Month: August 2008

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!

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!

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!

Comment response Manager v. Leader

In response to a comment left for the post “Manager v. Leader” by a reader of the Blog Bryan- I thought it would be fair to let everyone in on the email that went back and forth after the comment.
Bryan is a student of the Civil War and really knows his stuff. So here is the conversation. Kinda makes his comments make a little more sense.

Bryan-Thanks for your great email. And as a student of Civil war history myself, I can not argue with any of your points… other than to say, my point had less to do with WHO was in front… rather the actions taken by EFFECTIVE leaders. The post is not intended to be a history lesson, but a lesson in fundamental leadership.. sound leadership principles of providing Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.
By day 3 of the battle, the Confederate Army and the Union Army soldiers had as much reason to flee as they had to stay and fight. It took leadership to motivate the men, it took Corps commanders to get the buy in of their Divisions to communicate the urgency of the fight.I agree with you… And Armistead was a great leader, even before the Civil war he had demonstrated exceptional leadership in the Army of the United States.
Thanks for your comments.

Sorry to be so nitpicky, I just finished Gettysburg by Stephen Sears, an incredible study on the battle so the facts are fresh in my mind. What I should have said about Pickett’s charge was that it not only demonstrated leadership by Longstreet/Pickett but Pickett’s leadership illustrates the use of resources and personal relationships. While Longstreet did not agree with Lee he prepared a battle plan and gave it to Pickett (and Trumble and Pettigrew). Pickett organized his battle line as he saw fit and put the men he thought he needed where they needed to be. Armistead knew it was a forlorn hope but made the best of it and reached his goal, although costing him his life. While the end is a bit morbid it is a perfect illustration of not only Chain of Command but how even the ASPLs and Patrol Leaders need to put research and planning into everything the Troop does…
Armisead=Patrol Leader

Great points on the relationship between SM and Lee etc.
If have not yet need to read Gettysburg, a testing of courage by Noah Andre Trudeau. Great book.

Thanks again Bryan for a great discussion.
And thank all of you for being loyal readers of the blog and listeners of the podcast

Manager v. Leader

I had dinner the other night with a very special friend of mine. Him and I spent some time together in the Army and he taught me a thing or two about leadership.
We were in a discussion about work places and went back and forth about different types of leadership and the people that we knew that best exemplified those styles. Then the subject of leadership at Gettysburg came up. During that battle many of the commanders, on both sides of the fight, relied heavily on their subordinates to achieve success.
The eyes of the Army’s, the Scouts were so decentrialized that commanders had to trust in the subordinate leaders that first the information they were gathering was correct, and second that they understood the intent. Leaders needed to know how to read terrain. They had to understand what the objective was. If they did not, they would surely put their Army in jeopardy.
In the skirmish at “The Angle”. Longstreet had to make it clear as to what he wanted the battlefield to look like when his units completed the attack. He pointed to a “Clump of Trees” and that became their focal point. Reach the trees and they would have effectively over run the Union Army.
The Scouts needed to understand this as they evaluated the terrain and sent back information to the commanders so they could ready their Army. Longstreet had to provide clear Purpose, Direction, and Motivation to his subordinate commanders. This is leadership. He could not manage them, he had to lead them. They were not resources that he could move around and punch in codes and they would do the task.
If you have ever been to Gettysburg and visited site, you could see that while attacking at “the Angle” the Confederate Army would be walking in a draw, exposed on the right, through open terrain. The ground ungulates with rolling hills, small enough to keep them visible, deep enough to provide some cover.
When Picket made his famous “Charge”. He had to know that he was leading the men and not managing them into the battle. He led from the front and set an example as he moved his Division down from Seminary ridge on the third day of the battle and into the jaws of the Union’s center.
His men understood that if they could break the center of the Union line, and if the Divisions to their left and right could accomplish their attack then the Union Army would break.
Leadership can be seen in countless actions at Gettysburg. On both sides of the battle acts of leadership were demonstrated stemming from the understanding that leaders do not manage, they lead. They know that you manage resources… Food, supplies, water, and material. You have to provide Purpose, Direction, and Motivation to people. That is how you lead them.
Success or fail, the leader must understand that basic principle, or he will never be effective.

We can learn a lot of lessons about leadership by reading and knowing what great leaders have done. They do not have to be military men, they can be astronauts, statesmen, or even Scout leaders like Baden Powell. It is important though that we do learn from them and see leadership in action. This will make us all better leaders. What you will find in every case of leadership is that they the lead the people and manage the resource. They lead by providing Purpose and showing the led Direction, and giving them the appropriate motivation to instill a willingness to do something. That’s leadership.

Have a Great Scouting day!

Having a Great Scouting Day!

I have received some emails asking why I changed my “Tag line” from “Happy Scouting” to “Have a Great Scouting day”.
Well the simple answer is that someone else that is prominent in the online Scouting community already uses “Happy Scouting” and while it is not a trademark phrase… I thought it would be best not confuse readers.
Then I got to thinking about the new phrase. And it really fit me better.
How do you have a great Scouting day?
Well to start you wake up Cheerful. You are Friendly and Helpful. You are Courteous and Kind. Obedient and Brave. You try to be Thrifty. My friends and acquaintances all know that I am Trustworthy and Loyal. I work to be clean in everything I do.. thought and deed. And last, but certainly not least I keep God with me all through the day, remaining Reverent in my beliefs and actions.
I do my best, which sometimes is tough. Keeping myself morally Straight and mentally awake takes some doing, especially in the world we live in that bombards us with things that can sway our judgement. While I don’t go to a gym, I stay physically fit, remembering that my body is the only one I have and I need to take care of it.
A great Scouting day… well I guess that would be a day of Scout Spirit. The kind of Spirit that makes others feel good. That rubs off on them and leaves them with a smile, or at least feeling better. A spirit that shows my community that Scouting is alive and well and that things are not as bad as the nightly news tells us.
A great Scouting day… yeah.. it fits a whole lot better than “Happy Scouting”. It pretty much sums up what every day should be.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a “Great Scouting Day”!


Have a Great Scouting Day!

“Each day I examine myself on three counts: whether or not I am loyal to those in whose behalf I act; whether or not I am trustworthy in my dealings with friends; whether or not I practice what is imparted.”
— Tseng Tzu

Thought this was worth passing on. Found it in my Franklin Planner. A great way of waking up every morning and setting a course for your day. Also a great way to lay your head down at night and reflect on your life of Character.
It seems that the Scout Law is not just for Scouts…

Have a Great Scouting Day!