Month: November 2008

The morning after

It is the morning after another great Thanksgiving. What made this Thanksgiving great for me this year was the simplicity. Now I don’t want to start sounding like a old fuddy duddy…
But, coupled with the fact the leading up to Thanksgiving I was on the “impact” subject and did a lot of soul searching finding better ways to influence the Scouts of my Troop and the fact that this Thanksgiving was near perfect. It was simple.
We went to my sisters house, my parents, my sister, her husband and kids, my family and by brother in laws mom were there.. that was it.
Mom cooked a great turkey, nice big bird cooked to perfection, my sister did her normal fantastic job of preparing the other stuff in a truly Martha Stewart fashion, and my wife did a great job with salads, sides, and dinner roles.
Dad began the meal with a beautiful talk about what thanksgiving is all about. Yeah, Pilgrims yada yada, but he passed on what Thanksgiving has always been about for him and our family and that is simply family.
For our family thanksgiving was always special. Growing up with my Dad in the Army, we moved all over the world and each Thanksgiving found us in far away lands, away from our family in “the States”. So we became close, just the 5 of us finding comfort in family. I think that is why we are closer today and where the values are built that carry in our lives today. It shaped what is really important in us.
After dinner, my parents had a special treat. They converted the old Super 8 films to DVD and we sat and laughed at old hair styles, goofy action, and remembered where we were taking a stroll down memory lane. I had not seen those films since I was 12. Wow, I guess the more we change, the more we stay the same.
It was real special to see my brother as a baby and toddler. He is no longer with us, so it was nice to share Thanksgiving with him, albeit he was on the DVD.
It was a simple Thanksgiving. Just Family. Perfect.
We truly have a lot to be thankful for and yesterday we got to share our thanks with the ones we love.
As we take stock in what we have, where we are, where we have been and where we want to go in the near and far future, remember what got you there. The struggles, the happy times, and the effort that you give to make your lives the best it can be.
I popped online this morning and checked into skype. Shawn was on and his message said “Its almost 2009”.
Not that I did not know that, but it sure was a reminder that time is flying by, we need to get ready for the coming year. Our Troop plans are set and we are in progress., but what about our personal plans. Don’t wait till the last minute, and don’t just fly by the seat of your pants. Have a plan and work that plan. In November 2009, you will be more thankful.
We had a great Thanksgiving. A special time with my family. I hope you all did too.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


I would like to wish all of my Friends in Scouting a very blessed Thanksgiving.
As you have read my blog over the last year you know a bit about who I am and I have shared on many occassions just how thankful I am.
Today is a day set aside to give thanks.

Thank you.

For Food
For Raiment
For Life
For Opportunity
For Friendship
For Fellowship
We thank Thee, O Lord.


Have a Great Scouting Day!

Giving it back

“It’s time to take our destiny and our definition back into our own hands,” Mazzuca said. “We have such a positive story to tell.”

I don’t know why, but sometimes things happen and it seems to hover. Lately, it seems that the subject of our impact or legacy as Scouts and Scouters has been on my mind.
First, being honored at the Council Board meeting, introduced as a member of the James E. West fellowship and Life member of the Scouting Heritage Society.
Then, having the honor of correspondence with Alvin Townley. A reminder of the impact we have on Scouting and our Nation. That no matter what our role is in Scouting and especially those that have worked to achieve the Eagle Award. The message is that we owe this organization called Scouting a great deal. It has given us so much, we need to give back.
Over the last few weeks I have been caught up with the overwhelming thought of our impact on these young men. It has almost become an obsession.
I know that the program our unit offers is consistent and in keeping with the traditions and values of the Boy Scouts of America. But are we doing all that we can to ensure our program instills the value of return in our Scouts.
I had lunch with my Dad yesterday. He was an active part in my Scouting life as a youngster.
An assistant Scoutmaster in my troop and a great teacher of out door skills.
He is a merit badge counselor and a member of our Troop committee now. We were talking about our obligation to give back. He gives as he says “till it hurts” both in time and money. And don’t we all, the point is we find what we love and who, how, and what we want to support. Scouting is unique though in that it is a values base that stays with us for our life time. In that set of values we find rules to live by and obligations that direct our lives. Obligations that ask us to serve. To give and give back.
By giving back we perpetuate those values, teach them, and watch as our young men grow in character and our nation benefits form our actions a Scouts.
Our Creed of Honor that grows in all of us.
This idea of impact is burning in me right now. It is a good time to be a Scout, Scouter or a supporter of Scouting. Our nation needs Scouts and Scouting and we as leaders need to do what we can to keep it alive and well.
The Board of Directors of the Cascade Pacific Council stated at the last Board Meeting that “Scouting is healthy.” In a time that the economy is uncertain, war, and a general attitude that our future is uncertain, the one thing that has not changed and will remain constant is Scouting.
Our values, our program, and our commitment continues to stir in the hearts of Scout leaders and the Scouts we serve.
Now if that does not make you think…well time to head to another blog.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation that “an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.” Scouting today is the “lengthened shadow” of all of us that continue to give back.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Thoughts from a Thankful Scoutmaster

