Month: March 2009

Super Hero

This weekend we attended the Rendezvous of the Order for our Order of the Arrow Lodge.
The theme of the weekend was “SUPER HEROS”. The Scouts dressed up like their favorite super hero’s and played games that had the Scouts leaping tall buildings, dawning “Iron Man” uniforms, and testing their skills of Super heroism.
In short in was a fantastic weekend and a good time was had by all.

The Lodge Advisor gave an Advisor minute at the end of the annual banquet right before those that have been selected for the Vigil Honor were called out. He talked about Super heroes…
I am going to Paraphrase and add to his minute.

By definition the common traits of a Super Hero (according to Wikipedia) is:
Extraordinary powers and abilities, relevant skills, and/or advanced equipment.
A strong moral code, including a willingness to risk one’s own safety in the service of good without expectation of reward.
A motivation, such as a sense of responsibility.
A distinctive costume.
A supporting cast of recurring characters.
A back story that explains the circumstances by which the character acquired his or her abilities as well as his or her motivation for becoming a superhero. Many origin stories involve tragic elements and/or freak accidents that result in the development of the hero’s abilities.

So lets look at these traits or characteristics as it applies to real Superheroes.
Lets see… Scouts have extraordinary powers and abilities, they have positive attitudes and the ability to lead, learn, and the skills to perform anything. They are Prepared, it is their motto. These Scouts have skills and advanced equipment, NYLT, the Order of the Arrow, and Troop JLT teaches them well so they can perform their special skills of doing a Good turn daily.

They have a Strong Moral code. It is found in the Oath and Law and the obligations they take as Honored Scouts. Scouts start with a base set of Values. Those values drive our lives and the decisions we make.

A strong sense of responsibility. We understand that others needs should come before our own. We take responsibility for our actions and dedicate energy at making the team better, all the while understanding that there are things in our lives, goals and dreams, that we want to see through. We take responsibility for our goals and set a course to achieve that.

A distinctive costume.. well lets call it a uniform. Either way it shows the world who we are and when in that uniform it has the same effect as the red cap and “S” on the chest of Super Man. People have an expectation of us when we are in that uniform.

Our Supporting cast is our Scoutmasters, Committee members, Parents, and Professionals that work to make our program the world class program it is. We need our support to deliver the promise of Scouting.

Our back story is almost 100 years old. It tells a story of values, of adventure, of dedication to our communities and service, Our story is in the millions of young men currently in the program and all of those men that are currently making a contribution to our country.
The back story of Scouting is one that continues to grow and get better. It is the story of American young men that “DO THEIR BEST” to live the Scout Oath and Law to make our country, our world a better place.

Now that is a Super Hero.
The Boy Scouts of America makes Super Hero’s Daily.

“I do hereby promise, on my honor as a Scout,
that I will always and faithfully observe and
preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow,
Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui.

I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow as lasting,
and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit,
even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities,
and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies,
to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.”

Have a Great Scouting Day!

A Burning Word

Here is a message from Baden Powell from the Chief Scout yarns… from 1919 to today.. timeless message.

April 05, 1919

There was a man named Garnier who wanted to know whether monkeys talked to each other with any meaning when they chatter. So he went and lived in the jungle for a time and took a gramophone with him.
This was a recording one which took down what the monkeys said. He discovered in this way that they used a number of sounds which meant something to them, and there was one word in particular which had a tremendous effect on them.
He learnt it himself, and when he mentioned it in the monkey-house at the Zoo it had just the same effect that it had amongst the wild monkeys in the jungle. The animals went nearly mad with rage.
Well, there is one word in our language which also, in a similar way, has a very strong effect on anyone who is a gentleman and a man of honour. It is the word “liar.”
In the old days if you called a man a liar he would challenge you to a duel with swords or pistols, and would try to kill you for the insult.

