benchmark and to say thank you to all of you that keep returning to the Scoutmaster Minute.
1005 visitors as of this posting! Wow.. I would have never thought back in July of last year that I would see 10000 let alone keep the blog going.

So thank you to all of you that read, comment, subscribe, and listen to my Podcast too…
A big Thanks to all!

Have a Great Scouting Day!