Monthly Archives: June 2009


Not that I am a number watcher.. BUT…

I wanted to say thank you to all of you that read and share the Scoutmaster Minute.
The numbers do not mean a thing as I do this out of a love for Scouting, as you can see there are no adds that shoot money my way…
But it does go to show that we in the Scouting community do love and care for Scouting.
As of today I noticed that the Scoutmaster minute crossed the 30,000 mark.
So to celebrate.. I am off to our Troops Court of Honor!
Looking at the Pie Chart… its also cool how International the Scoutmaster Minute has become.
Just in the last week we have had 149 visitors from the US, 7 from the UK, 5 from Belgium, 2 from Germany, 2 from Canada, and 1 from the Philippines.
Thanks again everyone and Have a Great Scouting Day!
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Bear Grylls- Chief Scout

Recently Bear Grylls was appointed as the new Chief Scout of the British Scouting Association.  For those of us on this side of the pond, this is not a significant news item, except that most everyone I talk to about it seems to think that he will impart his “Survival antics” from the TV show into the Scouting Association.  I personally think that is highly unlikely.
I found this video from the British Scouting Association on you tube, and thought it was worth sharing.
I am not one to criticize our leadership, but I wonder if Mr. Mazzucca would do what Bear does in this video.  If so.. My hats off to him.
I think what Mr. Grylls says in the video is interesting too.. in a nut shell the business of Scouting is Fun.. not business.
hmmmm… just a thought.
Enjoy the video.  I did.

Have a Great Scouting Day!
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I am a fan of the Ask Andy column at the US Scouting Service Project.  Andy’s no nonsense, straight answers are just up my ally.

I was reading his May 26th column and chanced upon this gem.
Giving all the credit where it is due.. to Andy, I want to share this with you.  The reason is simply this is right on and a philosophy that I have held to from day one as a Scoutmaster.
Enjoy, I did.
Dear Andy,

My son’s in a high-achieving troop, with five to eight Eagles a year, great leaders, great program, huge fund-raising successes, friendly parents, and no complainers.  He’s about to go on his third campout with the troop.  In the first two, everyone cooked together—Scouts and parents.  The very first one was a Webelos-as-guests, plus “electronics.”  The second was a new Scout weekend.  For these first two, it looked like the parents pretty much did all the cooking.  When I asked who’s buying food for the adult leaders, for this third campout, I learned that the adults “scavenge” off the patrols that their sons are in.  This is a new one on.  What do you think?  I’m really pretty unsure. (Bob White)

Here’s the deal about Boy Scouts and the out-of-doors: Boy Scouts hike and camp as Boy Scouts.  This is not “Webelos III Family Camping.”  Boys of this age need to grow, and to form peer relationships, to individuate themselves, and to gain a sense of competence and independence.  This absolutely cannot occur in a “family camping” environment.

If parents come along, they should be camping separately from the Scouts–literally out of sight and out of ear-shot.  If they cook, they cook for themselves, with their own food.  They don’t “mooch” from the Scouts, or cook for them, or have any interactions with them.  The Scouts and their Scoutmaster and an assistant (may be an ASM, a parent, or a committee member) are together, but any “extra” parents should be making themselves invisible.

A “Jamboree Troop” is a “model troop,” from which we can draw lessons. There are four patrols of eight, one Senior Patrol Leader, perhaps one or two ASPLs, and four adults: Scoutmaster and three ASMs.  That’s it.  Patrols cook and clean up for themselves, lead themselves, plan for themselves, and carry out daily activities for themselves.  The four adults aren’t the “leaders,” they’re the wallpaper, or safety-nets, if you will.  All troops need to be organized in this general fashion.

Parents stay away.  They pitch their tents away from the Scouts and do whatever they do during the day away from the Scouts.  This is not a “Dad n’ Lad” activity–That went the way of the buggy whips of Cub Scouting, and should no longer be present.

Any troop that doesn’t do it this way is ultimately crippling their Scouts by keeping them subservient and “small.”  Boy Scouting cuts those apron-strings, and keeps ’em cut.

How “separate” should any accompanying parents be from their sons, while camping? (BW)

How separate?  How’s this: If the Scouts and the parents don’t see one another from dawn till after dinner, that would be just about right.  Boys and young men of Boy Scout age need to assert their independence and their reliance on one another without Dad and Mom “hovering.”

Thanks Andy!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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BSA and You Tube

OK.. so I know that most of you have already been there and seen it…

But I just spent some time watching the BSA You tube channel and the new “Words to live by” campaign.
I like it.  I think it is a great way of presenting Scouts and Scouting and I’ll say that I think the BSA did it well.
Check out the You tube channel.

Have a Great Scouting Day!
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the State of Scouting

Have a Great Scouting Day!
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The Leave no Trace kick!

It seems that I have been on a LNT kick lately… well yes and no.. I am always on that bandwagon.

