Monthly Archives: November 2008

Lots of Flavors

Yesterday we held our first ever Open House. In the past recruiting has come easy, and for the most part it still is. You see, “If you build it…they come”. Yeah, I am referring to a solid Scouting program. If you build a good program, the word gets out and the Scouts come.
This year, however, we thought it would be a good idea to open our doors and show our Troops flavor. Not with the expectation of getting more boys to join, but to show our program and allow them to make the decision. We also thought it would be a good idea to help some of those Webelos that were looking at wrapping up those last few requirements for their Arrow of Light.

So we put together a nice package that accomplished many goals.
First, introduce the troop. Second, help the Webelos, and Finally recruit, if not to our Troop, but then to another troop that would fit the Scout and his families needs in Scouting.

Now we view Scout Troops as Ice cream with many flavors. Our troop is Rocky road. Other troops may be vanilla, chocolate, or cookies and cream, none of them better than the others, just different. Some folks like chocolate better than vanilla, and some like nuts in their ice cream. each flavor is great when that is what you like. And that is what we sell. We sell our flavor. We do not try to be better than anyone else, we do not try to offer what others offer, other than then what is outlined in the BSA program. We all know that troops are different, but we also know that there are certain things that all troops have in common. We offer all the common things, but do it with our flavor.

We had a good turn out, I would not say it was fantastic, but I think that no matter what Troop those boys go to, they will have fun, but more importantly, they will stay in Scouting.
And with that we all win.

Will we do it again.. I am sure we will. Will we change our flavor… probably not… not just to get turn out at an open house. We love rocky road, the Scouts like it and come back every Monday to get more. Is it the nuts? Is it the marshmallow? Or is the chocolate?

All of the above.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Gay’s, Gun’s, and God…

Yesterday I had the pleasure of defending the Boy Scouts of America, well it was not to hard to do as the BSA’s program pretty much speaks for itself, but none the less I found myself standing in the check out line of a local store on my way to Round table. I was proudly wearing my uniform patiently waiting as the clerk once again called for a price check.
A lady behind me commented on the new uniform and how it was not a “Flashy” as the red tabbed and numbered shirt. She asked if it was a down play to not look as “Scouty” (what ever that means).
I explained that I really was not part of the decision making process, but I thought the intent was to be more “Outdoorsy” To blend in, not in a camouflage way, but more subdued, like the camping gear we use (See Leave no trace).
She said that her was a Cub Scout, but they had to remove him from the program because of the issues that the BSA would not flex on.
Fully knowing were this was going, and not trying to get into it, I smiled and nodded and said that was too bad.
She poked again asking why the BSA was so inflexible, forcing young boys to believe in God. I replied that the BSA does not force anyone to do anything. The BSA just believes that for a young man to make ethical decisions throughout his lifetime that there should be a foundation of faith, any faith. It is not restricted to God, it could be Alla or Buddha, or a Tree. But an understanding that a Higher power has gifted us these great things on Earth so that we can be good stewards of it, that we live by the Golden rule, that we should be Reverent is an important part of a Scouts foundation.
As I could see that it was not sinking in, I again turned and waited as another price check was called for.
She then poked and asked… well what about Gays? I asked her, what about them? The BSA does not want Gay’s in the program she said. I tried to explain to her that the Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. Scouting’s position with respect to homosexual conduct accords with the moral positions of many millions of Americans and with religious denominations to which a majority of Americans belong. Because of these views, the Boy Scouts of America believes that a known homosexual is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for boys.
She asked if I thought that was discrimination, and I answered, it sure is, and I think it is an appropriate way to discriminate as I want my own Sons to have role models that are consistent with our faith base and family values.
Then she said…yeah well.. I did not want my kid around guns. They are harmful and the Boy Scouts should not be gloryfing guns and killing.
I asked were she thought the BSA did that? There is not Hunting Merit badge, we only shoot at targets (Paper targets), and safety is paramount on the BSA’s ranges. I told her that in all my time, I have never had to pry on to a range, but have had to kick them off so others can get a shot.
The BSA teaches respect and safety of firearms. That it is ok to participate in Shooting sports, and that by teaching and encouraging proper fire arm safety, we actually reduce the risk of those guns turning into something harmful.
She said, well I just don’t like guns…why can’t the Boy Scouts just be flexible?

