Monthly Archives: August 2008


Now I am not a big “Social page” guy on the internet… but I recently got turned on to Facebook.
I suppose its like Myspace, but I hear it is a bit better, who knows, it all looks alike to me.
Anyway, with some encouragement from friends I have a little Facebook page, so if you are interested use this link and get there… if not..

Have a Great Scouting Day!

By the way.. I hear the BSA is trying to come out with something similar to the myspace and facebook pages for Scouts and Scouters.. We will have to watch and see.

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You do.. that voodoo.. that you do… so well

I can’t seem to get the vision out of my head, of the Camp Director at Camp Baldwin as she talked to the Scoutmasters early one morning . Was it her appearance, could be, but I know it is all because of what she said.
She talked a few minutes about how the Scouts had arrived at camp… a leader brought them.
She spoke briefly about who taught them how to cook and clean up the camp when done… a leader.
She elaborated about the person that would be calming a home sick Scout down one night this week… a leader.
She thanked all of us for the many hours that we dedicate to providing the program of Scouting to the boys in our units.
We hear “thank you’s” and the like a lot. Parents thank us on occasion, Scout leaders thank us, and once in awhile the Scouts do to. We appreciate that, but rarely solicit the thanks, the pats on the back or the always popular 100 Grand bar at the Christmas Court of Honor.
Scouters that understand the value of the program and see the impact it has on our boys need no thanks, no pay, no accolades. We do it because the boys keep showing up, we will sacrifice time and energy and dedicate countless hours to provide the very best for them.
I had the pleasure of conducting a Scoutmaster conference for one of the young men in my Troop this past Monday night. He said that he had overheard some of the Adult leaders talking about how much we got paid. He asked me if the money was good and if I get benefits.
I replied to him that the money was awful but the benefits were outstanding!
He asked why I did it if the money was no good? Then I explained that my payday comes with every smile and success, every mile on the trail, and every quiet night by a camp fire. Every time I get to honor a Scout with achievements and awards. I told him that one day when he is a man, and a productive member of our community, when he runs for office, starts up a business, or just gets his 20 year watch at a company or a plaque that reads “For Loyal and Faithful Service”. I will get paid. When he comes back to the Troop for a visit and he has a story to tell about the great time he had in Scouting… I will get paid.
In short… the boys are our pay day! And that is all we need… to watch them grow and become men of Character.
The Camp Director thanked us. She thanked us for being there for the Scouts. And I for one appreciate it. I did not need it, nor did we ask, but it sure was nice to hear.

And so I in turn Thank all of you that dedicate your time and energy in providing the very best program in the world for our boys. I thank you for taking time from your life and making sure that an example of selfless service is set for all to see, especially the Scouts. I thank you for maintaining the spirit of Scouting and teaching the values found in the Oath and Law, not only with your mouth, but with your actions.

Thanks a million.. you are truly worth the 100 Grand bar coming your way!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Values leave a mark

A great friend of mine shared a story with me the other day, I thought it may be worth passing on because I believe like he does that there is value in our program and that value starts and ends with the Scouts in it.

He had a Scout in his troop some time back that was never real happy about being in Scouting. It was something that the lads parents wanted him to be in because they saw real value in what Scouting had to offer.
Well time went on and the Scout finally drifted away from the troop. But the memories of his time in the troop were not all that fond. The Scouts of the troop remembered him as disruptive and grumpy. Rarely did he shoulder his share of the tasks on camp outs and when he did make it to meetings, he was late.
A few years had past since he departed the troop and one morning my friend saw an article in the newspaper about a tragic crime that had been committed in our town. A burglary that resulted in some violence. The person that had committed the crime was sentenced and would be spending the better part of 15 years in prison. That person was the Scout in my friends troop. The Scout that did not want to be there, that was disruptive and mean.
At first my buddy thought that he should just keep it to himself, but then realized that he was not the only one that read the paper. Perhaps some of his Scouts had seen the article and would ask if he knew anything more.
So at the next troop meeting my buddy, during his Scoutmaster Minute, told the story, but he started it like this.
You boys all know that we Adult leaders love to hear about your successes. We cherish the time we spend with you teaching you and guiding you. We try our best to develop in you Character, and Citizenship. I like to follow your success and see what you have made of yourself once you leave Scouting, in fact I keep a scrap book of articles, pictures, and other things that show what you all, individually, has done with your lives.
Some of you may have heard about a former Scout that is now in prison. This makes my heart hurt. This boy did not get the benefit of the Scouting program because he did not open up to it. He never wanted to be here and therefore missed out on the many opportunities and adventures. He missed out on the development that would have led him down better trails in life. It saddens me.
I want to see all of you become successful, what ever that is in your life, and know that as you get older and move away from Scouting, you will always be one of my Scouts and I will cherish the memories that we have had together.