It helps out unit get better at our camping skills, in particular planning.
My last couple podcasts have been on Leave No Trace, and the next couple will also be on Leave no trace.  You see it is an important part of our Scouting Stewardship.
We have the Outdoor code.  It is a great code that focus’s our thoughts and actions in the out doors.  No matter what kind of camping you do.
For those that have not seen the Out door code lately, here is a quick reminder;
As an American I will do my best to 
Be clean in my outdoor manners
I will treat the outdoors as a heritage.
I will take care of it for myself and others.
I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.
Be careful with fire
I will prevent wildfire.
I will build my fires only where they are appropriate.
When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out.
I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors
I will treat public and private property with respect.
I will use low-impact methods of hiking and camping.
Be conservation minded
I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife, and energy.
I will urge others to do the same.
So, as you can see, it’s pretty much the same as the 7 principles of Leave no trace.  Upon further review, no I am not on a leave no trace kick.. I have always been.  As a Scout and Scouter we always practice and practiced good stewardship.  Now, I know that when I was a Scout leaving less impact was not really a priority.  I am glad to see that the BSA is a spearhead organization for Leave no Trace.  I am also happy to see the the Boy Scouts of America takes Leave no Trace seriously.   But it all happens at the unit level.
Teach, Coach, and certainly mentor the habits learned in the principles of Leave No Trace.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Politics… or just throwing pebbles in the pond

Recently Nick wrote a piece on his blog regarding politics and Scouting and how the two should never meet.  I agree, after all.. there is no such thing as values and moral thinking in the political arena, no offense if there are political types that follow the blog.

Around here, the term for general upset in a unit is that “politics” got in the way.  In saying that it is commonly known that folks got their own agenda into the program and it had a adverse effect on the unit.
I recently had a chat with a a great friend of mine.  Politics invaded his unit and there was a lot of “he said..  she said” going on.  Fair or unfair..  right or wrong.. there is no place for politics in Scouting.
Now I know that personalities conflict and every unit has that one person that seems to throw pebbles into the pond completely unaware of the tidal wave they are creating on the other side.  But there is still is no room for it.
So what’s the fix?  I suppose it would be easy to say, just blow it off, ignore it, or look the other way.  But the fact of the matter is that it exists in every unit to some degree.  It is how the leadership of the unit direct it and deal with it.
Lets say for example a Dad insists on getting in the business of the Patrols.  He won’t let the Patrol leader be the Patrol leader, undermines the boys decisions covertly and general disrupts the Patrol method.  As a Scoutmaster, I need to nip that in the bud.  First of all, if you have rules in place, or at least a standard way of executing the program, some of those issues will repair themselves.  But lets go with our “Bad Dad”.  He obviously does not have an understanding of the Boy Scout Methods and youth leadership.  A conversation with him may enlighten him and all is well, you may also learn from your discussion why is doing what he is doing.
Agenda’s are meant to be for committee meetings, and that is where they should stay.  If a parent has an agenda, lets say getting their son to the rank of Eagle before age 14, then a talk with that parent may be in order.  Again, it seems to come down to an understanding of the Boy Scout program.
It is a good idea to review methods and unit practices with the parents of your unit.  We do that during our recruiting events or open houses and troop visits.  Honesty is the best policy in my opinion.   Tell it like it is up front, then you can avoid politics down the road.
Back to my friend and his political problems.  I won’t get into specifics, because I don’t know them all, but suffice it to say, a parent has their feathers ruffled because of a misunderstanding of the Boy Scout program and it’s methods.  Parent wants “X” for his son, but son does not necessarily meet the expectation.  Parent will do what ever it takes to get son “X”, a small pebble in a big pond that is leaving a huge wave at the other end.
Just like nick says in his piece there is no room for politics in Scouting.  Whether that comes from within, or whether it is a bargaining chip or statement from outside.  
Unit leaders need to be aware of this and stop it before the wave hits.  It can destroy a good unit and here is the bottom line.
When it destroys the unit who is effected?
Is it Mom and Dad?  NO
Is it the District?  NO
Is it the Council?  NO
Is it the Scoutmaster?  NO
It is the Scout… and that is a crime.
So before politics plays a role in your unit, look at the reason we have meetings every week, look at the reason we go camping and teach skills.  It is for the Scouts and nothing else.  If you have an agenda..   Rethink it and see what you can do to help rather than throw pebbles.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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The Scoutmaster Minute Show #34- Leave No Trace Part 2

A weekend of trash, with old fuel canister

A weekend of trash, with old fuel canister

Continuing from our last show on Leave No Trace, Scoutmaster Jerry discusses the next two principles of Traveling and Camping on Durable surfaces and Disposing of Waste properly or Pack it in.. Pack it out!

You can learn more about Leave no Trace at the Leave No Trace web site.

Practicing the principles will enhance your out doors experiences as well as those of those that come camping after you.

I hope you enjoy the show.  Leave us feedback through itunes, you can leave a comment here, or the Scoutmaster Minute Blog,  

You can also leave us some feedback

Listen or Download here

Standard Podcast [16:16 min] mp3 format

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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