Month: September 2008

Raising the Bar

Our Troop has completed its semi annual elections. New leaders are assuming their positions, some after six months of training, watching, and picking up the do’s and don’ts of the boy led troop, while for others this is their first opportunity to lead.
Last night after the Troop meeting I asked to talk to all the newly elected leaders.
My talk was simple and to the point.
It was about raising the individual bar.
All of these Scouts have potential to be good leaders, notice I did not say great. They all have potential to be good, effective leaders. For some of them it will come harder than others, but as long as they want to lead, they will.
We have certain expectations of our leaders, regardless of their age, rank, or popularity in the troop. The first expectation is that all of our leaders set a good example.
This at times can be the most difficult. When a Scout becomes a leader he does not automatically enter the “No Fun Zone”. But he does have to watch how he acts. If we expect the Troop to be well behaved and demonstrate good skills, then the leaders need to be an example of good behavior and a master of skills. They need to know when the time and place for screwing around is and when not to do it.
They need to understand that they are looked to for leadership and guidance. From both the youth and from the adults. They need to understand what the goals of the Troop are for the year and we are asking them to buy into the plan by creating a course of action to achieve the goals both at the Patrol and Troop level.
The new leaders have got to raise the bar. The bar that is the Troop and the bar that is the individual hurdle.
Setting a good example, wearing the uniform properly, acting like a leader and moving away from being a follower.
They will all be attending Junior leader training where they will learn the mechanics of leadership. But it all starts with the boy in the tan shirt.
He will learn what to BE, KNOW, and DO. But he needs to start by BEING A GOOD EXAMPLE, KNOW HOW TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE, AND DO HIS BEST TO BE A EXAMPLE OF SCOUT SKILLS AND GOOD ATTITUDE for his Patrol and Troop.

I am looking forward to working with this group of boys. They all have so much potential, it will be exciting to see them in six months and next year. It will be exciting to see how far they go in the next year… the sky is the limit, lets see if they get there.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Scouting is in fact a World Wide Brotherhood

For most of us, Scouting is a local activity. We do not think to much about how far reaching Scouting is.
Did you know that the World Scouting Organization is in 160 Countries? That’s right. Scouts in 160 Countries on this planet share the values and attitudes of Scouting. They keep alive Lord Baden Powell’s vision of Scouting. There are over 5 million Scouts in America. That is pretty big, but you know that is not the biggest. Indonesia has 8 million Scouts! Wow can you imagine their Jamboree’s?
If you would like to check out more about the World Scouting Organization check out their website.
Locally, and I suppose I should say for me, Scouting has always been international. When I was a Scout, my first Troop was in Holland. Troop 100 in the Transatlantic Council, BSA.
Because of the place were we lived, an international military community, our Troop met in a building were all the Scout units met. Canadian Scouts, German Scouts, British Scouts and Scouts from Holland. We all met in the same place and most of us at the same time. We camped together, we did projects together, we hiked together, and we shared Scouting in common as we became friends.
I can remember when I became a Scout there, our Troop Quartermaster gave us a little round purple patch. It was the WOSM patch and we were told that we had to put it on our uniforms. I never had it on my uniform back in the states when I was a Cub Scout, but they said it was to show our membership in the Brotherhood of Scouting. It was cool, because on Wednesday nights when the Scouts met…. We all, British, Canadian, German, Dutch, and us Americans all had that same patch proudly sewn on our uniforms right above our hearts.
I cherish those memories and they were brought out yesterday as I spoke with Nick Wood from England. We talked about Scouting in our two countries and as I listened to his accent, I remembered the British Scouts in Holland, how they acted and dressed, how they had “Tea” instead of lunch when we were camping. The songs they sang and the games they played. It was great to spend about 3 hours chatting with Nick.. and we will do it again.
What was really cool was that we talked on Skype, so we connected the Scouting world over the internet… for free! I think that is how old BP would have wanted it.
Nick posted on his blog about our conversation. Check it out.

In the world in which we live, it is important to remember that Scouting is International. Scouts in 160 Nations that believe in the Scout Oath and Law.
I thought I would share part of the Vision of the World Scouting Movement, I think you will find that we all have a part in this vision, and that it is the vision of the founder.

“The Vision for Scouting is:
As a global Movement, making a real contribution to creating a better world.
We see Scouting entering its second century as an influential, value-based educational Movement focused on achieving its mission, involving young people working together to develop their full potential, supported by adults who are willing and able to carry out their educational role. ” WOSM website

Have a Great Scouting Day!

The Scoutmaster Minute Show #21

Check out the new show. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Nick Wood from Nicks Ramblings. (see the link to his blog).
we had a great discussion on the World Scouting Movement, well, ok.. we focused on the things that we have in common and different between the US and UK Scouting programs.

It was a fun show, and I am happy that I had the opportunity to chat with Nick.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Friday night lessons

More talk about teamwork… or Trustworthy, Loyal and Helpful.

