Month: February 2009

Paddle your own Canoe

“A canoe trip is like a voyage of life.
An old ‘un ought to hand on piloting hints.
The only true Success is Happiness.
Two steps to Happiness are: Taking life as a game and giving out Love.
Happiness is not mere pleasure not the outcome of wealth.
It is the result of active work rather than passive enjoyment of pleasure.
Your success depends on your own individual effort in the voyage of life,
And the avoidance of certain dangerous Rocks.
Self-education, in continuation of what you have learned at school, is necessary.
Go forward with confidence.
Paddle your own canoe!”

Robert Baden-Powell

What else can you say?

Have a Great Scouting Day!

J Falk Wood Fuel Stove

Another fantastic camp out with the Scouts from Troop 664.
I took the opportunity to try out a J Falk Wood Fuel Stove this weekend. Jason Klass from Gear Talk sent me one to try out.
I really like the stove. It is light and burned well. I was drinking coffee in 5 minutes.
Like I say in the video, I am not ready to give up my Jet boil, but having the J Falk stove is a nice addition to the camping gear.
Filmed at Camp Meriwether out on the beautiful Oregon coast, we had a great weekend and as you can see the weather cooperated with us too. Not bad for a February on the Oregon Coast.


Have a Great Scouting Day!


The 5th point of the Scout Law tells us to be Courteous.
The other night as our Troop camped on the Oregon Coast we had an opportunity to discuss this fine point of the law.
You see, it seems that some of the Scouts did not understand the difference between having fun and being disrespectful.
By definition Courteous or Courtesy is a matter of manners and respect or consideration of others.
When it is quiet time in camp, it is quiet time in camp. That rule is not there to zap the fun out of the camping experience, rather, it is in place so that we all can enjoy a peaceful night, under the stars in the quiet of the woods.

So I found my way to the noisy patrol. They were not to hard to find. We had a discussion on Courtesy and having consideration of others. It comes down to respect and thinking of others needs before thinking of yourself.
I had the boys place their hands in front of their noses and then move their hands as far as the out stretched arm would take it. I had them focus on their hand, and then focus on what was beyond their hand.
This illustration showed them that they need to looked past themselves. To remember that there are others out there and that while they were having fun, they were taking away from the experience of the others.
The selfish act that they were demonstrating effected more than themselves.
Needless to say it got pretty quiet after that, and they still enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Too many times we let our selfish needs get in the way of courtesy. We tend to forget that by our actions we can be disrespectful and discourteous.
The Scout law asks all of us to remember to be Courteous.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Concerned Eagle Scout

I received an email from a “Concerned Eagle Scout” Today.
Mr. “Concerned Eagle Scout” has concerns about justifying FOS dollars.
And I can appreciate “Concerned Eagle Scouts”concerns. His biggest issue seems to be the cost of Scouting. Well.. let me share his email with you. And yeah… I moderated it.. took out some stuff that really did not add to the argument. And my comments are embedded in his email.

Jerry –

I have a real problem with FOS or what it should be called is SMJ (Save My Job). I and many others in our town have a real issue contributing funds to council when everything and I mean everything for scouting has become so expensive.
OK CES (Concerned Eagle Scout), here is where you start in the wrong direction.
Everything in Scouting is getting expensive because things are expensive. But you do know that the Scout Shop (uniforms and supplies) are not part of your council and receive NO dollars from FOS. Salaries, benefits, and materials for running the Councils day to day operation is where the money goes.

