Month: August 2008

Facebook

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.

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!

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!

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!

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 http://commissionercleary.blogspot.com/.

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!

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!