At that point I had finally reached the checkout and was feeling pretty good about the way the BSA looked. A few other ears were now in the conversation and so I parted ways saying, the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization that welcomes everyone that wants to participate in ITS program, the program that encourages values and character. A program that wants its Scouts to be safe and provided with positive role models. An organization that wants a young man to grow up with an understanding of servant leadership and that he can see that model of servant leadership in our God.
The BSA is flexible… it’s may not be your cup of tea if you can’t live the values set out in the program. There are other opportunities for your son, the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Police Activities Leagues etc. Maybe the Boy Scouts just was not for you.

She stood and stared for a moment, and simply said, I guess not.
I told her to have a Great evening and we parted ways. My oldest son, who was with me, asked what her problem was? I told him that she just did not get it. He smiled and we left.

Scouting is for everyone. Everyone that believes in the Oath and Law and that the world would be better if there were more Scouts.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Tbird National Jamboree Blog

For those of you that follow my blog, I have created a blog for the members of the Thunderbird Area that have registered for the 2010 National Jamboree!

It will be a conduit of information and news to keep up with National Jamboree events, time lines, and news.

You can follow the blog here.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Backpacking Tip of the Week

Backpacking puts you out into the wilderness, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.. away from cars and phones and immediate care.

It is important that we enter the wilderness area with a solid foundation of camping skills.
First Aid, Fire building, Orienteering and most important Common sense.

As we entering the winter months it is always worth revisiting common first aid issues.

So this weeks Backpack tip is about Common signs of Cold weather injuries.

Common cold weather injuries when backpacking are Hypothermia, Frost Bite, and Frost Nip.

Symptoms of hypothermia are:
Signs and symptoms include: Shivering, Slurred speech, Abnormally slow breathing, Cold, pale skin, Loss of coordination, Fatigue, lethargy or apathy, Confusion or memory loss.
To treat a Scout with hypothermia, first move the person out of the cold. If going indoors isn’t possible, protect the person from the wind, cover his head, and insulate his body from the cold ground.
Remove wet clothing. Replace wet things with a warm, dry covering.
Don’t apply direct heat. Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the victim. Instead, apply warm compresses to the neck, chest wall and groin. Don’t attempt to warm the arms and legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.
Offer warm drinks like hot chocolate or even just warm water, unless the person is vomiting.
Don’t massage or rub the person. Handle people with hypothermia gently, because they’re at risk of cardiac arrest. Monitor breathing, be prepared to administer CPR.

The key is prevention. Stay dry, change your socks often and when you do get wet, change right away.

When exposed to very cold temperatures, skin and underlying tissues may freeze, resulting in frostbite. The areas most likely to be affected by frostbite are your hands, feet, nose and ears.
You can identify frostbite by the hard, pale and cold quality of skin that has been exposed to the cold. As the area thaws, the flesh becomes red and painful.
If your fingers, ears or other areas suffer frostbite:
Get out of the cold.
Warm your hands by tucking them under your arms. If your nose, ears or face is frostbitten, warm the area by covering it with dry, gloved hands.
Don’t rub the affected area. Never rub snow on frostbitten skin.
If there’s any chance of refreezing, don’t thaw out the affected areas. If they’re already thawed out, wrap them up so they don’t refreeze.
Get emergency medical help if numbness remains during warming. If you can’t get help immediately, warm severely frostbitten hands or feet in warm — not hot — water. You can warm other frostbitten areas, such as your nose, cheeks or ears, by covering them with your warm hands or by applying warm cloths.

Recognizing the symptoms of Hypothermia and Frost bite will keep you and your buddies safe. Cold weather injuries are painful and can result in loss of limbs, fingers, and death. Prevention of these symptoms, knowing how to prevent falling victim to the cold can save your life.

Your experiences camping in the winter can fun and enjoyable.. as long as you are watchful for cold weather injuries. Don’t let the cold scare you off.


Have a Great Scouting Day!

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To those that served

Today we honor all of those that have served in the forces that protect our Country and preserve our way of life with Pride and Honor.
Thank you for your commitment, selfless service, and dedication to keeping our Nation free.

Last night we had a National Jamboree meeting. All of the Scoutmasters, Assistants, and the Council Contingent met, as we do monthly. Last night was a special meeting as we were all asked to bring our Wives, Husbands, Girlfriends, and in the cases of the 3rd Assistants… their Moms and Dads.
My Troop was tasked last night with the opening ceremony.
I thought long and hard about how I could tie in “Climbing the Mountain” which was the theme over the last two months. The fact that we are embarking on this amazing journey to the National Jamboree. But then I thought about our families, and why the Council wanted to meet and speak with our significant others to let them know just how much they are appreciated.

