Monthly Archives: January 2009

Start, Stop, and to be Continued

I have written about this before, so if you don’t know what I am talking about here is the readers digest version.
Start, Stop, and Continue is a tool that you can use to evaluate any activity that your Troop undertakes. It is a way of learning and preparing for the next time. It is simple and should be used at all levels, in particular within the Patrols. So allow me to share my Start, Stop, and Continue notes from the Camp out we just completed this weekend.

Location: Mt Hood, Oregon (White River East)
Overview. The plan was to stay at the Aubrey Watzek Lodge on Friday night, enjoy a night of tubing and fun. Saturday morning, the Troop would move to White River East and establish a camp site. There would be an opportunity for snow caving and sharpening Winter camping skills.

Start: Those things that we need to start doing better.
First I would suggest we start the training process for winter camping a little earlier. The Shake down the Monday night prior to the camp out was instrumental in the success of the camp out, however, as we discovered Scouts missing items, or not fully understanding the need for certain items, it was obvious that more time is needed to teach and check the Scouts of the Troop. Maybe starting a week or two earlier would be beneficial. It could allow for two shake downs to better check gear. Perhaps having the second shake down to allow the Scouts to correct and have a re inspection a week before the trip.
Start: Spending more time with individual scouts teaching and coaching winter camping skills.
Start: Getting to the winter lodge earlier to allow the Scouts to have more fun Friday night and get a good nights rest, allowing us to leave the lodge earlier so the Scouts can have more day light to work on their snow caves.

Look for STOP in tomorrows post.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Twitter I admit, up until a month ago.. if you would have said anything about Twitter, I would have thought you were insulting someone.
But for those of you that are Internet savvy and follow Scouting on the Internet there is a sight called Half It is a site that gets feeds from many Scouting Blogs and puts them in one place so you don’t have to hunt all over to find them.
The Scoutmaster minute is one of the blogs that Gregg has chosen to include. Thanks!

Well now I find out that if you have a Twitter account.. you can follow the Half Eagle blogs from your Twitter page. Yet another Scouting option for you on the net.
You can learn more by clicking here… Just think, you can read the Scoutmaster minute via Twitter now too.

And if you are so inclined.. you can also keep up with me on Twitter- just find me: smjerry

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Picture of the Week

I did not realize that I have only posted to the blog, really twice this week. It has been a busy week of Scouting.
The culmination of a great Scouting week will be this weekends camp out with the Troop.
So here is the picture of the week. My gear being inventoried before I packed it today.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Never let ’em see you sweat

Stress plays a big part in most of our lives. It is how we deal with that stress that is important and how it will effect your life.
There are certain things that are non negotiable in life, certain things that bring on stress that you just can’t shake. So what and how are you going to deal with it?
Well, I can’t answer that for you… I don’t know what those things are in your life, but what I can suggest is that you recognize what those things are and figure out how you can deal with them to reduce the stress.

You need to know what those stressors are and how you might be able to avoid or minimize them.
We know that money is always a stressor… so do something about it.
We know that change can be a stressor… so figure out how you can adapt and make the changes necessary to go with those changes.
We know that the Parents of our Scouts can sometimes add stress, so figure out who they are, and what they do to push your buttons. Then remember that it is the Scout that is why you do this and move on.
We know that certain activities can add stress to you. Well, I would not suggest avoiding activity, but know what those are and what you need to do to combat those stressors.

To many stress can overwhelm them. It is all about how we deal with the stress.

So here is my simple, and I mean simple remedy for stress.
1. Remember what is important. If it is not important, than it is not a stressor.
2. Focus on Number 1. The important stuff. Your family, your Scouts, your health.. you decide.

3. If it is not important.. don’t stress about it.

Too many people stress about things that they can not control, have input for, and otherwise have no solutions for. I guess I would ask Why? It seems that for some people they need the stress to make themselves feel like they are part of the process. Now I am not talking about anyone in particular. I just know of the condition and see it manifest, especially in Scouting. And there is the rub.
Why would anyone stress about anything in Scouting.
I can not think of one situation… not one that I need to stress over.
Safety issues? No.. have a plan to minimize the risk.
Advancement? No.. work with the Scout, its up the them weather they advance or not… so why stress. You are not earning it, they are.
Money/ Fundraising? No.. just get out there and do.. or not. The more you do, the better your chances of success. The less.. well you get the point.