My buddy is a great Scoutmaster, he truly cares and loves for each of his Scouts. I learn a lot from him and we share ideas all the time. We run our troops differently, but the principles and values do not change, neither does the fact that we love Scouting and the Scouts in it.
We understand the value of Scouting and what it can do for these young men.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Forging Character

They say that character can be defined as “What you do when no one is looking”… well the fact is it seems that someone is always looking.
Someone is always there to let you know how you are doing or to be critical of that which you did.
You never stop learning, I learned a lot this past weekend while on a twenty mile back packing trek with some Scouts and Scouters from my Order of the Arrow Chapter.
One of the things that I learned was that as a young man, I forged the Character that I have now. That seems a bit obvious but what I mean by that is this; I did not realize how my early formation was going to manifest itself until now.
When I was nineteen years old, I attended the US Army Ranger School at Ft. Benning, GA. Ranger School is a leadership school that tests the individuals leadership skills in adverse conditions and under stress. The school imposes the stress by reducing your food and sleep and putting the students in challenging situations that require critical thinking and decision making.
They break your body and mind down and watch as the student builds it back over the course.
It is like doing push ups. When you do push ups you tear muscle, as that muscle repairs it gets stronger and stronger.
And so it is with character, the more it is challenged and torn at, the stronger it gets.
In Ranger School, I learned that I could push my mind and body to its farthest limit, and when I got the point where I could go no more, I found that I could take at least one more step. And if I could take one more, then I could get the other foot out there… and soon I was pushing past the limits.
I learned this on Sunday as I watched my oldest son climbing out of the Eagle Creek valley on the trek. A five mile stretch of constant climbing, this after seven miles of switch backs and a heavy pack. I watched him as he took the climb head on, never complaining. He kept putting one foot in front of the other. I was in front of him most of the trek, and could hear his foot steps on the trail, he motivated me to push on. It was not Ranger School, but after a hard day of hiking on Saturday and working on trail improvements, my body was tired and I could feel every step I took in my aging knees.
A discussion we had the night before about how easy all of this is compared to Ranger School got me to thinking that it was no harder, nor was it easier, it was all a matter of character at this point. Ranger School forged that Character in me, a drive to never give up, to never let the team down, to complete every task… no matter what the circumstances. As I look back I know that I was tested and I past.

We all are tested, these tests forge our Character. They set the course for how we will conduct ourselves in the future. These tests will determine whether or not we take one more step or quit.
IF you take that one more step, when you think you can’t, when you have had enough, when everything is against you… you will have Character and you will be a better man for it. You will have been shaped into a fine man that can be counted on, that will never fail or let others down.
When that happens you will never have to worry about who is watching or what they see, because they will see a man of Character.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Friends of Scouting

Ahhh… don’t let the title fool ya! I’m not wanting money…right now.
I had a great discussion with some of my friends in the Scouting world the other night.
They were there to join me on my podcast, but we got into the discussion about how many great people you meet in Scouting.
Within your units, within your Districts and Council, and around the world.
Looking back I can see the impact Scouting has had on friendship, meaning the amount of friends I have made through Scouting.
Since I have started blogging and podcasting, you could not imaging the numbers of people that I now coorespond with regularly, talk to, and share ideas with.
Serving on the District committee, being and advisor with the Order of the Arrow, and running district events has opened my eyes to many now and fantastic Scouts and Scouters.
This last weekend I had the pleasure of backpacking with a few members of our OA Chapter. We did 20 miles and did some trail work on a much needed section of the PCT.
The trek was awesome, we saw 5 of the 7 mountains of the Cascade range and you could not ask for better people to trek with. I met two new (to me) Scouters, that I am sure that we will have lasting friendships.
Like I said doing the blog and the podcasts has opened up many friendship doors and I am thankful for that. I can only hope that one day I can meet with some of the folks, maybe at Jamboree.
Most of the people that I have listed in my Scouting Blog section are friends and I hope you pay them a visit.
A new blog that just hit the net is by another friend of mine, from Green bay. Shawn started a blog and I hope that it takes off and does well… regardless, I am sure that if he blogs about some of the ideas that him and I have talked about, and he has many, his blog will be a huge success.
So check his blog out at

Scouting opens up pathways to friendship. Take advantage of the friendships with great people you meet along Scouting’s trail. You will be thankful in the end that you met such wonderful people. And the touch they have on your life will be priceless.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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The Scoutmaster Minute Show #20

A benchmark show.. we made it to number twenty.
Join me and my Special guests, Chris and Steve from PTC media as we discuss Scouting Traditions and Traditional Scouting.
There’s a few stories from Summer camp in there too.

