Month: January 2009

A Scout is Brave

Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.” – Aristotle

The Scout law tells us that a Scout is Brave.
So what is Bravery and how are we as Scouts and Scouters Brave?
Well the Scout handbook tells us that; “A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.” The handbook goes on to say; “saving lives is not the only test of bravery. You are brave every time you do what is right in spite of what other might say. You are brave when you speak the truth and when you admit a mistake and apologize for it. And you show courage when you defend the rights of others.”
You don’t need a medal to be brave, you don’t need ribbons and articles in the paper. Bravery comes from deep inside. It is the voice within you that calls you to do the right thing.

Last night at our Troop meeting I held a few Scoutmaster Conferences. In the course of one of those conferences a question came up about “dealing” with certain member of the patrol this Scout was in. I won’t go into details, and I am certainly not saying one Scout is better than the other, but apparently there has been some conflict within the Patrol. Nothing to bad that will cause a melt down, but to your average 12 year old the crisis was seeming to become insurmountable.
He asked how to deal with this. He was unsure how the other Scout would react and he was worried about tearing up the Patrol. I can completely empathize with the Scout and I asked him what he thought about being Brave? He thought it was like going into battle or saving a life. While those are demonstrations of bravery, I told him that he was brave for bringing the issue up to me. I also gave him this advice.
If you are right, then stand up for your position. Right always wins in the end. When people are in the wrong, they always seem to get caught.
Those that do things contrary to the Scout Oath and Law are like lightning rods. Lightening Rods are designed to attract lightning. Sooner or later, they get struck.
Being Brave and standing up for what is right keeps you from being a lightening rod. You are not a target for the lightening strikes of life. And as the lightening showers around you, your bravery will see you through the storm.

A Scout is Brave. Always do what is right.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Stop and Continue

Continuing from yesterdays post on the Start, Stop, and Continue process…
Here is the rest of my observations of this weekend… keep in mind this is the readers digest version.”
As a Scoutmaster, I keep a lot of notes on the Troop, always trying to make things better and improve the program that we have. Keeping notes is a critical part of Scoutmastership.

So here is Stop and Continue.

Stop: Those things that we need to stop doing as they contribute nothing to the Troops plan.
Stop: Although our method of camping is that of a Backpacking style… we need to stop getting away from working as a Patrol. Meals, even cooked in “Buddy teams” should be prepared in a group setting. This will eliminate confusion and assist in meal preparation.
Stop: As a Troop we need to focus on getting camp established and spend less time initially goofing off. There was not much of that this camp out, but it always is worth mentioning. Some Patrols did better than others, and like I said there was not much in that regard. But the more focused we stay in camp set up, the more time we will have for fun and games later.

Stop: Making last minute changes. Once a plan is established… go with it. If adjustments need to be made, than make adjustments to the plan. But stick with the plan.The plan was to leave the Winter Lodge by 10:00 AM. This would have given the Troop more time to dig snow caves and focus on the winter skills that were initially on the task list.

Continue. Those things that we need to continue do to make sure we have a sound program that meets the needs of the Scouts, the goals of the camp out and using the methods outlined by the program and the stated goals of the Troop.

Continue: To have fun.

Continue: To have safe camp outs that test skills and push the Scouts to make decisions, practice critical thinking skills, and work as a Patrol.

Continue: Camping in the cold. It sharpens skills and develops confidence in the Scouts.

Last night at the Troop meeting the Patrols went through their Start, Stop, and Continue process. Some of the Scouts and I discussed the out come. We compared notes and the realized that we all learned a lot from this winter camp out.

The Scouts are sharpening skills and each year become better, seasoned campers, especially in the extreme cold.

I can’t tell you how much pride I have in the Scouts of my Troop. It’s why I do this.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

It’s one of those days

It’s one of those days that you want to remember.

Do you remember the day Ronald Reagan was shot? March 30th, 1981. I was in High School and I remember my teacher beginning to cry.
Do you remember where you were the day of the Shuttle Challenger disaster? January 28th 1986. I was laid up in the hospital at Ft. Greely, Alaska with a broken knee.
Do you remember the falling of the Berlin wall? November 9th, 1989. I vividly can remember watching the news coverage of the wall be ripped apart and joyous Berliners scaling the wall in celebration.
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on September 11th 2001?
The gut wrenching feeling that I get every time I see those towers falling. I was in Germany on a major training exercise with the Army. The news broke that we had been attacked. I thought to myself we are going to war.
2 years later I was in Baghdad.

There are many moments in our lives that are worth remembering. For whatever reason, Historical, memorable, or those days that are etched in our memories of good and bad times.

Today is one of those days. Good or bad, like of dislike, agree or disagree. Today Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America. The first African American man to hold this office. Freely elected and a participant in a smooth transition of power in the seat of the most visible office in the world.
Today is a day to remember.

We as Americans and people of the world will look on this as an historical day. And one day say, I remember where I was the day the 44th President of the United States entered office.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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!

Twitter

Ok..so 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 Eagle.com. 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!

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!

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!