Nowadays duels are forbidden, but still the word rankles just as strongly, and a fellow who cares about his honour, if accused of lying, will knock the man down who says it or will ask him to step outside and have the matter out with fists.
A Scout, if he is a Scout and keeps his Promise, is a gentleman; that is, he is chivalrous and helpful to others, and is also a man of honour who can be trusted. So a Scout could not stand being called a liar without putting a stopper upon the man who said it. This alone is a reason why he needs to know how to box, otherwise he has to take the insult “lying down.”
I don’t mean that he is therefore to attack or bully people whenever he gets a chance, but it will make other fellows very careful about calling him a liar when they know that to the Scout this is an insult which is likely to bring a thrashing in its train.
Don’t forget either that just as it is not a word that a Scout likes to hear, so also it is not a word that he should ever use against another fellow without very good cause.
I remember when I first joined the Army an old officer gave me this advice: “Never mention the word lie nor call a man a liar, and never let a man call you one-it is a word or burning disgrace.”


Have a Great Scouting Day!

Showing Respect

To get Respect you have to give respect. It really is that simple.

As a Scoutmaster, I think it is important to show how to live by showing the Scouts how I live.
My actions speak louder than my many words. It only takes a snap shot or a small glimpse into my daily activity to know that I try to live the Scout oath and law daily. I share that with the Scouts when ever we get together.

Back to respect.

We talk about treating others as you wish to be treated. Pretty much a rule that is worthy of living don’t you think? When a Scout is disrespectful, I call them on it right way. A simple question of what did I do to deserve this treatment? typically gets a conversation about respect on the table.
If there is one thing that I can not and will not tolerate, that is a lack of respect.
Lack of respect for others space, time, belongings, and the way someone treats others.
This last weekend, we had a situation in which a Scout disrespected his Troop mates. I won’t go into details, but it is fair enough to say that it was something that got my attention. The Scout then turned his back on me when I was trying to talk to him. That was the straw that broke the Scoutmasters back.
Young Scout got a nice little chat on respect.. starting with..”What have I done to show you disrespect?”
“Then why would you disrespect me by turning your back on me while I am talking to you?”
He did not have an answer.
We have to meet our Scouts where they are. Some are not taught respect at home, our Schools are not really in the mode of teaching it. The culture of what are you doing for me does not require it. It is in Scouting that we are obligated to teach and pass it on.
Respect comes when it is given.
When you show respect to others you get it back in return.
Living the Scout oath and law require that you have and show respect.
To be trustworthy and loyal, helpful and friendly, Courteous and kind, you must show respect.
Respect goes along way in life. When we are camping we practice Leave no Trace. LNT revolves around respect. Respect for the wilderness and our fellow campers.

Give and Get.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

How much can you get on the plate

“The Full Plate” always the go to analogy when talking about how busy our lives are.
We hear the excuses, or the justifications for a life filled with activity, work, and chores that preclude us from participating in one thing or another.

Everyone is busy and everyone has a plate that is full. I hear that, see it, and yeah.. live it too.
But… (ahh come knew that a but was coming)
Your plate is only as full as you want it to be. And that my friends, is the truth.
You see, you get to choose how busy you are. Now I know that there are things in your life that force options on you, School plays, family functions and the like, but by and large you pick and choose what you like, dislike and what you want to fill your 24 hours a day with.

I recently stumbled into a conversation in which a fellow Scouter railed on the expectations of other Scouters that we dedicate time and energy to this program. At first I thought… No Duh. But then I really heard what she was saying. She was saying NO. And that’s ok, but don’t beat around the bush.. just say no.
And in so far as the expectations of certain Scouters to dedicate time and energy. I am one of them.
If you commit to being a Scout leader, then be a Scout leader. An hour a week will not do.. not if you belong to a great and active unit.
You need to dedicate time and energy so that the Scouts of the unit have a remarkable time in Scouting. Not just a good time.

I constantly hear about the competition Scouting faces. I don’t buy it. It is only competitive in that other organizations, sports teams and the like are there. Choices to do one over the other typically are made by a parent that does not see value in our program, or a Scout that is bored in his Troop.
My sons both play sports and are excellent students. They go to the gym almost every day and have reasonable social lives. But they are having fun in Scouting and therefore I never have to drag them kicking a screaming. When they have a track meet or a football game.. they go, they compete, and they still have time to camp and attend troop meetings and functions.
Stepping out from under my campaign hat and slipping on my Dad hat… it means more miles on my truck, it means dinners away from the table, it means phone calls from bleachers and a syncing of planners weekly as a family. It is a commitment we make for our kids.
That same commitment we make to our Scout units. Why should it get short changed.