We run a very effective program for our cub scouts and we do it all with the money we raise through popcorn. Like JC states, we have families in our pack that are experiencing financial hardship with the current economic situation. Welcome to the club.. things are tough all over. So don’t support FOS.. and watch your Scouting programs go away.
How can we as scouts expect or even think of asking these families to put out more money when their having problems meeting their own financial needs. Well… how can I expect it.. I love Scouting. I can afford 42 cents a day for FOS.. heck a Scout is thrifty right. I collect cans and recycle them for FOS. You mean to tell me, you can’t do that? You mentioned running of the camps and the staff that supports them; how can I or any scout leader expect a family in financial hardship to pay $300 for camp (yes it costs that much in our council to send a boy to day camp)? Again, if that is the cost of doing business in your Council.. which seems a bit steep to me.. then that is the cost of doing business. Sell more popcorn.. have a car wash, participate in the candy sales and hold a Garage sale. Thrifty. Explain to me so that I can explain to my scouts and their parents why they should give to FOS when the top officers of scouting make over 140K annually. What Council are you in? I know that there is no one in your council that makes that much. Maybe at the National level, but then again… none of your FOS money goes to National. That’s almost double the annual household income for some of our scout families. Explain it to me Jerry so that I can justify it to my scouts and their parents. It’s this simple. don’t support it and you will have no Scouting. If your families are making 70,000 a year. Then you are doing better than most. So I would suggest you act like an Eagle Scout and remember your obligation you took to Scouting. Be Thrifty and Helpful and figure out a way to raise the funds. Families in our area make much less than what you have suggested and we keep our Council vibrant and healthy. Rather than make a bunch of excuses and whine… figure out a way that you can support Scouting. We have become very creative. Bake sales, car washes, dinners, etc. I’ve asked my local council for an explanation and they can’t or won’t give me an explanation, they just want the money. I do not think you are being intellectually honest here. Every Council brochure that I have looked at (via the internet etc) disclose where the money goes and how your dollar benefits the Council. If local councils want money to support the program and pay their paychecks, then they need to get the funds from corporations. You have heard about the FOS Community program right? They get money from your local corporations. That is what a lot of your DE’s time is spent doing. Oh and about 85 cents of every dollar from FOS goes to programs.. not paychecks. Endowments, and other funds are used for paychecks. At least in our Council, I can’t imagine your Council being to different. In my eyes and the eyes of other in our pack, families give enough to support scouting. I think you need to open your eyes a little wider and see the program for what it really is not as a target. I know times are tough, but that is no excuse for Scouting to suffer.
We all budget our time, energy and money. As we sit at our dinning room tables and work out our families monthly budget we cut what is not important and spend on what is. FOS is one of those items that we are not willing to cut because we see, directly, the value of our dollar.
We see that Scouting does good things… not just for my two sons, but for all the Scouts in my Troop. So I can assume that it is doing good in every unit.
I justify giving to FOS because I see the camps that we go to… in fact we camping at one of our Councils 18 fully paid properties this weekend. That can’t happen without FOS.
I look beyond emotion and look at real numbers. I can understand where you are coming from… really I can, but I think if you all took the time and penciled it out.. you could easily justify to your Packs families the benefits of making contributions to FOS. I am not sure where you get your numbers and information from, my guess is it is probably from another disgruntled Scouters. But my friend, you are an Eagle Scout. Somewhere along the way people paid and you benefited from this program. Give back. That simple.

Just my thoughts….
Thanks for your thoughts.

I hope that my comments do not come across as smug or unfriendly. It is a simple fact that no matter what, we need to do what we need to do to keep Scouting alive and well, if that means we give to FOS..then that is what we need to do. Call it something else…it still pays for Scouting.
Concerned Eagle Scout, I am not beating you up, I am calling you to learn more and really look at the dollars. It pencils out.. I promise you.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

I’ll share my Spoon

A holy man was having a conversation with God one day and said, “God , I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.”

God led the holy man to two doors.
He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished.
They were holding spoons with very long handles, that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.
But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.
The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. God said, ‘”You have seen Hell.”
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.
There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.
The holy man said, “I don’t understand…” “It is simple,” said God .. “It requires but one skill.
You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.”

A Scout is Helpful and Kind. Share your spoon.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Program.. Program.. Program…

The secret to a successful troop… Program, Program, Program…
Well that is at least a big part of the equation when looking at a successful troop.
Here is what I mean. I call it the “Field of Dreams” philosophy.
And I’m talking about your program. Annually your Patrol leaders Council should be putting together your annual plan. Couple their plan with the plan that meets the needs and goals of the troop and you have your program.
But not any old plan will do. I’ll speak only for my troop when I say that the plan needs to be aggressive, fun, and full of adventure. That’s what boys join Scouting for. They look forward to the next adventure and long for activities that challenge and push limits.

Boys love to feel accomplishment, especially when it has something to do with activities they can brag about on Monday at school.. and yes to all you naysayers out there.. if your Scouts are having fun and pushing limits.. they will brag at School. It is when your program flat lines and becomes dull that they think Scouting is not cool.
I have been accused of living in some sort of Scouting Shangri la. Yep I do! And I am bragging about it. Again… If you build it they come. And the proof is in the pudding as my Dad used to say. By the end of March, 18 new Scouts will have joined my Troop. And why they picked us over others. PROGRAM! And to date, not one Webelos Scout from our “feeder Pack” has crossed over. This coming weekend, 8 new Scouts will be taking their first step on the adventure trail as they camp for the first time with the Troop.

Program…Program…Program. Build it. I promise they will come. Don’t.. and well, stay the same. Just remember if you want your Scouts to enjoy Scouting.. and it’s all about the boys, right? Then you owe them the opportunities of a fantastic program.
28 seat belts for this weekends trip…gonna be fun!

Have a Great Scouting Day!