So I told a story about home. You have heard that home is were the heart is. Well it was a warm.. extremely hot morning just south of Baghdad. We were heading back to our camp after a long patrol that turned out to be pretty exciting.
As we approached the highway and turned South we could see in the distance, about 8 miles away a small object fluttering in the breeze.
The sun broke through the dirty sand blown windshield of our HUMMV and as we got closer and closer we could see the object more clearly. It was the flag of the United States of America. Sun bleached and tattered it was like a beacon guiding us back to camp… back to home. Camp was safe, it was protected, it was were we could relax, breath easy, and sleep knowing that it would all be ok.
Every time we went on Patrol we would look forward to seeing the flag, flying over our camp. IT meant we were safe.
The Flag doesn’t mean anything unless you make it mean something, otherwise it is just cloth, nylon or cotton. A few bars and a handful of stars that someone thought looked good.
But to me, and the men I served means HOME. Which means the world to us.
I have that flag and I showed it at the Jambo meeting last night. As I held it in my hands, a feeling of safety, comfort, peace fell over me. I am home.

My Great Grandfather served his Country, my Grandfather served, my Father served, and I dedicated 21 years of my life in the service of this wonderful Nation.
Today is Veterans Day and today I thank all those that served with honor, to those that have had to go abroad and face the enemies of our freedom, to those that understand what it means to love our home.

Happy Veterans Day!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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In the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night Malvolio reads; “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Like I have said before, Leaders are not born they are made. Some men seem to be born to greatness however, whether that is due to family bonds and position or the person is born with the attitude of greatness. Now what is that?
Well we see those people that seem to have plenty of attitude, positive or negative, but it manifests early in life. You would think that this person was destined to be great.
On the football field there are those player that seem to be natural in a certain position, in a Scout Troop there are those Scouts that have no problem standing in front of a group and leading. They seem comfortable in group situations and never shy away from leadership.

Some athletes achieve greatness with practice and dedication to skills, some Scouts achieve greatness or become leaders through practice and skills development. They may not have been comfortable, but as time goes by they develop that confidence and set of skills that allow them to dare to be great.

Our advancement program at times Thrust greatness upon the leader. Situations that we put our Scouts in to be successful help the Scout achieve greatness. Putting the Scout in a position that may be slightly uncomfortable, a situation to make tough decisions, a position to make a difference, a change, a positive impact on the troop or patrol. These all thrust the Scout into a position that he can achieve greatness.

Now we can debate the word greatness, and we can argue that we should not put our Scouts in that position, but if we don’t… someone else will, and at least in Scouting we can control the elements to a certain degree. We can focus the task and coach through the outcome, we can set the conditions to allow for success.

This weekend my Troop will be conducting Troop Junior Leader Training. Our Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, and our most recent past Senior Patrol Leader will be thrust into greatness. They will be the trainers. They will be put in a position to make a difference, and impact on the Troop. Being the trainers they will be looked upon by the Adult leaders and the youth leaders alike to be an example of leadership… of greatness.

I am proud of them and all of our Scouts. They probably have not read Shakespeare, they more than likely have no desire to be great, and they certainly don’t ask for greatness, but the things they do, the positions they are thrust into, and the desire and willingness to lead make them great in my eyes.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”- John Quincy Adams.

Have a Great Scouting Day!
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Election Day

Hope that everyone of you that are eligible to vote did so.

Voting is not just a Right…it is a responsibility.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Decisions and influence

There are things in our lives that influence every decision we make. Whether that influence comes from within, as in those experiences we have from places we have been, things we have done, that which we have learned, or from outside sources like people we come in contact with, the weather, or conditions that we can not always control.
Your experiences play a major role in the decisions you make. If you learn solid values and live them daily the decisions you make will be guided by those values. Once you have mastered skills the decisions you make when faced with situations becomes easier and require less and less thought.
Peer pressure can play a major role in the decisions our Scouts make. Our Scouts are not under any more pressure than we were when we were kids. Perceptions of Scouts being geeks or nerds have not changed in the last 30 years.
Where our Scouts can have an edge though is when they are taught that Scouting is in fact cool. The things that we do, the experiences that we have and share, the leadership that we develop and the Character that is created in our Scouts pulls them through, just as it has for years.