Last night the Troop held it’s monthly fun night after the PLC meeting. This month the Scouts elected to play Basketball over at the Church gym as the darkness is falling earlier and its getting cold outside.
So they held their PLC meeting focusing on the January Camp out and discussing the events of December that the Troop will be involved in. I gave my two and half cents were needed and pretty much let them be.
Then off to the gym. It didn’t take long to pick teams and the game began. We had a young Webelos Scout and his parents visiting last night, it was actually good for them to see the Troop at play. They got to see the camaraderie and cheerful spirit of the Troop as well as good sportsmanship.
At the end of the game, I gathered the Scouts at center court for some comments and a Scoutmaster minute to wrap up the night. I had something prepared, but then I looked at the boys sitting there on the floor and it hit me.

I am so blessed.

So I just talked to the Scouts about that.

I am so blessed that I have been chosen to be their Scoutmaster. To be a Scoutmaster at all is a blessing. To have the opportunity to impact these young men and watch them grow in character and skills that will last a life time. I thought about an email I received yesterday in which we had gone back and forth about Scoutmastership. The emailer reminded me of a quote from the book Legacy of Honor (which I have written about earlier). The quote was about the impact that a Scoutmaster has on the young men he serves. In the book the author was interviewing a man named Jim Breedlove. Mr. Breedlove said; “Scoutmaster is the most distinguished title a man can have….When I think of those people who have the opportunity to shape the lives of individuals to produce an outcome that is relevant, the role of Scoutmaster does that better than any one position I can think of.”

So of course this got me thinking about my report card as a Scoutmaster. Is what I am doing that important? Do I really have that kind of impact? And if so… How am I doing?
My Dad used to always say that the “Proof is in the pudding”. So I looked at the pudding.. the Scouts. Now we are far from seeing the results of the boys progress in life, but I suppose we can call it a quarterly report. I looked at pictures of our Troops first year. Man were those guys small. The looks on their faces as they braced for adventures to come, their willingness to learn and develop skills. The fun they had.
I remember a camp out, oh way back in our first year. We went to Ft. Stevens State Park and we were working on Map and Compass. We took the boys on a 5 mile hike and as we got closer to camp, I realized we were burning daylight and we still had dinner to cook. We challenged the Scouts, that if they beat us back to camp that we would do all the dishes. They took off like there was a blue light special on candy. They beat us back to camp, which allowed the ASMs and I to drop back and have a moment to talk about the next months camp out. So eager they were.
And today, well today they still are. Now the older guys are dropping back and making that challenge, teaching and sharing their experience with those new bright eyed Scouts that are eager and willing to step on to the trail of new adventure.
I am worthy of such a distinguished title… Scoutmaster. Maybe, but I love it. Looking back at the 5 boys that we started Troop 664 with, I can say with a some certainty that Scouting has made an impact on them so far. I see it in their attitudes, their skills, and the way they act.
Last night I talked with one of the original boys. He is a leader in his High School, gets good grades, plays sports, is helpful around the house, and a genuinely caring kid, I really appreciate him. I have seen him grow as a young man tremendously.
And then there was one of our younger guys, that after the Scoutmaster minute took the time to tell me his list of things he would saying at the dinner table on Thursday when it was his turn to give Thanks. He said that he was thankful that I was his Scoutmaster. I almost teared up.
Impact? Yes. Blessed? Yes. Thankful? Yes.
So I am truly humbled by the experience of being a Scoutmaster. As I told the boys last night, I will not leave until the Knights (our CO) asks me to.
Looking at the young faces at center court last night was all I needed to understand the impact, and the huge responsibility that comes with it. Last night was all it took to snap things in perspective and realize how thankful and blessed I am.
I told the Scouts of 664 that this Thursday as they sit at the table and gave thanks that they need to remember how blessed they are. How blessed to have the opportunities they have, to wake up in the Greatest Nation, to have freedom, to have parents and know what love feels like. To be able to enjoy a meal with family and friends, to have warmth and safety.
We have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for so much, a list too long to share, but near the top, definitely in the Top 5 is the word Scoutmaster and all that comes with it..namely the Scouts.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Backpacking Tip of the Week