Just use the link to the right to get there.

Have a great Scouting Day!

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The Measure of Success

Each year when we plan for our program, the Scouts and I discuss what we want the Troop to look like the following year.
Stuff like, more members, better skills, certain awards, Scouts achieving a higher level of advancement. We set measurable goals to achieve our picture of the Troop.
This year, starting with Summer Camp and heading into 2009. We set some goals. Namely, focus on Patrols and the Patrol method. Our measure of Success is simple. Are we having fun!

You see, if we focus on the Patrols and the Patrol method and keep our eye on the goal of having fun, everything else will fall into place.
Let me give you an example from Summer camp.
Our total focus at summer camp was fun. I told the boys right up front that it did not matter if they earned any merit badges or advanced a rank. I did not even care if they attended any classes. If they wanted to hang out in a row boat and fish all day, that was fine with me… as long as they had fun.
Every Scout took advantage of this new found freedom to choose their path to fun. As Patrols they made choices as to what Patrol activities they would do, and worked their duty rosters around the activities that members of the Patrol would be participating in. The Scouts soon realized that they had no pressure and could relax and have a great summer camp experience.
The result was that our measure of success became a reality. It became a specific unit of measure for each Patrol and individual Scout. Every one had fun.. bar none.
Since we established this goal, we have had 4 Scouts advance in rank, 3 Scouts earn the mile Swim award, 3 Scouts earn the Snorkel BSA award, 1 Scout earn the World Conservation award, and 67 merit badges have been completed. The Patrols are having fun.
This year at camp, entire Patrols worked on merit badges together. During one session the whole Troop, minus a few, were in the Canoeing merit badge class together.
The measure of success… FUN.
Giving the Scouts ownership in achieving the measure proved to be the right approach and proved once again that with Boy led leadership and allowing Boys to set their coarse, they will in fact find the way and accomplish their goal. Especially when that goal is to have fun.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Batteries Recharged!

Every now again you need to step back and plug in to have your batteries recharged.
In Scouting you can get your batteries recharged in many ways, attending a great training event like Wood badge is one way, a 50 miler will get you focused and often recharges the Scouting cells.
This last week I took my Troop to Summer Camp at Camp Baldwin. Baldwin recharged my batteries.
At Camp Baldwin, the Scouts get to be Scouts. They cook their own meals, they are responsible for getting to and from merit badge classes and activities, they are accountable to each other as a Patrol. Duty rosters are critical to success, but most important… they have FUN.

Camp Baldwin is not a Merit badge factory. They offer classes in the morning and for an hour after lunch, then it is free time. All program areas are open. The Scouts can work requirements that they are behind on.. or get ahead. They can hit the ranges and do some shooting, or hit the water front for canoeing, rowing or just playing around in the swimming area. They even encourage a nap or two and the waterfront is a hit for water activity or that nap. A nice mountain lake is the home for aquatic activities ranging from snorkeling and rowing to a fun game of water basketball.
So how did I recharge my batteries. I had fun. Our Senior Patrol and his assistant, worked with Patrol leaders to have a great week at camp. There were 3 other adults in camp with me. Two assistant Scoutmasters and our Committee chair. The 4 of us became a Patrol. We hung out, mostly at the water front. We took advantage of a Scout Troop that really gets it. Patrols that worked well together and understood they had a commitment to each other and working as a team they could accomplish all of their summer camp goals.
This allowed the 4 adults to hang out and have a fun time. We completed our mile Swim BSA, won the Scoutmaster cook off, and got a few chapters in our books read. The 4 of us did some service projects and helped around camp. One of the ASMs even took the BSA life guard course.
We got in some refresher training taking Safe Swim defense and Safety afloat, and even Climb of Safely. The Committee Chair and the other ASM even took a horse back ride one afternoon arriving in time for me to cook them dinner.
Recharging the batteries was getting back to a week long true Scouting experience. No den mothers, no chaperons, just Scouts having fun challenging themselves, cooking, getting to and from activities, and oh yeah dominating the camp with Scout Spirit. Every where they went they went as a Patrol and when they saw each other… there was a troop yell or “WHO ROCKS THE THUNDERBIRD…664! We did that so much soon the staff started yelling it with us.