This weekend, much to my wife’s surprise, I woke up in the same bed as her.. a weekend free of Scouting activity. The first of its kind in about a month.
But like most of us, when we are not Scouting, there is Football, Soccer, Band and other activities that occupy our time.
For us September and October brings the falling of leaves, chilly mornings and Football.
Last night we went to our high school football game, our daughter is in the band and did her part to provide some motivation to her team.. as much as a clarinet can. Our youngest son is the starting quarterback for his Middle School team, so a night watching the High School team is a great opportunity to learn and pick up a few tips.
Last night the Reynolds Raiders did not do to well, they were blown out, but what we did get to see was a team. They played together in a loosing effort, they showed good team work. They showed that they all had the same goal, and while they could not achieve it, they did not stop trying till the last whistle blew. They were loyal to each other, everyone doing their job on the field, and the guys on the bench doing their part staying ready to go in if needed.
Josh, my youngest watched as they could not seem to punch the ball over the goal line, but he watched the details, the line pulling together, the QB keeping his head and leading the team, the receivers running the right patterns and the running backs giving everything they had for inches.
He saw determination and teamwork.
Even in a loss, the team became more important than the win. We could see it because they never gave up. Even when it was easy to call it quits and not give it all, the team remembered that it was bigger than the individual. Trustworthy, Loyal, and Helpful. The Team!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Your Road map to Character

It can never be said enough… the Scout law is your road map to Character. In leadership development we teach the Scouts to BE, KNOW, and DO. Simple ways for them to remember what it is that is expected of leaders.
The Scout law teaches us HOW to BE, WHAT to BE, and HOW to ACT.

Trustworthy, Loyal, and Helpful.
These three words can be summed up by the word TEAMWORK. In Scouting we teach and live the Patrol Method. This requires us to work as a team, setting us up for the rest of our lives. Being a member of a team suggests that we will not let the team down, that we will shoulder our share of the burden, and that we will always look to the well being of the team before our own. This concept drives us to living a life of Selfless Service.

Friendly, Courteous, Kind and Obedient.
These four parts of the Scout law when put together guide us in what we should BE. Good manners and discipline will leave lasting impressions on those that we make contact with. A kind heart and a willing mind will take us to places in life that are purposeful and leave our mark.
To be Courteous, Kind and Obedient takes discipline. It will force us to move away from peer pressure and always do what is right. They will shape who we are instead of just being another face in the crowd.

Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.
This is how we should act in our daily walk. Cheerful in everything we do, even when it is a task that we do not like. Thrifty, not only with our money, but as a steward of our resources. It will take a brave heart to make decisions in life. Decisions that will be hard and sometimes not popular. Remember that majorities are not always right.. Being brave and always doing what is right is more important than being popular or part of the majority.
Clean and Reverent in our thoughts, our actions, and our bodies. God made us in his image so the good book says… treat your body like it. Take care of your self. eat right, exercise and learn. Develop a relationship in your faith group. Gain a better understanding of who God is and why we are who and what we are in his eyes.
Doing all of this will shape you and guide you in your actions.

Using the Scout Law is a road map to Character. Living the twelve points will ensure that your life will be well rounded and headed in the right direction. Using the map to find your way will never leave you stranded or lost.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

September 11th… No reminder needed.

Its been seven years now since our Nation was attacked. By whom and what for really does not matter any more. But the fact that on the morning of September 11th 2001 our Nation.. our World changed forever, and with that change came changes in all of us. For me it was the signal that I would be entering a phase of my life that took me 18 years to see. For me it meant that all the dollars, the time, the energy of preparing for war was about to become a reality.
Yes, September the 11th is a day that I saw our Nation for the first time in my life and hopefully the last get punched in the eye. We were hit and hit hard and then we hit back.
Sixteen months of my life spent in the desert, a result of the attacks of September 11th 2001.
I proudly served and have no regrets. I will never forget the way I felt that awful day in our Nation.
As we mark this day, say a prayer, pause a moment, reflect on something other than that latte grande or high power meeting you will bore yourself in. Remember what it felt like that day.

The patriotic side of me said to post this poem. Written by Johnny Cash, I am sure you have all heard it before, but it is such a telling example of the punches we have taken, the scars we bare, and the resolve we have as we look at our ragged old Flag.

That Ragged Old Flag
By Johnny Cash

I walked through a county courthouse square
On a park bench, an old man was sittin there.
I said, “Your court house is kinda run down,
He said, “No, it will do for our little town”.
I said “your old flag pole kinda leaned a little bit,
And that’s a ragged old flag you got hanging on it”.
He said “have a seat”, so I sat down,
He said, “is this your first visit to our little town”
I said, “I think it is”
He said “I don’t like to brag, but we’re kinda proud of
“That Ragged Old Flag”
“You see, we got a little hole in that flag there,
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it, writing
“Oh Say Can You See”
It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson
tugging at its seams.
It almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas flag,
But she waved on tho.
It got cut with a sword in Chancellorsville,
Got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on
“That Ragged Old Flag”
On Flanders Field in World War I,
She took a bad hit from a Bertha Gun,
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time that one was through,
She was in Korea, Vietnam, She went where she was sent
by her Uncle Sam.
The Native Americans, The Black, Yellow and White
All shed red blood for the Stars and Stripes.
And here in her own good land,
She’s been abused, burned, dishonored, denied and refused,
And the very government for which she stands
Has been scandalized throughout out the land.
And she’s getting thread bare, and she’s wearing kinda thin,
But she’s in pretty good shape, for the shape she’s in.
Cause she’s been through the fire before
and she can take a whole lot more.
So we raise her up every morning
And we bring her down slow every night,
We don’t let her touch the ground,
And we fold her up right.
On second thoughtI do like to brag
Cause I’m mighty proud of
“That Ragged Old Flag”

Me too!
Have a Great Scouting Day!