I am convinced, that there are fantastic Scouters out there. Scouters that want the very best for their Scouts. It takes time and energy but above all commitment.
Sometimes with commitment we put more on our plate. But you know, it’s like a good salad at a buffet, there is always room for bacon and dressing… It’s what we value and want to fill our plate with.

Take a look at your plate, if it is too full for you, evaluate what can be left off. I am sure you will agree Scouting never leaves the plate.. it is tastes too good.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


I recently listened to a podcast about a guy that thru hiked the Continental Divide Trail as a Yo Yo.. that is when you complete the hike, then turn around and do it again, returning to where you began, in one trip. All in all that on the CDT, that would be about 6000 miles.
He did the trek alone and took about a year to hike it from start to finish.

I was amazed as I listened in on the show and heard him describe the preparation, the training, and the gear he used, or didn’t use.
He talked about the wonderful vistas and the wildlife he saw as he navigated down the center of our country. From the Canadian border to Mexico. The varied terrain and encounters with the flora and fauna of our great continent.

In the end he spoke of lessons learned. Things that he would do over again, things he would not. Gear he would take, and gear he would leave at home. He talked of the experience. But the most striking thing he talked about was the solitude. How he loved it at first, but after months on the trail he began to realize that he was lonely. He reflected on the fact that it really started to get to him, but he pushed on. At the completion of this monumental expedition, the most valuable lesson he learned was about friendships.
He values his friends more now than ever before, and says that in the future he won’t hike alone.
He used the hike as a metaphor to illustrate that in our lives we need people. We need friends.

So how does this relate to Scouting? Well in 1907 Baden Powell new that we needed friends and he created the Patrol method. He realized that we have more fun when we do it together. When we play the game of Scouting we challenge one another, we share in the joys of success and we work through the rough times as a Patrol.

I still remember the guys from the Flaming Arrow, Troop 100. My first Patrol! The fun times that we shared, I will cherish for my life time.
Now that I am an adult.. well kinda… I know that I need friends… People to share my life with. I enjoy the solitude of the trail, but its better to hike with a Partner. My wife, my kids, and my friends, as few as they are, they are great friends and I could not get through life without them.

A Scout is Friendly. Remember that. Hold on to your friends and value them. You need them.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Wood Badge thoughts

Yesterday I attended the new Nationally required Trainers EDGE course. It is a requirement for all Scouters that wish to Staff for Wood Badge.

It was just what I needed to get my Scouting Batteries charged and pumped to take another path on Scouting’s amazing trail.

Yes, I have been asked to staff as a Troop Guide for the upcoming Wood Badge course here in my Council. And I am honored for the privilege and opportunity.

So what about Wood Badge? Why is it important? Well I suppose I could write a book about that, but I am sure it has already been written..
But let me give you my short take on it.

First, Wood Badge is in fact a direct connection to our founder, Robert Baden Powell. He started it with a group of Scoutmasters, giving them a bead from the necklace of the Zulu chief.
So we have a connection there to our founder, I think that is significant.
This connection with the founder is also a connection with our Brothers and sisters in Scouting around the world. We all have Wood Badge. The course work may be different, and the ceremonies, songs, and traditions may be a bit different, but it all leads us back to Gilwell!

Second, the Wood badge course its self is perhaps the best money can buy. The instruction you get is second to none and is worth it, not just for your Scouting lives, but your every day life.
Goal setting, understanding and developing a vision for yourself, your family, your Scout troop, living the values of Scouting, and applying all of this in a Scouting setting.

And finally, the friends and connections you make at Wood Badge are the best. Like minded people that are enthusiastic about Scouting and making the program the best it can be.
The people that become your patrol mates are the greatest friends in the world and you know that because they agree with the same oath and law as you. That you can trust.

So Wood Badge..what’s the big deal. Everything! It’s great. If you are a Wood Badger.. Keep working that ticket. If you are not.. Sign up for the next course you can. You won’t regret it… That’s a Scoutmaster Jerry guarantee.

Hear more about Wood Badge on my latest Podcast.

Have a Great Scouting Day!