Even on the mile swim (which we had 7 members of the Troop finish) the dock and shore was lined with 664 supporters.. a Troop event!

Being able to sit and watch the Scouts in action and know that we have taught them well.. it was pay day!
And then there is the story of a Scout we will call Bobby… because that’s his name.
Without any details, Bobby has had a challenging life. He came to our Troop early this year having never been a Cub Scout and no Scouting experience. Bobby went to Summer Camp the rank of Scout. He had never been away from home for more than a weekend.
Bobby opened his Scouting heart and let it all in! I have never seen a Scout completely immersed himself into camp like Bobby did this week. I am sure that this is was the best week of his life.
Bobby had never fired a rifle… got the Rifle Shooting merit badge. He earned the Environmental Science, and Mammal Study too.. he took three tries to do it, but finally passed his BSA Swim test… then spent every free minute in the water or on it in a boat. He caught craw dads and learned to flip pancakes on a dutch oven lid. Bobby learned to wash his clothes in a bucket using camp suds and was the first in line at the chow truck to gather the food for the day for his Patrol. He ate a half a pound of apple cobbler and yelled the loudest when his Patrol, the mighty Scorpion King Patrol, did their yell. Bobby spent free time with me and at the Trail to First class station working on rank requirements and finished up his Tenderfoot this week… as well as a handful of requirements toward First Class.
Today when we got home.. he shook my hand and thanked me for taking him to summer camp.
I am humbled.

I swam the Mile Swim BSA with my youngest son and watched as my oldest son took every arrow to qualify and earn the Archery merit badge.

I saw our SPL become a leader and watched as an 11 year old Patrol leader took charge.

It was a great week of Scouting… a much needed breath of Scouting’s fresh air!
Camp Baldwin and Troop 664 recharged my batteries. I refocused this week and had some time to reflect.


I love Scouting!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Not beyond a shameless plug

For those of you that have not yet taken the plunge to the world of podcasts, and in particular my shows.. also called the Scoutmaster minute.. you can subscribe to the shows real easy…
And here is how.
You can use itunes.
Or you can use feedburner.
Or you can listen to the shows by downloading them or listen online at or my home at PTCmedia.

I hope you enjoy the shows as much as I enjoy putting them together.
OH.. and hey… leave a comment at PTC or a review at itunes… let me know what you think.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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See one Show one…

A familiar phase heard around my Troop. The universal sign to quiet down and pay attention in Scouting is when someone raises their hand with the Scout sign. It usually takes a second or two.. but then the roar dulls, the whispers stop, and all eyes are focused on the leader that is standing quietly right arm raised.
The Scouts typically say, when they see the sign go up.. “See one..Show one”. It is a simple phrase that means see the sign.. give the sign.. and quiet down. It is a reminder to show the leader some respect and do as instructed.
Tonight while I was on my drive home, I was forced to take a detour. The detour took me through a part of town, that lets just say I would not frequent otherwise. Without being racial or paint a picture with too broad a brush, the residents of this area are often associated with less than desirable activity.. Every town has this part of town… and all of you can relate having watched at least a segment of any major cities news cast.
As I drove I was suddenly stopped at an intersection. Police cars, lights flashing at all corners. One officer directing traffic as to avoid the goings on at the North East corner of the block. My window was down and the officer asked if I could “just sit tight” for a minute. I nodded and turned down the radio to hear the ruckus. A young man came from across the street yelling at the police officer. The language that flew from his mouth would make a merchant marine blush.
He kept yelling “Why don’t you show us some respect? Why don’t you show us some respect?”
The officer, very cool and collected turned to the young man. When they were about ten feet apart, the officer said in a calm voice, “I will show you respect when you show me respect.”
I thought to myself BINGO.. that is all we really can expect.
See one…show one.. its all about respect.
When a leader shows those he leads respect by not yelling and screaming.. those that follow will act accordingly. When we use the Scout sign to still the crowd, the crowd recognizes the sign and complies with it. The leader respects the led in his calm approach, telling the group that he respects them enough to treat them like mature people that are will to listen.
This young man, obviously angry and emotional did not take the time to think about his actions.
It has been said that you catch more bees with honey. The police officer was just there to maintain some order.. he did not need the profanity that was thrown at him, he does not deserve that on any day. When we act in a way that is inappropriate we get a like response.
Kudos to the Portland Police officer that defused that situation with a kind and gentle approach. It was not what the young man wanted to hear.. but I think it stunned him non the less.
The officer is right.. show me some respect.. not as an officer of the law.. but as a man.. a human.. a fellow citizen, and I will show you the same.


Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: respect | 2 Comments

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