Fuel consumption in the cold.

No matter which type of fuel you use for cooking, in the winter you need to plan for more.
This is an important part of planning your Patrol’s meals, as you need to account for the amount of fuel you will burn, which impacts the amount of fuel you need to carry.
Plan on burning twice as much fuel in the winter months.
Canister fuel, liquid fuel, even burning wood doubles in the winter.
Here are a few tips to conserve fuel and use it more efficiently in the winter.

1. Never have a flame without a pot over it. Prep your food ahead of time, get it in the pot…then light the stove. Burning fuel without producing something is a waste of fuel.
2. Keep your fuel as warm as you can. Store your fuel in an old sock while it’s in your pack.
At night keep your canisters or fuel bottles in your tent. Canister fuel in a sock placed in your sleeping bag can be a life saver in the morning. Fuel gets cold and hard to burn. Keeping it warm insures quick lighting and more efficient burn.

3. Use a wind screen. Block the wind to keep your flame where it needs to be.
4. Plan for quick, one pot meals. The faster you cook (prep and boil etc) the less fuel you use.
5. Always use a lid on your pot. This helps retain heat for quicker cooking.
6. Learn how to use your stove..before you go. Learn how to set your stove to simmer, this uses less fuel also and for some meals you may need to cook using a lower heat so as not to burn.
7. When boiling water…crank it up.. get it boiling… and shut it down.

Use these simple tips and you will burn less and get the heat where it belongs in the winter… YOUR BELLY!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Sleeping while the Wind Blows

As we repeat the Scout Oath each week at our meetings and try every day to live the values and promises it contains, sometimes it is worth putting it in perspective and coming to a better understanding of what we promise when we say those words that begin with ON MY HONOR.

To keep myself Physically strong, Mentally awake, and Morally straight.
The last part of the Scout Oath, the part in which we make three promises to ourselves. Those final promises that shape character and set direction in our lives. That last part of the Oath that keeps us Prepared… for anything.

A friend of mine sent me this short story. I do not know who the original author is, but it is worth the read, I modified it at the end to maintain relevance in a Scouting setting.

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the sea, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.
Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked him. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.
Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work. Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore.
Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get Up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!”
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir, I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured.
Everything was tied down.
Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant,
so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.


When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life?
The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.
We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the in the Scout Oath and Law

The Scout Oath and Law grounds us against every storm. It ensures that we are Trustworthy and Loyal, like the farmer in the story. Brave, so we can sleep while the winds blow, standing up to that which challenges us. And Reverent. We know that when we ground our selves in a belief in God, or a higher power that we know and love, that we will ultimately be alright. We know that we have a protector in our Savior and that by maintaining our faith in him, he will take care of us.
I love in the story that it speaks to BEING PREPARED. Baden Powell challenged us to BE PREPARED for anything. It is our motto. We prepare for the storms in our life by living the Oath and Law.

What a great story that sums up our promise, OUR HONOR.

Have a Great Scouting Day!