It seems I have a simple answer for everything. Yep, for the most part I do. You see, I don’t stress. Everything has an answer, and usually situations can be resolved by being simple. Talking, listening, acting in a reasonable manner. I have no room for drama and stress. It is not healthy.

So don’t stress. If you are bothered… Do something about it. Or don’t, but stressing over it will accomplish nothing.

Have a Great Stress free Scouting Day!

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Before Man Vs. Wild

Before Bear Grylles or Les Stroud there was Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke.
Check this little clip from You Tube.. now this guy is an outdoorsman.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Backpacking tip of the week

This weeks tip is about hydration.
Hydrating your body is important…no matter what time of the year. To coin the phrase from Camel Back… “Hydrate or Die”!

I have morphed in my methods for hydration over the years. From a canteen when I was kid to Camel Backs and Nalgene water bottles to what I am using the Platypus hydration system.

The Platypus offers versatile ways to stay hydrated, collect water, store your water, and transport it.
My MSR Sweetwater filter works with the Platypus which makes pumping and filtering water real simple on the trail. You don’t have to worry about “Dirty bags” or transferring your water.. from the source, to the container (Bladder) and you are ready.
The Platypus has a mouth that is big enough to pour and drink directly out of, and with the cap and thread system that comes with it, attachments are easy to connect and work with.
I use the 2 liter bladders. I have a drink tube kit which allows me to move it from one bladder to another. Like I said before, the MSR Sweetwater filter has an adapter that screws directly to the bladder.
Push/Pull caps really make the Platypus a great system and makes for easy in camp use.
The Platypus is tough and durable, I have never had an issue with leaking or bursting.

When the Platypus bladder is empty it is light and rolls up small.. a pleasure to have in your pack.

I don’t get paid by Cascade Designs or Platypus, but I have three bladders in my pack and I love ’em.

Read More about the Importance of staying Hydrated.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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HDTV … a sore subject

Yesterday I posted about a caller to a local talk show talking about HDTV conversion.
You have responded… some in the comments section, but many of you have made the choice to email me directly.. thanks, I really appreciate it as it is a great discussion.
I am going to share one of those emails with you, but first let me give you my take on this whole HDTV situation.
I own a HDTV, but really don’t have a dog in the fight. I couldn’t really care any less about the issue. Your local TV stations say that it is the government that is forcing the issue. You all know that the air waves of TV are owned by the government (READ… US). The broadcast networks are pushing this issue because of the money. It is too expensive to broadcast in both analog and digital. So it comes down to technology and the dollar. That is all.

So here is the email I promised you. Like I said, I appreciate it… keep them coming.

I’m perplexed also so I’ll put it in scouting terms. Let’s say that BSA decides that as of the 100 anniversary of scouting in America, the old uniform can no longer be worn. After all, the new style uniforms are made of better material and a better design. Everyone would benefit from wearing the new uniform. After all, a full uniform is only what $50, $60, $70?
If you don’t like it, you don’t have to be in scouts any longer. No one will force you to spend the money, you just can’t participate.
The point is that the switch to digital TV is a mandate, not a choice. Instead of broadcasting in both analog and digital and slowly switching over over a number of years, there is a hard cut over. TV Stations in Houston TX only started broadcasting in digital about a year ago.
What is the life of a TV 10, 15 years?
How many TV’s are ending up in the land fill?
I don’t agree with your post (or the switch to digital).

So was my response to this reader:

It’s your right to disagree…
2 things.
First… no where in any BSA rules, policies, or regulations is a uniform REQUIRED. It is a method, but NO Scout is denied access to Scouting due to lack of uniform.
Second…Try to buy an 8 track tape? Did you know that the last manufacture of VHS tapes left the factory 2 days ago.. there will be no more… Switch to DVD or you get nothing.
Mandate.. yes.. it is too expensive for broadcast networks to have both analog and HD… so we switch because they switch…or you don’t watch TV. Our government has “Given you an opportunity” with the coupons for the box, if you fail to take advantage of it… that’s your CHOICE.
Thanks for the comment, but it will still come down to a choice… You don’t have to have TV to live, in fact you could probably do well without it. You don’t have to have a uniform to be a Scout.
So it’s all about choices. Cost of a uniform is no excuse… my son purchased his NEW Centennial uniform from money in HIS Scout account which he earned by collecting cans, shoveling snow, mowing lawns, and baby sitting. A Scout is Thrifty. He has made choices to pay his way (with the help of mom and dad).
The point of the post is that excuses and complaining get you no where. You make a choice to take action either way.
Agree or disagree, it is you that will decide what you are going to do about it.
Thanks again.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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HD TV and the Choices we make