Our Scouts need to understand that what they are doing is cool and that becoming a real man is more important than being a “Cool guy”. I know that this is “Dad speak”… but the fact is that if our Scouts do not hear from us, they won’t.
I think it was Chief Justice Story that said that “Majorities are not always right”.
This is true for our Scouts that deal with peer pressure. They need to understand that smoking under the bleachers is not cool. They need to know that drugs are harmful and so is anyone that pushes them on you is not a friend. Even if they say “Everyone is doing it”.
Our Scouts know what Right looks like. We need to reinforce it.

The decisions that we make are influenced by many things. Scouting teaches us how to deal, process, and make sound decisions.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Can you believe it?

It’s hard to believe sometimes how time flies…
We had a Troop committee meeting today, and as I sat and listened to the committee conduct it’s business, I realized that it is November. Now before you think I am a total dope…
Realizing it’s November was a contextual thing.
Here we are, a few short weeks from Thanksgiving, a month from the Christmas rush, and we are already into the 2009 plan for the Troop.
Summer Camp reservations are in, monthly camp outs are planned and as we looked forward tonight to Scout Sunday in February and our annual Red and Green Dinner for Scout week, it only took a few flips of the calendar to get there. Wow..time flies. It seems as though we just home from summer camp at Baldwin. It seems as though the group of Webelos that crossed over in March just got here, but looking at them now.. they have grown a lot.

I suppose the moral of story is don’t blink… Time seems to just fly by, and if we are not careful, it will pass you by.
There is too much in our Scouting lives that just seem to pass by. We need to stop sometimes and see what we are doing, catch the moment and enjoy it.
Tonight my sons and I were talking about National Jamboree and how quickly it is approaching.
We reminded ourselves that there is much to do before we go…
My youngest son was not that worried about the preparation, he was excited about the event.
He said that once we get there, it will be like summer camp… it will go quickly.. and he wanted to make the Jamboree last.
I thought about how smart that was, and that we need to take advantage of the time that we do have and make everything we do last.
There are so many opportunities within Scouting that we should take this approach on. So many times I have been to an event and the objective turns to how fast we can “get out of there”.
How quickly we can get it cleaned up and get home. How fast we can get through a meeting.
But what happens when we do that?
We rush, we forget, we leave things out. That, and we loose focus on the reason we do it. To have fun, build those lasting memories, and make a difference.
I know that with the upcoming National Jamboree it will be all about just that. Lasting memories, fun, and making a difference in the Scouts that we take to A.P. Hill. Two of which live in my house.

So time flies.. remember that and let it guide you to slowing down and getting the most out of everything.

Have a Great Scouting Day!… All Day… Every Day!

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Why? Why?

I received an email the other day asking why I focus so much on leadership in our program. Now to be fair, the emailer was not from my unit, just a faithful reader of the blog.
The reader asked why I focus on leadership and am so adamant about the methods. Well as to the latter.. I think the methods speak for themselves. They are the tools or steps that we use to reach our goal (or Aim) of providing a program that teaches and develops Citizenship, Character, and Fitness.
As to the former.. Leadership. Well it’s pretty simple in my opinion. In larger part Scouting is about leadership. You see when we teach leadership we teach the Scouts how to be good servants.
We teach them responsibility, not just personal responsibility, but how to care for others.
We teach them about commitment, and how they must be committed to lead. Not for the sake of leading, but for those that they lead.
We teach them that to be a good leader, you must first be a good follower. This develops Citizenship in our Scouts. It also reinforces Character traits that allow the Scout to grow and develop into a good person. One that is part of a team, one that understands success and failure and how to overcome obstacles in the way to success.
Leadership teaches principle to use throughout their lives. Those things like “Knowing what right looks like”. Planning, Preparing, and following through with something.
Taking responsibility for ones actions and being a positive influence for others.

Yes leadership is fundamental in Scouting.
The reader asked why… “isn’t it all about Camping and Fun?”
Yes it is. It is all of that and more. As BP said…”It is a game with a purpose”. We wrap all the camping and fun up in this neat package that includes leadership.. or is led by those that want the most and best out of Scouting.

Thank you to the emailer, and thank you to all of you that take the time to read the blog, shoot an email, and make Scouting better every day!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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