Today I was listening to one of my favorite talk radio shows, I could not believe my…. ears… as the topic shifted from floods and politics to HDTV conversion.
As you know, come February your TV is supposed to look better as it will be High Definition… not really the point here.
A caller was upset that he was being “Forced” to buy a converter box or a new TV. The host of the show was dumbfounded in the attitude of the caller in his insistence that “the Man” was forcing him into something he did not need…not want.
As I listened I too became perplexed at this callers attitude. I could not believe that he really had that mind set. I mean… Does he still use an 8 track player? Beta Movies? Atari?
Times and technology changes and with that change we either change or…. Not. But no one forces this change on us.
The caller is not “forced”to watch TV. He is not “Forced” to buy a new one.
He is not “Forced” to listen to music on CD’s or an Ipod… He can use his 8 Track player until it no longer plays… or he gets tired of scratchy Lynard Skynard tunes. No one forces him to do anything.
And then I thought, geez we just had this conversation with some of the Scouts in our Troop. You see, a young Scout and I had a chat the other night about some up coming Troop activities. Next weekend the Troop is hitting the mountain for some high adventure cold weather camping. This Scout in question stated that he did not want to camp in the snow. I told him that he did not have to go if he did not want to. He looked at me expecting me to beg him to go. That was not going to happen, as much the caller to the Radio show was not going to be begged into buying a new TV or a CD Player. We do not force our Scouts to do anything, they can come and go as they please, we expect things of them if they choose to participate, but the choice is theirs to make.
Do I buy a new TV for a better picture? Do I trade my 8 track collection for better sounding CD’s? Do I go on the 50 miler for a great backpacking experience or take advantage of a fantastic summer camp program? Do I get involved with my Troop and learn about leadership and service or do I just stand against the wall of change and let the world pass them buy? All choices, and choices that we allow them to make.

Nothing is forced in Scouting. If a boy wants to set goals and become an Eagle Scout, go on 50 milers, learn about astronomy, become a leader, we provide the opportunity. That’s all.. just opportunities.
So the caller has a choice to make, a new TV or converter box. Or stay with the old and not take advantage of the world that is happening now. Just like in Scouting. Make a choice, but live with the choice you make.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Scouts in Harlem

I was recently emailed by Justin Szlasa, he is envolved with a new movie about a Boy Scout Troop in Harlem.
I promised him I would help him promote the film using my blog, and then I saw a great article on the film from my friends at

So rather than duplicate the efforts…
Check out and read the article.. You can watch the trailer to the movie there also.

You can also get more information about the film at

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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A Scout is Thrifty

Last night at our troop meeting I had a Scout approach me and announce that “My Family is Poor”. And that was the reason that he did not participate in many activities.
Well, to begin, we do not charge extra for activities, all activities are paid through dues (which he is paid up for). But it struck me as odd that the announcement was made.
My response… Well son, I seem to have heard that a Scout is thrifty. So what are YOU doing about it?
Yes, I put the situation for paying for Scouting right in his lap… not Mom and Dad’s bank account.
Are you collecting cans, shoveling snow, mowing lawns, do odd jobs for neighbors? NO, NO, NO.
Did you sell popcorn, candy, and Christmas wreaths? NO, NO, NO.
Then what are you doing to be thrifty?
When I was a Scout, our Scoutmaster told us that part of being Thrifty was that a Scout paid his own way. I walked dogs, mowed lawns, and baby sat to pay my way through Scouting. I am sure that my parents wrote many checks also, but the point was, I worked to make a contribution.
While I truly believe that money will never be a reason for a boy not to participate in Scouting activities, all they have to do is want to be there, I do believe that the value of being Thrifty is one that can last their life times, setting them up for financial wellness in the future.
This Scout looked at me with surprise. I must have been the first one to ever insist that he work for what he gets.

There is no reason a boy has to do without Scouting, especially money. But paying your own way goes a long way in life, and a Scout is Thrifty. He sets a goal, makes a plan, works his plan, and reaps the benefits of the hard work he put into making it real.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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